Saturday, October 29, 2005
MORPHING THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY INTO SOPHIA
The website of Spiral Goddess presents in pictures and short captions the change in spirituality that is gaining prominence in the world. It describes in quick and easy to read terms what Ian Begg, Margaret Starbird, and China Galland, among others, are convinced is the nature of spiritual reality. Here you can read that the Blessed Virgin Mary represents the Divine Feminine, that when the Church suppressed the goddess, the people resurrected her in the form of the Mother of Jesus, "the Christian version of the GreenMan."
The website talks about visions of the Virgin Mary and Black Madonnas, and claims that the title "Queen of Heaven" and "Queen of Angels" is really a designation of her divinity. It claims that images of the BVM and Jesus are merely a variety of Isis and Her Son Horus, Demeter and Her daughter Kore and other goddesses of ancient history, including the Earth Mother Goddess.
They throw Mary Magdalene into the mix as the wife of Jesus. At the end the website notes that the Catholics want to name the Blessed Virgin as Co-Redeemer. I think it is significant that the proposition of Co-Redeemer is placed under a picture of a Blessed Virgin statue and a red rose. Rosicrucianism's use of the rose comes through in that picture.
Next take a look at the website of the Sophia Foundation, a creation of Robert Powell, who is the translator of Valentin Tomberg's MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT. Look specifically at the webpage that describes Sophia. Here you can read about Sophiology from the viewpoint of one of the more prominent contemporary Sophiologists.
The power of devotion to Sophia, preeminently in the Orthodox Christian Church, is the inspiration of the Russian School of "Sophiology" that began in the late nineteenth century and continues to this day. Sophiology is closely connected to the life work of Vladimir Soloviev (1853 - 1900), one of Russia's greatest philosophers. Soloviev had three mystical experiences of Sophia, and these determined the central impulse and motivation for his entire life's work. Inspired by Soloviev, Pavel Florensky (1882 - 1937) and Sergei Bulgakov (1871 - 1944), both of whom were priests in the Russian Orthodox Church, developed Sophiology further in a systematic sense, drawing primarily upon the biblical Books of Wisdom and the Orthodox tradition of devotion to Sophia. It was their concern to elaborate a theology of Sophia that, while signifying an extension of Orthodox theology, would not conflict with it.
In the meantime, in the West, interest in Sophia is growing. This accords with Soloviev's prophetic vision of the approaching descent of Sophia. He expresses this vision in one of his poems:
Let it be known: today the Eternal Feminine
In an incorruptible body is descending to Earth.
In the unfading light of the new Goddess
Heaven has become one with the depths.
Here we have returned full circle to Goethe's words concerning the Eternal Feminine. In Goethe's vision, the Eternal Feminine, personified as the Queen of Heaven - essentially the Virgin Mary after her assumption into heaven, as the Mater Gloriosa (Glorious Mother) - bade Faust, 'Come, rise to seek the higher sphere." But unlike Soloviev, Goethe does not refer to the Eternal Feminine as Sophia. Yet, in view of the deep relationship between Sophia and the Virgin Mary, a central theme for some Sophiologists, Goethe's reference to the Eternal Feminine can be interpreted in relation to Sophia. Seen in this light, a veiled image of Sophia was communicated by Goethe in the West, and a few decades later a more explicit vision of Sophia was brought forward by Soloviev in the East. However, whereas Soloviev indicated a descent of Sophia, Goethe refers to "the Eternal Feminine lead [ing] us above."
Soloviev is frequently mentioned in connection with Sophiology. John Paul II referred several times to Soloviev, and according to George Weigel studied the Russian philosophers:
As Pope, Karol Wojtyla nurtured his interest in Russia and the Russians through numerous channels. He read deeply in the writings of Vladimir Soloviev, the late nineteenth-century Russian philosopher and theologian, a prophet of the reconciliation of Eastern and Western Christianity with a marked millennial strain in his thoughts. John Paul also became familiar with the work of Russian religious thinkers, once convinced Marxists, who had abandoned Marxism between the 1905 and 1917 revolutions while warning both the government and the Russian Orthodox Church about the impending ctastrophe: Nicolai Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, and Simon Frank. These thinkers, and the work of theologians like Pavel Florensky and Georges Florovsky, whom he read in French or Polish translations, familiarized the Pope with the religious core of Russian culture and convinced him that Russia had much to give the world. [WITNESS TO HOPE, pp 568-569]
Was John Paul II convinced by the arguments for Sophiology? We can't exactly ask him. It must be recognized that his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, while being truly Catholic, will also fit nicely into some of the doctrines of Sophiology.
Powell also mentions Goethe in that quote above. Rudolf Steiner was an acknowledged expert in the writings of Goethe, and it is those writings that formed the basis of his Anthroposophy, a cosmology developed out of Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy. Steiner was the founder of the German Theosophical Society and chaired it until he broke with Blavatsky over the inclusion of Christ in the doctrines. He was a Rosicrucian.
At the Sophia Foundation website you can see the red rose and cross at the top of the website, the symbol of the Rosicrucian Order. Rosicrucian teachings are contained in some of the upper degrees of Masonic systems. Knight of the Rose Croix is the 18th degree of Scottish Rite, for instance. The world headquarters of Anthroposophy, which Steiner designed, is called the Goetheanum.
Catholics and Sophiologists meet in MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT. Fr. Basil Pennington and Fr. Thomas Keaton, both of whom are principal figures in Monastic Interriligious Dialogue and the centering prayer movement, have endorsed the book. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote the Foreword, giving the book high praise.
Yet there is no way to introduce Sophiology into Roman Catholicism without seriously distorting our doctrine. And it must be remembered that Sophiology comes out of visionary experiences, at least in the case of Vladimir Soloviev who was reading Kabbalah in a British museum the second time Sophia appeared to him.
Clearly there is a push for a world church. Clearly the Roman hierarchy is also pushing for some sort of world understanding of religion through interreligious dialogue. Those two facts cannot be denied. Are both systems attempting the same thing? Attempting two opposing systems? There is no way to know right now, but this organization of Archbishop John, with its links to Canada and the U.S. and it's home in the Medjugorje movement would tend to hint at a combined system that will incorporate Gnosticism into Roman Catholicism. The Charismatic movement can hardly be overlooked in connection with this, and it must also be remembered that meditation plays a large role in Catholic and Gnostic systems, as well as it does in the work of the monks, some of whom are Catholic and some of whom are not, but all of whom seem to be coming together under one spiritual umbrella.
Post-denominationalism replacing Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Gnostic schools of thought? It certainly looks as though that is the cutting edge of religious thinking today...all in the name of peace. How will Jesus Christ emerge from this? Will He be replaced by a woman co-redeemer, or be said to share the redemption stage with her?
The question we all must answer is "Who do you say that I am?" The answer Christ found acceptable, "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God," seems to be falling out of favor on the earthly religious landscape.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, October 28, 2005
YIKES! INDIGO CHILDREN IN RUSSIA
This one also comes from RSNews
In Russia and all over the world they speak about generation of new children that reveal a pattern of behavior generally undocumented before. They are called differently in different countries, though the most common name is “Indigo children”.
90% of children younger than 10 years old are Indigo. Indigo children bring heavenly messages in their souls that are beyond our comprehension yet. They help us in search of truth, of the meaning of life and the world. Indigo children may be recognized by their eyes. Deep wisdom and knowing are hidden there.
But not long ago press reports about so-called “crystal” or “seraphic” children have appeared. By American researchers’ statements first of these children began coming to the planet in about 1998.
Crystal Children represent the next step in human evolution. They follow the Indigo Children. Their mission is to complete the work begun by the Indigos. Where the Indigo Children come to dismantle and remove old and limiting ways of thinking, the Seraphytes have come to begin the process of renewal, rebuilding and bringing down from above new images for future Divine civilization on the earth.
Continue reading the story at the website.
This synopsis also mentions "Blessed John" whom I take to be Archbishop John. I wonder if these people are associated with the Spiritual Cinema Circle? And if they are, is this Archbishop John the same person as the Fr. John James Twyman writes about? Both Archbishop John and James Twyman talk about Medjugorje. Both have had apparitions.
Since Archbishop John seems to be associated with Indigo Children, is he also associated with Edgar Cayce and the Association for Research and Enlightenment?
Did anyone in those two Medjugorje organizations check into this group before becoming involved with them?
Dr. Mercieca is a contributing writer for the Seoul Times.
MESSAGE FROM THE RUSSIAN APPARITION OF JULY 28, 2000
Do not look away from me.
I am the Leader of Holy Russia * All the worlds and all God’s creations are resigned to Me! * Every sin is like a poisonous arrow. * The Lord’s Cross of last days * The destiny of the ones seduced by the devil * I am The Life giving Mother * I am waiting for the appeal from priests * I am the Mother conferring chasubles of Transfiguration to the world * The alive iconostasis of My Names * The ancient motets of Eastern Church have embodied unspoken heights of God’s thinking and contemplation * Priests, raise high the church banner of My Glory * The Psalter was My favorite book during My Earthly life * My children, do not lose your heart seeing the domination of the Satanism, the metallic nets of Lucifer around you *
The Woman clothed in the Sun speaks:
I am the Leader of Holy Russia, the Virgin of Chaste Light. I am the Mother of the Highest God. All the worlds and the whole God’s creation are resigned to Me!
I am The Woman, clothed in the Sun, the Mother of saintly mankind. Sing to Me, people of the whole world!
* * *
The world crucifies My Godlike Son, the coming King. Every sin is like a poisonous arrow.
The Lord is exhausted, falling, bearing His cross in the wilderness.
Children of big cities, what are you doing with the Lord? Come to yourselves! The responsibility is unavoidable. Do not be under Lucifer’s plots delusion. Dead planets are the gigantic graveyards for the souls, seduced by Lucifer.
Conclude the covenant with The Highest, because His justice shall not fail to come. Do not set hopes upon the Adam’s kind enemy. God is the King and the Creator, the Founder and the Savior. And there is no other God on earth and in Heaven.
I am the Mother of God, I am the Highest Mary sent from The Most Holy Trinity and from the Russian Saints to announce The Chiliasm of God with the saints after painful disasters and the world catastrophes.
My miserable children! If I just describe to you fates of souls seduced by the devil and died without the penitence! If you could hear their screams in the eternity, see their suffering! Believe into My words. I am the merciful Mother. I am the fair judge. My mercy with no limit extends for the heaviest sinners. But I shall not be able to help ones who had worshiped the beast and had gained its mark on the forehead and on the hand.
The Holy Virgin is showing unbearable tortures of the souls on the dead planets, the Moon and other ten formed after it.
After the acceptance of the new age covenant of Lucifer, denying the God’s justice, the souls come to the sphere controlled by Beelzebub, after which set out for the eternal banishment. I see the souls wrapped up in wet sheets, screaming. They are bursting from inside. They cannot suffer any more and they are asking only for one thing – to be annihilated and disappear forever. The God’s mercy cannot be shown to them, because the right interior had been damaged. After the wandering beyond the grave in the labyrinth of Lucifer their situation becomes even more irremediable: the second eternal death and the soul smashing to pieces awaits them; with heavenly hammer of the God’s divine justice.
Read more at RSNews.net...
The message is 56 pages long in Microsoft. This is a talkative vision!
PRIESTS TO ADOPT HINDU RITUALS
A reader sent in a link to this NDTV article:
A gathering of leading Catholic clergymen from all over India have asked the Vatican to endorse their proposal to include Hindu rituals in the church.
The Pune Papal seminary said priests from all over India were unanimous that the Catholic clergy must incorporate Hindu practices like performing aarti during mass, studying Sanskrit and the Vedas, and experiencing ashram life.
The Catholic Church's Indianisation process began in the mid 1960s, when a revolutionary council introduced local traditions and practices like mass in regional languages.
Four decades later, the Catholic Church feels there is a need to give that process a fresh emphasis.
"The Catholic Church plans to adopt a number of Indian traditions and practices, which will give us a feel of being an Indian," said Father Ornellas Coutinho, Rector, Pune Papal Seminary.
THE NEW THEOCRACY OF MARY
by Dr. Charles Mercieca.
If you go to the website to read this article, glance through the links on the right. Was this man working with John Paul II?
THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE MOTHER OF GOD TRANSFIGURED
has turned up in yet another odd place given its close attachment to Fr. John Rossner's seances. Check out Medjugorje U.S.A. There you can read a letter from an assistant of Archbishop John, Fr. Maxim, who writes about the "Kingdom of Holy Spirit within us", and "the grace of Nuptial Palace of Our Lard and His Blessed Mother" (Can he really be suggesting a sexual union?!).
You can read that at the Sobor in Russia--the weekend long liturgy--"the Immaculate Mary has blessed personally New Holy Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia." It was here that the Blessed Virgin supposedly "announced to the thousands of attending people about the engendering of New God-civilization and the necessity of waiting for the coming down of Holy Spirit into the world." Does that mean that the Sobor is a weekend long charismatic event? The letter continues: "The triumph of Her Immaculate Heart is approaching, and for all the mankind, finally, the gates of the Sunny Pentecost will be opened, then the Sun of Divine Glory submerges the World."
The letter thanks Medjugorje U.S.A. "for your address - it was read at the official moment from the stage." That seems to indicate that someone from the organization sent a statement to be read at the Sobor. There are good pictures here of the Sobor and of the church in Moscow. All of the priests are wearing blue vestments, I presume since blue if the color of the Blessed Virgin.
Another page in the Medjugorje U.S.A. website presents more pictures. Here the Orthodox-Catholic synthesis is mentioned, and Fatima, Medjugorje and Montechiari and Russian prophecies are mentioned. There is a "Prayer to Sophia" which begins "Savior of the World, Sunny Lady" and asks her to "incinerate the Hearths of the world fundamentalism". Huh??
The MIR Group, also, has pictures of Archbishop John and of the priests all in blue vestments which look to have on them symbols of the sun and stars. Here you can learn that "...There will be no Third World war. But the mankind must be changed and listen to the signs of Divine Interference." Here, finally, they refer to the Blessed Virgin as the "Theotokos" as all Orthodox do. The lack of that specific title has been significantly lacking in other websites of this group.
You can read "A Letter from Russia" at the Circle of Prayer website (Scroll down. Letter is at bottom of website.). There you will learn that "Archbishop John leads the Marian branch of the Orthodox catacomb Church" and also that "The Reign of Holy Spirit will come - a Divine civilization!!!! The triumph of the Immaculate Heart is coming!"
This letter tells us that there are about 30 convents in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Japan, Croatia and other places, and that there are 150 priests in the new Marian movement under Fr. John's guidance. This letter is signed "Mary in Galway". It doesn't get any more traditionally Catholic than this Circle of Prayer website. Could there be here a sense of an almost over-zelousness which can be one of the tricks of the Evil One when drawing someone away from the faith doesn't work? When I reflect on my mother-in-law's enthusiasm for Marian apparitions in the past, the question nags. I'm sure those involved are sincerely trying to follow God's leadership, but why would they be associating themselves with an organization that associates with channelers and an excommunicated Orthodox priest?
There is a document online titled "Russian Federation, April 2002, Country Information & Policy Unit" which is a branch of the Immigration & Nationality Directorate, Home Office. The purpose of the assessment is background for those involved in the asylum determintion process and concerns violations of human rights. One segment of the cocument applies to Archbishop John. This section is titled "Cults and Sects". It discusses three groups, the Church of the Last Precept in which the leader claims to be Jesus Christ, married to Mary Magdalene; the White Brotherhood which believes that God became incarnate in the form of Mariya Devi Khristos, and The Church of the New Holy Russia of which it says:
The Church of the New Holy Russia (or Church of the Transfiguring Mother of God, formerly known as the Mother of God Centre) founded by Ioann Bereslavskiy in secret during the Soviet years, believes that at Judgement Day the Virgin Mary will separate the pure from the impure world.
When a visionary is concerned, doctrine is vital. As soon as the visionary departs from accepted theology you know that the vision is prelest. It is perhaps significant, then, to read the following passage in the excerpt of Dr. Charles Mercieca's book WORLD SPIRITUALITY OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM, in which he talks about the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God Transfigured, and New Holy Russia:
The traditional way of viewing spirituality in terms of observation of rules and regulations in religious practice needs to become somewhat flexible. God is letting the spirit of every Russian to move toward Him in manifold different ways. We need to respect this variety of spiritual approaches that are being adopted. The only questions that need to be raised are these: "Are these new spiritual approaches leading people closer to God or farther away from God? Are these new spiritual approaches leading people closer to our Blessed Mother or farther away from her?"
Dr. Mercieca says, further that "This is the ultimate mission of the Mother of God Church.......focusing on the Blessed Mother more than anything else."
No, that is not the question or the ultimate mission. The question is "Are these new spiritual approaches leading people closer to Jesus Christ or farther away from Him?"
The Blessed Virgin always points to her Son. She never desires attention placed upon her while her Son is forgotten. Therefore, this movement which fills its church with icons of the Blessed Virgin, as the pictures show, but seems to have few images of Jesus, requires very careful discernment.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
DIALOGUE DISCUSSED BY FR. JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J.
at a link sent in by a reader. The following part of the third section speaks most specifically to the aspects of dialogue and unity in diversity that I have a tendency to focus on. I think that this is where interreligious dialogue is walking us into a watered down version of the faith because our dialoguers tend to focus on the technique spelled out in the first paragraph below and ignore the reality of the second. I also tend to believe that those who worship the Cosmic Christ want it that way, and are using dialogue as a means to an end that will be the opposite of what the Church stands for.
The danger in the "dialogue" format as it has developed in recent times is, no doubt, the relativist temptation. The conversation is merely for the sake of conversation. Nothing will ever really be resolved. No conclusions will ever be arrived at as that would stop the dialogue. It is a kind of public relations show to demonstrate good will or perhaps public etiquette. But to hope for anything more is really naive. Too there is the "world parliament of religion" school of thought that wants to incorporate all religions, including particularly Catholicism, into a kind of political super-church. This world organization, under the protection of the UN, will harness or pacify the disruptive forces said to be found in religion of any species. Religion, as the ancient Epicureans taught, is useful to keep the masses busy, but it is at best a myth.
The Catholic position, for its part, has generally been that it is open to any truth wherever and however formulated, provided that it can be put in proper context. No doubt this approach will seem "condescending" to many but the very nature of the Church is itself a claim to truth. Any mitigation of its essence would, no doubt, be an admission that it did not believe in itself. In this sense, Catholicism is not a "religion," but a revelation. Religion is what men seek to offer to the gods, while revelation is bound by what is handed down. Its essence is loyalty to what is revealed. Its impact is to explain itself to mankind in terms both of itself and what man has understood by itself. Catholicism does not stand for what man holds about God but about what God holds about man.
IGNATIUS PRESS HAS BOOKS BY VON SPEYER
and a review of her life at their website.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
FAITH AND FUNERALS AND FAMILIES
I spent yesterday evening and the better part of today attending my uncle's funeral. His was not an unexpected death. He was 99...a lot of years that brought a lot of changes. When he grew up on the farm, there were no such things as automobiles. The road past the farmhouse that is today being turned into a four lane highway was a wagon trail when he made his first communion. He could remember seeing the very first car that drove down that road, and tell stories of funerals when the casket was loaded onto a horse drawn wagon. We tend to forget how recently life was very different.
Maybe, though, the greater changes in the last 99 years have been in the way that people relate to each other. My uncle was a man who spoke his mind unhesitatingly; a man whose word was his contract--a man of integrity. The kind of man who is rare now, but was the norm at the time when he was born.
In 99 years, people take a lot of pictures of you. A great many of these were on display at the funeral home. The picture of him in his football uniform was perhaps the most striking. He played for Kent State University back then. Had he not been holding the helmet, I would not have known what he was wearing. It looked more like an air suit tied into a sort of sausage-links configuration than any sort of protective clothing. Instead of school colors, the football uniform was mostly brown, or looked that way in the picture, anyway; but then, that was before color film.
It was before birth control as well. He had ten children, nine of them still living. They gave him thirty-three grandchildren, forty-nine great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren. Several rooms of the funeral home were overflowing. As I walked around talking with those present, it hit me. They were all members of his family, and that was why there were so many people and so few flowers. When you outlive your friends your funeral can be a dismal affair, but not when you give birth to a dynasty.
My uncle never made a mark on the world. He labored long hours to keep bread on the table and didn't have time to do things that would have made him famous. His children grew up without the material things that we began to take for granted about the time that the youngest was in her teens. Yet what a wealth they have today in each other. Nothing that money will buy can even come close. A family funeral when there is plenty of family and the person who has died lived a long life is a joyous affair. There are children running everywhere, of course, and no one lacks for someone to talk with. The loss is less when there are so many on the side of gain. He will not be forgotten for a long long time.
One of my cousins told me a story about my uncle and his best friend and fishing buddy, George. It seems that George had no belief in God. When they went fishing, George would cuss a blue streak, and my uncle would admonish him that he had to stop doing that and had to learn to believe in God. George wanted no part of it. George died last month. He had not been able to speak for a period of time before he died, but one day his daughter went into his room and found him on his knees beside the bed. He had crawled over the siderail in order to be kneeling there, and he was praying. Before he died George accepted Christ, and his daughter could hardly believe what she was seeing. My uncle's many prayers for George were answered, and today they must be sharing stories about the one that got away over there beyond the territory of the Grim Reaper.
If my uncle isn't in that territory, most of us have little hope of seeing it. You didn't spend much time around him without hearing about his faith. It was central to the man that he was. He talked about it when most of us remain silent. God was very real and very present to him. He knew the Bible like most of us know the balance in the checkbook or the status of the stock market. He should have, he read it cover to cover many times. One of the events that gave him pleasure was to have a Jehovah's Witness ring his doorbell. He would invite them in and commence to debate them into silence. He always said he could confound their arguments. He may have a few more friends in the land beyond who are there because of some argument he made.
It aggravated him that "They have changed the Bible." When he read it, he read the Douay Rheims, and he knew what had been altered in later versions. He never could understand why it had been changed. When I think of him, I will remember most his faith. And maybe when I remember it, I will also think about how much the Church changed for him, yet still he weathered the changes without losing confidence in the One the changes were about. That's quite an achievement considering where he came from 99 years ago. He not only coped, his faith grew stronger with each passing year. There is a lesson in that, a lesson he told with his life. A lesson I will try to hold onto when the latest Catholic headlines send me reeling into doubt.
Eternal rest grant to you, Uncle Gib. May you be winning Scripture debates with the angels tonight in your eternal home.
FULL AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN LITURGY
In a comments box lumen fidei posted a link to a blog that posted a link to an article in Adoremus Bulletin, written by Monsignor Richard J. Schuler, who is the pastor of St. Agnes Church in Minneapolis, about the true nature of that "full and active participation in the liturgy" that we have been brow-beaten with since Vatican II. Incredibly, he considers this to be primarily an internal factor and only secondarily a factor of physical activity. Even more incredibly, he says that the Mass should contain periods of silence.
Why did so few voices speak this wise message after Vatican II? Oh the problems it would have avoided!
The article was linked by the "Our World and Welcome to It" blog.
WHY DOES ROSSNER AND THE ORDER OF THE TRANSFIGURATION MATTER ?
The short explanation is "Because of the ICCC," but you need the long explanation to understand what I'm talking about.
ICCC stands for International Council of Community Churches. Notice the statement there:
Council affiliation by any church is entirely voluntary. Each individual congregation makes this decision based on its acceptance of the Council's constitution and its willingness to enter into covenant with the Council and every other congregation affiliated with the Council.
What does "covenant" mean? Websters says "formal, solemn, and binding agreement" - a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action."
The constitution is not online, unfortunately. Something of what they stand for can still be discovered by reading their Vision statement:
- To affirm individual freedom of conscience.
- To protect and promote church self-determination.
- To proclaim that the love of God, which unites, can overcome any division.
- To be an integral partner in the worldwide ecumenical movement.
Also their Purpose statement:
- To be an answer to Christ's prayer: "That they may all be one" (John 17)
- To affirm the worth and dignity of every person.
- To attend to human need and suffering throughout the world.
- To seek and share the truth.
- To build toward a new world of peace.
Their History webpage describes the formation of this Council:
In 1950, two fellowships in the Community Church Movement joined in a historic merger. At the time, their joining represented the largest interracial merger of religious bodies in America. The new creation was the International Council of Community Churches. Member churches and centers united to be a fellowship of ecumenically-minded, freedom-loving churches cooperating in fulfilling the mission of the Church in the world.
As a post-denominational movement for over 40 years, the Council has witnessed and worked for Christian unity and reconciliation in human society. And this is the work it carries into the 21st Century.
Certainly sounds noble. How does it shake out in real life?
You can see the fish, their symbol, on Fr. John Rossner's Order of the Transfiguration webpage. You can also see it at the website of the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God Transfigured.
The ICCC Members webpage lists four distinct groups. Look at the first one - the Christian Catholic Rite of Community Churches, which is sometimes abbreviated CCRCC, whose Bishop is listed as Most Rev. Serge A. Theriault. Here he is again. His church is located in Quebec. This statement is given on the website:
The first Christian Catholic Church in America was organized among French-Canadians in St. Anne, Illinois, in 1859, under the leadership of the Rev. Charles Chiniquy. The Parish in the Outaouais (Gatineau-Hull) was inaugurated in December 1976.
It is dedicated to St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Gregory of Parumala and remembers the Rev. J.B. Gauthier and Bishop J.R. Vilatte, who were both teachers in the Outaouais before joining Dr. Charles Chiniquy's reform movement in 1880.
The Outaouais Parish has been the cathederal church for the Christian Catholic Rite since 1982, when Rector S.A. Theriault succeeded the late Msgr O'Neill Cote (1939-1986)as 4th Bishop Ordinary and the Episcopal See was transfered from Montreal-Longueuil (St. Stephen's Church) to Hull.
Bishop Vilatte had transfered the See from Green Bay, Wisconsin (Parish Church of St. Louis, King of France), to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1901.
Rene Vilatte is quite a colorful priest. You can read the story of this wandering bishop at the CCRCC website. At one time or another he was a member of the Order of Christian Brothers, a member of the Christian Catholic Church which was founded by Charles Chiniquy, worked for the Presbyterian church as a missionary, served at Calvary French Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin, founded the Church of the Precious Blood of Jesus for which the Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac presided at the consecration, founded the Society of the Precious Blood.
The support for Vilatte's consecration came from the Independent Catholic Church of Sri Lanka, Goa, and India, through Father Bernard Harding, a priest in Roman orders who had been a missionary there before joining Vilatte's Society. Two Indian Malabar bishops were also involved in his consecration. In fact the story defines the meaning of "wandering bishops" which Stephen Hoeller, bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church, describes here. Vilatte was associated with many and loyal to none.
Perhaps this could be excused considering the fact that the territory he was serving was just emerging from wilderness. However, he has one infamous disciple. Aleister Crowley. You can read about this succession by which the Gnostic Catholic Church and the Ordo Templi Orientis claim apostolic succession through Rene Vilatte here.
Incredible as it might seem, the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin tells this story of the Church of the Precious Blood and Rene Vilatte on its website.
There is more information on Vilatte at the CCRCC website. Just click the various links.
Crossmap Christian Directory lists the churches that belong to the International Council of Community Churches. The first one listed is Rev. Serge A. Theriault's Christian Catholic Church. The Howland Community Church that I bloged about yesterday is there on the list. You can see the fish insignia on their Affiliations webpage.
Further down the list is the Order of Port Royal in the United States. The website for this Order has a long list of links which includes "Lectio Divina," "World Council of Churches," "World Community for Christian Meditation" (the John Main Seminar people), "Contemplative Outreach," and "Taize." There are also links there for "Saints of the Cistercian Order," "St. Bernard of Clairvaux," "Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance," "Cistercian Publications," "Monastic Studies," and "Rules for Hermits". There is a link for the "Altar Book of the Old Catholics in Germany."
According to their website this order practices Cistercian spirituality and "contemplative Christianity" Dom Gregory, of this Order, is a member of the American Benedictine Academy, the Eckhart Society, and Spiritual Directors International. Dom Mark is a retired ECUSA priest and a member of Forward in Faith. Their mission is ecumenical outreach. What sort of spiritual direction do they give, one wonders? The kind one would expect from a Roman Catholic Cistercian, the kind one would expect from a Contemplative Outreach, i.e. centering prayer, or something of the occult sort practiced by the Gnostic Catholic Church and the Order of the Transfiguration? Any of the three are possible given the convergence of religious streams in the ICCC.
To look at this website, you would think it were Catholic...all except for the name which seems odd. Msgr. Ronald Knox discusses Port Royal in his book ENTHUSIASM, in the chapter on Jansenism. It was a location near Paris. Port Royal is also discussed in the Catholic Encyclopedia entry for "Acadia". In this case Port Royal refers to what is now Annapolis with an off-shoot in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a story of persecution of French Catholics by the English. Neither may be applicable to this German Order of Port Royal.
Another member of the ICCC is Spirit United Interfaith Church. Their newsletter describes the church as "esoteric Christianity, Ageless Wisdom, and the unifying principles of all spiritual paths that demonstrate love, compassion and unity." The September calendar in the newsletter indicates that "meditation" is a common focus of services. One of the "Classes and Events at Spirit United" is "Conversation with Mikel - Rev. M. Jean Kellett" which is described as "Jean will share spiritual information from Mikel through an intuitive spiritual telepathic communication. Time for personal questions will be provided." Rev. Kellett is an ordained minister from Sancta Sophia Seminary. I guess the seminary teaches channeling.
Another member of the ICCC is the Franciscan Servants of the Holy Cross. This order is attempting to assist at the "rediscovery and restoration of the Ancient and Undivided Church with it's [sic] faith, order and tradition."
The order is "an ECUMENICAL Christian religious order of clergy, religious and laity that seeks fellowship, mutual support and common ministries that reflect unity, service, advocacy, education, and reconciliation of all who see themselves as Christ centered and biblically focused." I wonder how that works out with the ICCC's provision that all members exhibit "willingness to enter into covenant with the Council and every other congregation affiliated with the Council" when some of the churches practice spirit contact?
The Franciscan Servants of the Holy Cross indicate under "special Announcements:" that "The FSHC enters into full communion with the Fraternity of Ecumenical Franciscans of Spain, Cuba and Mexico (founded by the Anglican Franciscan Brothers of Spain and the Anglical Communion) and the Company of Jesus (Franciscan) of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches!"
Their "Events" link shows a session of "Centering Prayer with the Holy Rosary."
Here is the website of the Company of Jesus. They don't seem to be affiliated with the ICCC, however. They too are ecumenical, but look Roman Catholic. They are part of the Anglican Province of Christ the Good Shepherd. Their website says they "fully support those faithful ECUSA bishops and priests who stand firm in the Apostolic faith and doctrine of the historical Anglican Church and who have not bowed the knee to the pressures of our secular culture." I wonder if they know what their affiliate is up to? Their links page indicates they are into "contemplation".
This is where ecumenism is taking us apparently...into post-denominationalism. And it seems to have the Pope's blessing. How do we fit this into Catholic doctrine and spirituality?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
AN OLD DOG LEARNING A NEW SOCK
SockPuppets. I thought they were those things my kidlet used to play with. Ah no. Not anymore.
A sockpuppet is an additional OnlineIdentity used by someone who already has another OnlineIdentity for participating in a given community, particularly when done in a non-transparent manner and where the identities interact with each other in some way. The term originates with the metaphor of carrying on a conversation with oneself using a puppet in each hand.
This is the reverse of a DramaticIdentity. With a DramaticIdentity, multiple people might post under the same moniker. With a Sock Puppet, the same person posts under multiple identities. Some of the alternate identities may be automated "bots", but more often they're under manual control.
Now how many of you knew that? (Don't answer that! I'm not ready to be the only naif in St. Blogs.)
I remember a sockpuppet who used to have conversations with himself on a message board a few years back. One day he got the right sockpuppet on the left foot and the game was over, while his enormous ego got seriously deflated when I pointed out his error. After that he settled for one screen name, but it certainly crimped his arguments.
Always have to chuckle at the word "sockpuppet".
Well. Anyway. I'm going to bed now, one word smarter.
Sleep well out there in cyberland.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE SUNDAY MORNING AT YOUR CATHOLIC CHURCH ?
At the Howland Community Church, worship is truly a family affair. Even a first time visitor quickly becomes part of the church family as their greeted by the Pastor and other worshipers before the formal service begins.
Children are expected in worship and are invited to come forward to sit with the Pastor during the Time For Young Disciples.
Music is a blend of various tempos, styles, and instrumentation. Being a church for all people, we recognize the beauty and importance of many spiritual traditions.
Communion is served every Sunday. All who worship with us, regardless of age or church membership, are invited to receive the bread and the cup from the Lord’s Table.
Above all, the worship of the Howland Community Church is always a joyful proclamation of the power of the resurrection.
(You have to click the "worship" link on the left to get that passage.)
It shouldn't sound like Sunday morning at a Catholic Church because this is a Community Church and not a Catholic Church. But then a lot of our Catholic churches are called "communities" these days. I'm sure the church is very ecumenical. Of course so are the Catholic churches.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
ANOTHER UPDATE ON THE ORDER OF THE TRANSFIGURATION, CHARLES MERCIECA, AND ARCHBISHOP JOHN
To put it in context...
Dr. Charles Mercieca wrote two books, a portion of which are published on the Church of the Mother of God Transfigured website:
He is founder and president of the International Association of Educators for World Peace
He has signed the Association of World Citizens Peace Declaration of Taipei 2001 which appears in the newsletter of the Institute for Planetary Synthesis (University for Planetary Synthesis) which is associated with the Arcane School of Lucis Trust.
Charles Mercieca is Vice President of the Association of World Citizens, an organization with branches in 30 countries, the majority third world, and "more coming online".
Mercieca is a Catholic according to an article for the Federation of World Peace and Love. Check out the Federation's website at that link. There's a picture of Pope Benedict there.
The article says in part:
Dr. Mercieca is also very spiritual. He is a devoted Catholic who embraces all religions. He loves helping his friends. He believes in the matriarchal society, which rules from the heart, and Mariologists view the Blessed Virgin Mary as the essence of the matriarchy. When I visited him on November 14, 2003, he was gracious enough to let me stay in a spacious room with a private bath. On the wall facing the bed was a niche, in which hung a tapestry of the Virgin Mary. On another wall hung photos of Mrs. Mercieca, who you can tell from her eyes was a woman of great character and wisdom. This proves, as often heard, that a great man always has a great woman behind him. Unfortunately, she died young.
I was told the room was full of positive energy and that the Patriarch of the Mother of God Church in Moscow, Archbishop John Bereslavsky, and other well-known people had used it. He was right about the positive energy of the room. It was the first time in my whole life that I slept like a baby in somebody's home. Before I checked in at the airport, he said: "Today I have prayed many times at church for your safe trip home and the angels will be with you." I felt I was as blessed as his children.
Dr. Mercieca is an honorary Committee Member of the Federation of World Peace and Love, the association that provided the above article about him.
At the Messenger for Divine Mother website is an article by Charles Mercieca titled "Valiant Messenger of the Blessed Mother: Archbishop John Bereslavsky". The article describes Archbishop John but fails to mention that he was excommunicated from the Orthodox Church. It talks about the yearly Sobor, a meeting of members of the church which lasts two days and is essentially one long liturgy. The following is from the article:
This liturgical function focuses continuously on the Blessed Virgin Mary whose presence is felt deeply by every one present. In fact, everyone that participates in this impressive spiritual event, which is conducted by Archbishop John, enters into a trance and experiences a heavenly gift, which is priceless. This gift may be described as an out-of-time experience where the minutes pass like seconds and the hours pass like minutes. Another phenomenon that is experienced lies in the increasing energy one feels. Instead of feeling exhausted toward the end of the Sobor, after some nine to eleven hours of continuous participation, one feels refreshed and energetic. Besides, one starts looking forward with eagerness for the next Sobor. [emphasis mine - ct]
I believe he is describing an occult type of out-of-body experience. In any case "Divine Mother" is hardly a phrase the Blessed Virgin would use to describe herself. She is certainly not divine, yet it becomes rather obvious that Charles Mercieca would like her to be divine, and that this church he is promoting is Matriarchal and does not raise Jesus up for adoration, but rather substitutes a woman in His place. I doubt that the woman is the Blessed Virgin.
Whatever belief system Mercieca is promoting, it is coming out of visionary experiences. The article states that this new Russian church is Marian and uses "a fusion of liturgy of Russian Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism." The church is described as "vibrant", and the article recounts the visionary experiences of Archbishop John:
Archbishop John has emerged as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time. He views the martyrs of the Solovski Islands as the patron saints of his vibrant Marian Church. In his prophetic visions, he sees Russia emerging as the New Jerusalem of the third millennium. The best way to savor the deep Marian spirituality of Archbishop John is to read his books and to hear him talking. The Solovski Islands martyrs have revealed to him the mysteries of life, death, and resurrection of souls.
Spiritual Life and Involvements
Archbishop John was born in Moscow in 1946. As a young adult, he converted to the faith and joined the Catacomb Church that escaped the communist rule of his nation. The Virgin Mary sent him a holy woman to look after him spiritually. She was known as Mother Euphrossinia.
Dr. Mercieca has some rather un-American attitudes, though I believe I've read these same attitudes expressed in Rome. Much of what he says in the article is truly Catholic in perspective, but our faith does not denigrate the material world, and that is what Dr. Mercieca is doing.
In an old blog, Irish Elk has noted Mercieca's involvement with the Peace Abbey's "pet rock", and his enthusiasm for the politics of Cuba. When you get to the website, look for the bombed out cathedral and the heading "To Coventry the peace rock rolls..." which is down near the bottom.
RSNews.net has a story on Archbishop John from which we can learn that he has written an unbelievable 300 books, one of which, SOLO SOPHIA, is reviewed here. According to the article he is considered a leading expert in Sophiology and Mariology Researches and a member of the International Council of World Religions and Cultures. Sophiology is one of the philosophies that John Paul II studied when he studied Soloviev and other Russian philosophers.
When someone writes an inordinate number of books, I tend to suspect channeling of some sort, and I'm often not wrong. It seems to be a sort of trademark.
The question that nags...where are these people getting their money?
Could the following be the source? A reader sent in this interesting exercise in follow the links.
Charles Mercieca signed the Association of World Citizens Peace Declaration of Taipei 2001 which appeared in the newsletter of the Institute (or University) for Planetary Synthesis.
Their website offers a proposed syllabus to start the university which was in the formative phase at the time the webpage was written. Scroll down to the bottom of the webpage. There you will see:
The University is for the moment only a blueprint. Similar projects, however, have already advanced into the stage of materialisation and offer courses for students. We advise those who would like to follow such a course of study to contact these institutions directly. Below we give some of their names and addresses:
ARCANA WORKSHOPS - http://www.meditationtraining.org
ARCANE SCHOOL - http://www.lucistrust.org
UNIVERSITY OF THE SEVEN RAYS - http://www.sevenray.com
TERRA - http://terra.pioneers.free.fr
That last one is of particular interest. The link will bring you here. Place your cursor over the triangle for "Grand Lodge, Ancient Universal Mysteries" and click. You will get the a Grand Orient Masonic Lodge website. While you're at it, check out the rest of the triangles on the Terra homepage. If you explore the 5eme Souffle/5th Breathe link and look at their books, you will see that Leadbeater, Blavatsky, and Bailey are all included on the list, as are books by Mesmer, a book on magic, and one on alchemy. It's certainly an interesting list!
I have no evidence that Mercieca is associated with Grand Orient Freemasonry other than the fact that The University for Planetary Synthesis must think his Association of World Citizens is in line with their thinking. It is an interesting exercise in follow the links, however.
ADDITIONAL UPDATES TO THE BLOG "FR. ROSSNER'S ORDER OF THE TRANSFIGURATION" IMMEDIATELY BELOW THIS ONE
Dr. Charles Mercieca
Founder of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP) and author of two essays, one on the church itself, and one on apparitions, in the website of the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God Transfigured.
The Institute for Planetary Synthesis includes an "Association of World Citizens Peace Declaration of Taipei 2001" at the end of its Newsletter No. 90. Dr. Mercieca has signed it.
The Association of World Citizens Staff website lists the people on the staff of this organization. Honorary President is Dr. Robert Muller - Costa Rica. Vice President is Dr. Charles Mercieca - USA.
Page 2 in this newsletter lists the "Group Meditations" - "Full Moon Meditations: Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces Full Moon meditations with the Arcane School group in Geneva". The Arcane School is the institution that uses Alice Bailey's channeled material. You can read about the school on the Lucis Trust website.
The apparitions, meditations, and whatever else Anglican/Episcopal priest Fr. John Rossner is promoting can be traced to Lucis Trust - first formed as Lucifer Publishing Company for the purpose of publishing the books Alice Bailey channeled from Djwhal Khul.
Rossner's Order of the Transfiguration, which is attempting to associate itself with Russian Orthodoxy, is inaugurating a new church of Sophia/Mother Goddess of the sort described by the Sophiologists of Russian philosophy, and like the Sophia whom Vladimir Soloviev contacted in his visionary experience while reading the Kabbalah. This Sophia is being disguised as the Blessed Virgin Mary in the writings of Charles Mercieca, who concentrates on Medjugorje in describing apparitions, and who has connections to the United Nations and to a group promoting Arcane School meditations, and also to a group listed on a Canadian webpage of Jewish organizations.
The deception is diabolical.
The only thing that is going to cure what ails the Roman Catholic Church is the consecration of Russia.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!!
Monday, October 24, 2005
FR. ROSSNER'S ORDER OF THE TRANSFIGURATION
On the program last May 22 at Conference I Session 5 of the "At the Dawn of a New Light" conference was a slot set aside for "A Creation Liturgy adapted from Teilhard de Chardin's 'Hymn to the Universe.' Order of the Transfiguration Celebration for the IIIHS 30th Anniversary"
The story of Fr. John Rossner would be incomplete without mentioning one last title that he holds--that of Abbott of The Order of the Transfiguration, "the new monastics for a new humanity in a new world order." Fr. Rossner was its founder.
This monastic order is an "ecumenical order for interfaith work, founded in 1988, in Corinth Greece." It, too, is affiliated with the United Nations and the World Council of Churches. The website tells us that
As a contribution to inter-religious understanding and world peace, persons in the catholic, protestant & orthodox Christian traditions have formed an ecumenical religious order with interfaith perspectives...linked with teachers and groups...from the other great religious traditions of the world...united in the common quest for universal human values, East & West through personal study and transformative spiritual experience.
What's more, this order
...has been formed as a Bridge between the One, Holy, Catholic, & Apostolic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ...and the World's Religions, East & West, and New Religious & Spiritual Movements & Groups.
One wonders what those new religious & spiritual movements and groups might be. It would appear that whatever they are, they are expected to continue being what they are while joining this Order as well. The meat of their spirituality seems to be summed up in this statement:
Visions; apparitions; post-mortem contacts with the dead saints; invocation of saints & angels; prophecies; healings; the on-going processes of personal revelations among saints and mystics in the history of Christianity and the other world religions, ancient and modern; the nature and uses of ritual and sacramentals, liturgy and eucharistic action as effective instruments of the "Mysteries of Redemption".
They intend to restore the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy, inspirational teaching, and healing. They sound like Pentecostals. Their goal is "ultimate spiritual transformation of the human race and the planet itself" which they plan to accomplish using the Cosmic Christ and the Primordial Tradition, and including the "important truths that God has revealed to humanity through the other great religions and cultures of the world." They are very ecumenical.
I wonder if they read Lee's article since they talk about being "mid-wife of a New Humanity in a New World Order."
They support the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations Charter, and Nostra Aetate of the Second Vatican Council.
Turning to Google for more information, I discovered Father Iliya Popov, Dr. who is a member living in Russia. He operates the Orthodox Church of Mother of God Derzavnaya.
The bishop of this church, Archbishop John, is a visionary. He began receiving messages in Smolensk in 1984 from the Holy Virgin Hodigitria. It is a beautiful icon, but what to make of the messages many of which are online, though not nearly all. Some of the more unusual ones include these words from the Virgin
- I bless the rising church.
- The priesthood has fallen and there is no salvation for it.
- The unbaptized are already now being baptized by the blood of the innocent martyrs of the faith.
- Children are now answerable for their sins from the age of one year.
From the 1997 revelations in Russia we are told:
- During Her earthly days the Virgin endured fierce abuse from the demonic host. She was more than once crucified by them. And our Lord used to come and take Her off the Cross, and He kissed Her pierced hands and Her brow, healing Her miraculously.
- Prayer for aborted infants brings great consolation to their souls and is the only way to ease of their unmeasured sufferings for the sins of Adam's race.
From the 1999 revelations we are told
- The era of the Ever-Virgin returns! The aegis, the kingdom, the power and the glory of Sophia, Mother of Christ, Queen of the World, the Ever-Virgin! Amen....The era of the Mother of God is coming.
- The Mother of God, Sophia the Divine Wisdom, is destined to bemother Holy Russia and lead her with majestic hand.
- The kingdom of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity is coming, the third kingdom in Holy Russia....Sing canticles to Mother Saviour, to your immaculate Protectress. The Virgin will save Holy Russia!
- Praise Her as befit the Coredemptress, the Bride of the Lamb! Worship the Lord of the Holy Trinity in Her!
- Praise Her in Her innumerable hypostases, in the multitude of Her miracle-working images!
- Replacing the parochial clergy will be a new clergy of the sun, for the great Temple is throwing its doors open in heaven. Enter the ark and take the vial of oil from Me before you anoint.
On a webpage titled "Conversations" which supposedly took place in Japan, 1995 you can read:
- When you want to see Jesus, Our Lady comes. And they asked each other: "Why it's so happened. We were waiting for Jesus!" The others answered: "Because Jesus comes in Her". Jesus comes in Her image, as God Father came in the Son's image. And this is the mystery and foundation of the Church: we come to Jesus through Mary".
- Now Son doesn't judge anybody and He gave all judgment to His Mother....Because She is the Judge and she is a very merciful Judge. She prefers to suffer Herself Her Coredemptrix sufferings.
- My children throughout Japan and Russia, wake up and come.
There is a picture of the church and a description of "New Holy Russia" "The Marian movement in Russia", and the webpage includes a picture of a crying statue of Rosa Mystica.
Much of the website is not yet active, and some of the material is in Russian and thus inaccessible.
There is "A Catalogue of Edifying Information" which includes links to Marian apparition websites, Medjugorje being the most prominent among them. There is also a link to what is "acclaimed one of the greatest", a website devoted to Maria Valtorta and "The Poem of the Man-God", a book that was on the Index of Forbidden Books before the Index was abolished, according to Fr. Mitch Pacwa.
There is a letter in the website from Father Warren Thomas Wells which discusses the "mark of the beast".
The church claims to be the Catacomb Church of Russia, that portion of the Russian Orthodox Church which would not submit to the demands of the Soviet government and thus went underground.
Facts and figures about the size of the church are presented here. They gave me the opinion that the church is declining in popularity.
The church has a publishing house which has published the book of Dr. Charles Mercieca titled WORLD AND SPIRITUALITY OF THE 3RD MILLENIUM. From the text presented
a few bits stand out:
- Our children of today are the children of the new holy Russia that invites God's spirit to literally penetrate the vein of the entire nation. They are the beloved children of the Blessed Virgin Mary with whom they communicate constantly. [They sound a lot like the Indigo children of James Twyman and Doreen Virtue. - ct]
- ...the liturgy of the Mother of God Church...lasts for some eight to ten consecutive hours.
- In Russia...there is a constant excitment in the learning, study, and practice of religion. By religion one may not necessarily mean "organized religion." One means simply one's personal experience of a direct encounter with God...
- Regardless of one's age and background, one feels moved by a new life that is characterized by vitality, purity of heart, and full power of concentration in communicating directly with God through the Blessed Virgin Mary as an effective medium.
- Marian priests...may...also establish ecumenical dialogues with Protestants and non Christians to discuss the maternal aspects of God and how the Blessed Mother is viewed to be the expression of God's divine maternity.
Medjugorje is mentioned several times in the text. In fact it becomes clear that this newly developing, supposedly old religion in Russia is focused on Mary primarily and on Christ only secondarily.
According to another webpage Dr. Charles Mercieca is Professor of History and Philosophy, Alabama A&M University, Executive Vice President Interntional Association of Educators for World Peace NGO, United Nations (ECOSOC), UNDPI, UNICEF, UNCED & UNESCO.
Cesnur discusses this sect in an paper at their website, indicating that the word "Derzhavnaya" which is part of the title of the church translates to "Transfigured," so apparently the followers of this sect see the Blessed Virgin as a transfigured person. The paper also points out that the founder of this church, Father Ioann Bereslavsky (Archbishop John) was ordained in the "Sekachev" branch of the catacomb Genuine Orthodox Church, but he was excommunicated shortly after the 1984 revelations.
Lastly there is an interview at The Moscow News website which describes a confrontation between a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church and this Marian church. The Orthodox priest comes off rather badly in this interview, making it clear that the Russian Orthodox Church would like to see this Marian Church disappear.
It is just slightly odd that a developing Russian church devoted to Mary above and beyond their devotion to the Trinity, a church which has the disdain of the Orthodox Church, or at least a member of it, and which appears to be losing readership of their publication, has the endorsement of a professor of an American university, and is being promoted by a Spiritualist church in Canada that has enough influence to bring the Dalai Lama to their event, and that has affiliation with the United Nations. The facts don't add up to the whole picture that is present. There has to be more to this story than is currently available for discovery.
Dr. Charles Mercieca
This man has connections.
His two papers features on the Church of the Orthodox Church of the Mother of God Transfigured website that I linked above:
Both of these publications bear the copyright of the Church, and the Church's Publishing House "New Holy Russia Publishers, Moscow".
Here is the man's website:
It's one of the more sophisticated websites on the web. It would take many hours to get through all of it. IAEWP has four publications:
The UN News
The Circulation Newsletter
The Peace Program Journal
The Peace Education Journal
They also offer "UNESCO Seminars developed in six sessions each for various community groups on topics of human concern."
The membership page claims 35,000 spread over 100 countries.
There are drop-down menus in several places. Some go to the UN website.
The link for homeplanet.org takes you to this website. This organization "is a Non-Profit Corporation registered in Ontario Canada that is directly affiliated with the International Association of Educators for World Peace ("IAWWP"), which is a Non-Profit corporation with 501 (3) (c) IRS status in the United States, founded April 30, 1969 in Alabama (certificate #46277)."
They "believe that 'humankind will make peace when peace makes money'..."
The website indicates that:
Our Culture of Peace activities have been widely recognized by the United Nations, which In 1987, the UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, designated IAEWP as a PEACE MESSENGER of the world on behalf of the UN General Assembly.
Another link in the website takes you to Wild Divine. According to their website:
The Journey to Wild Divine is a unique program for mind & body that links biofeedback hardware with your computer to create an enlightening experience of wellness.
Practice new breathing and meditation techniques using biofeedback to create a renewed sense of balance. It's the perfect addition to your wellness program for a happy mind and a healthy body. [emphasis mine]
Perhaps Wild Divine is one example of peace making money?
Dr. Charles Mercieca is listed in Who's Who, World Level, a list compiled by the Canadian Centers for Teaching Peace.
This is what it says about him:
International Association of Educators for World Peace. IAEWP (www.homeplanet.org/iaewp) was founded in 1967 by Dr. Charles Mercieca, a Maltese philosopher, educator. Now represented in 102 countries, with consultative status at many United Nations agencies, a designated Peace Messenger of the United Nations since 1987, the IAEWP has initiated the IPC 2000 Program at it's eighth World Peace Congress, and two Proclamations at its 10th World Congress.
Proclamation 1: That all educators, both formal and informal are educators for World Peace.
Proclamation 2: Educators for World Peace will shift buying habits of individuals, corporations, institutions, and Nation States to support the 1% Solution. In addition, we encourage individuals to become aware of the values that identifies products and services supporting the development of a healthy growing society. The IAEWP is the developing agency for the 1% Solution - a voluntary global tax intended to fund the Foundation for a Culture of Peace. http://www.homeplanet.org/iaewp/main.htm Contact: Mr. Mitchell L. Gold, UN Special Envoy & Vice President of North American Affairs, 2 Bloor Street West, Suite 100-209, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3E2, Canada, Phone (1) 416-924-4449 / Fax: (1) 416-924-4094 / 921-4365 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Please note that the Homeplanet Alliance is intended to be a depository for Educational materials / accessible over the net : educational material at www.homeplanet.org/alliance/edumat.htm .
Why Canada when he is an American? Why is Homeplanet.org a Canadian association? Why is he affiliated with a Russian group that Canadian Fr. John Rossner is associated with as well? What's the Russian connection?
It looks like Homeplanet.org is Jewish. The link below will take you to a "Listings Canada" website. This particular webpage is devoted to "Canada: Society: Religion: Judaism". Homeplanet.org is on the list.
FROM THE COMMENTS BOX ON THE "RANDOM THOUGHTS" BLOG DOWN BELOW
I've been trying to post a response to Kathy in the comments box, but Halo-Scan isn't cooperating, so I've moved it up here. My response to her comments will appear in red if Blogger cooperates. Her comments are in italics.
I too get a little nervous walking into the SSPX, but (and despite my inability to be a theologian here) we do have to get some facts straight.
SSPX Masses are valid. They are. They are not heretical and the priests are validly ordained. That does not cover confession or marriage, so be real careful in using them for that purpose.
Think about what you have written, Kathy. When a priest is ordained, he is ordained for all of the sacraments, not just some of them.
I've investigated the validity claims of the SSPX. There is tremendous controversy over this. To some extent you get the answer you seek by asking the people who think the same way you do on the subject.
However the priests are Roman Catholics all the way through as priests and that is not in question with the Church. The SSPX is not a separate religion. It is Catholicism--schism meaning separated from Rome. The SSPX is loyal to the Pope, vs. Orthodoxy which is a true schism.
One cannot be Roman Catholic and loyal to the Pope while at the same time being out of communion with the Pope. The concepts are mutually exclusive. What you have in the SSPX is another variety of wandering bishop, not unlike the Liberal Catholic Church and the Gnostic Catholic Church, both of which claim to be Catholic but not in communion with the Pope.
If you don't want to take my word for it, and there is no reason for you to do so, then please find a good authority you trust and ask him/her.
Yes the people at Latin Masses are mostly in long sleeves (which does beat the tank top), but is that what bothers you? Wear short sleeves. Wear a veil or DON'T.
When I attended the SSPX Mass I didn't wear a veil. I was promptly presented with one by a well-meaning lady.
You may get stared at. So what. Go. I wore jeans, nice jeans, tonight. (Oh the chapel is ugly is it. Hummmm. Is God there?
For your sake, I hope so.
Can you guarentee He is present with Fr. ? who lost his faith some time ago and doesn't believe in what he is doing, but has a much prettier church. I believe when a priest no longer believes in what he is doing, then matter is not changed into our Lord? Am I correct?)
Sure. But I have a strong sense that the priests at my church believe in what they are doing.
Look, We all want back our parishes. We all want what has been stolen from us. But you are not going to find it by leaving the church. Go where it is safe for now. Get some strength back. You can do that at a SSPX Mass. Do you travel? The FSSP Masses are all over. (Sacramento has its own FSSP Church--very active and actually quite lovely). There is one in NJ. Go on line and they are listed.
And if you want some in-your-face, no appologies Catholicism try Christ or Chaos website. No punches pulled, none at all.
I've visited their website a number of times.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you may lose your faith if you keep going where you know it is garabage homilies, lies and failure to be Catholic. I know I would be upset all the time. Others on this site say the same thing. You need to go where you won't be lied to about Catholicism. If you don't want to buy the polictical/social views of the SSPX parishoners, fine. But at least the Catholicism is rock solid. Honest, the Masses are valid. You fulfill your Sunday obligation by attending them.
Kathy 10.23.05 - 11:35 pm #
What if the Holy Spirit has been leading the 5 most recent popes? We believe that the Holy Spirit leads the popes. If He has led the popes, why did He change His mind about so many things? But if He was not leading these 5 popes, has God abandoned the Church?
It's easy to look at the documents and compare the ones prior to the Council to the ones post-Council, and note the transformation in the faith. But then we must adddress what is right, because they can't both be right when they are mutually contradicting.
If I reject the arguments prior to the Council, my faith is no longer built on Tradition, it is built on the work of a group of men who had a bright new idea. If I decide these men are right and the older men were wrong, what guarantee do I have that these men are right other than my own decision?
If I reject the arguments after the Council, I am no longer a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Gates of Hell have prevailed, which, of course, is incompatible with the teachings of the Church prior to the Council as well as post Council.
We have chaos. There is simply no way to sort out what has transpired. We are damned no matter where we turn. The chaos can only be diabolical. It is much to cleverly conceived to be human.
FR. JOHN ROSSNER
As you read through this blog, keep in mind that ecumenism invites the Anglican church to join us.
Fr. Frederick Shade, priest in the Theosophical Liberal Catholic Church that I blogged on last week, mentions a book titled IN SEARCH OF THE PRIMORDIAL TRADITION by Fr. John Rossner in his article "Notes on Mystical Christianity".
Fr. Rossner is an Anglican/Episcopalian priest, and Adjunct Professor at Concordia University. You can read a short bio. of him here, at mid-point on the webpage, which says:
Fr. Rossner is the founder-president of the IIIHS, a former professor of religion (history of religion and culture) at Concordia University, now adjunctive professor there, a scholar and author, an Anglican/Episcopal priest, the Abbot-General of The Order of the Transfiguration, and the conceptualizer of this conference.
Fr. Rossner has an unusual theology and a Canadian institution to go with it called The International Institute of Integral Human Sciences (IIIHS), a non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations. The main offices are located in Montreal, but the website claims membership in more than 26 countries and territories. Scroll through the website at the link. You will see a picture of John Paul II holding the hands of two unidentified women. One looks somewhat like Dr. Marilyn Rossner, Fr. John's wife, but at that angle it's difficult to tell for sure without knowing her. Scroll down a little farther for a picture of Fr. Rossner with the Dalai Lama.
Fr. Rossner has a most unusual hobby for an Anglican priest. Fr. Rossner is a medium. So is his wife. In fact, his wife, Dr. Marilyn Zwaig Rossner, founded her own institution, the Spiritual Science Fellowship (SSF), in 1977 which claims a membership of 8,000 persons. The IIIHS and the SSF have merged. You can see a picture of their Montreal headquarters here.
The SSF addresses wisdom traditions, reincarnation, spiritual and psychic sciences, out-of-body experiences, ancient gnosis, modern spiritualism, theosophy and new thought, and more. You can read through the list here.
The Rossners have their own college and seminary--the International College of Spiritual and Psychic Sciences. The college provides an independent study program which covers "Personal Spiritual & Psychic Development;" "East-West Spirituality and the Quest for Universal Human Values in the World's Religions & Cultures;" "New Paradigms for the Convergence of Science and Spirituality Emerging from New Sciences of Consciousness, Healing, and the Human Psyche;" and "Pastoral Studies in Therapeutic Counselling and Interfaith Ministry." This, too, is associated with the U.N.
The students' requirements include attending "all english services on Thursday and Sunday," attending "all psychic teas, Saturday evening circles, and special events," "attending all courses, workshops, and classes taught by all teachers," and attending "all Saturday and Sunday workshops." They note that "100% attendance of all services/teas & 85% of classes is required for ministry/college credit. 100% attendance required for pastoral skills, rites & rituals." (emphasis in the original)
The Rossners held a conference last May to mark the 30th Anniversary of the SSF-IIIHS. The speakers list was long. The International Conference I Schedule included Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and Elisabet Sahtouris from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
On the Conference II Schedule was Wendy Oke who speaks about her aunt, Alma Rumball's, automatic drawings, which are drawings that use the human hand guided by an unseen force. Click on the "Alma Art" link to see more of her drawings. (Interestingly, that website also offers a link to James Twyman and his Beloved Community where a variation of the enneagram is used, Indigo Children are showcased, and apparitions at Medjugorje are stressed. Twyman works with psychic Doreen Virtue.) This session with Wendy Oke included a workshop.
Raymond A. Moody is listed for the International College Week. So is The Very Rev. Fr. Antony Gabriel, Archpriest & Economos. The brief bio for this man states:
The Very Rev. Antony Gabriel, M.Div., S.T.M., Archpriest and Pastor of St. Georges Antiochian Orthodox Church, in Montreal, has been named to the rank of "Economos," the highest honour possible for an archpriest in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. He has also received numerous recognitions, in Quebec and Canada, for exemplary humanitarian service, rendered while undergoing his own struggle with cancer.
I'm still wondering what to make of his participation. Since this Archpriest pastors a church in Montreal, it is likely that he would be aware of what the Rossner's conference was about. Why did he take part?
The conference Addendum includes "Private Benefit Readings with visiting SSF Intuitives."
The 2004 Conference included Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake on the program.
Saturday Evening Spirit Circles at the SSF-IIIHS provide Clairvoyance, Psychometry, Spirit Messages, and Mediumship. The Thursday Psychic Teas include Spirit Communications, Mediums, Psychics, Spirit Messages, Clairvoyance, Divination.
On Monday you can choose to learn the Tarot or study A Course in Miracles, among other things.
Yoga, the Bible, Kabbalah, and the Heart Doctrine are all on Tuesday's menu.
For Shamanism and Meditation, show up on Wednesday.
Friday is the night for the spirit circle.
Sunday services are interfaith and given in English and French at the Days Inn.
The SSF-IIIHS provides a wedding service. Go to Dr. Marilyn Rossner for all of your Ecumenical and Interfaith Marriage needs. For Christian Catholic Weddings, see Sr. Leona Hartman. They are licensed and recognized by the Government of Quebec and the International Council of Community Churches.
In the section of the website devoted to the SSF, on webpage 2 where the activities of this organization are listed, you can find this entry:
Psychic Experiences in the Bible & Christianity: Mysticism & Psi in the lives of the Saints; Invocation of Saints & Angels; Marian Apparitions.(emphasis mine)
Her bio on the conference website tells us that Dr. Marilyn Rossner has written a book about Mother Mary:
This conference is organized by:
Dr. Marilyn Zwaig Rossner, M.A., Ph.D., Ed.D., Founder-President, SSF; Professor (ret.) of Special Care Counselling; award-winning Children’s Therapist; gifted & acclaimed Intuitive, Teacher, Counsellor & Interfaith Spiritual Leader, & Minister in the ICCC; Author of “Yoga, Psychotherapy & Children” (1983), and “Mother Mary is Speaking! Who is Listening?” (1996).
There is one more segment of the SSF-IIIHS website that I'm still working through and will blog when I've finished it--The Order of the Transfiguration, where Marian Apparitions play a central role.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
THE DIVINE CATHOLIC SPARK
I'm still wondering about today's homily. Father talked about all of us having a spark of the divine within us. It was the central theme of his homily and he repeated it several times. I don't recall ever hearing the phrase used in a Catholic setting before today. There is nothing in the index of the CCC about it. In fact, the only place I've heard anything about a divine spark is in Jewish mysticism.
In the teachings of Isaac Luria's Kabbalah, Jewish mystics believe they must help to reunite all of the scattered divine sparks so that the world can be whole again. It's explained better in this website of the son of Holocaust survivors. As he describes it, the divine spark will hardly fit into Catholic cosmology.
So I went looking for Divine Spark on the web. It appears to be a teaching of Orthodox America. There it would seem that the divine spark is merely a zeal for the teachings of God. That isn't what Father was talking about this morning. He was talking about something indwelling our being. Moving on...
In Islam the divine spark is called Taqwah. It amounts to proper fear of God and the ability to understand Him. That would be wisdom, I suppose. But Father wasn't talking about a virtue. He was talking about a thing.
This Spiritist website uses the phrase. I rather suspect that what they are referring to is a disembodied entity. Surely that isn't what Father had in mind, did he? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the soul of a man is not quite the same thing as channeling, is it? Oh, surely not!
The Gnostics use the phrase. (Scroll down to the sub-heading "The Human Being".) Here the divine spark is a piece of God.
This website tells me that the Elohim of Fire is a Friend of the Divine Spark. Since I'm not familiar with the Elohim of Fire, it's not a lot of help; and I'm pretty sure I don't want to learn who it is.
Father got rather close to saying that we are God, though he didn't say it. Neither did he indicate that God is "other". I suppose what he thought he was talking about is the soul. He could have said "soul" of course. But he said "divine spark," and he said it a lot, with no explanation, leaving us to interpret his comments for ourselves, it would seem. Interpreting today's homily is more puzzling because I know quite a bit about New Age. One had to fiddle with the meaning of this term in order to give it a Catholic concept, but it was not difficult to put it into an interreligious context, as I've just demonstrated.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
MINISTRY, MINISTRY EVERYWHERE...BUT NOT A PRIEST IN SIGHT
I've got stuff to do today and won't have time to blog, so while you're here, take a look at The Weight of Glory Blog sent in by a reader, where you can read:
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is a case study in the confusion of roles that is becoming more and more a part of the Church in the United States. In many cases, there seems to be an earnest effort to blur the distinctions between the ordained ministry / priesthood and the lay apostolate.
I remember the ecclesial PC-speech I encountered a decade ago in the seminary, in an environment in which lay people and seminarians studied side by side. I enjoyed having lay people in class with me. What I did not enjoy was the political environment that came along with it, fostered primarily by administrators and faculty, I would have to say. The lay students had a "commuter lounge" in the seminary administration building, and documents made the distinction not between lay students and seminarians, but between "commuter" and "resident" students. Please.
Faculty members in American seminaries may claim that this is a concern that belongs only to people with a hyper-clerical view of leadership in the Church. Some snicker at the mention of Vatican documents such as this one. But how do they explain the way that lay "pastoral directors" in Los Angeles understand themselves and their roles? If this isn't confusion, I don't know what is.