Saturday, November 12, 2005
DANCE AND PLAY WITH CTA
Thanks to a reader for the link.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Amy Welborn has linked this story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Steve Koleszar slipped out of his second-period class on a recent morning, pulled a blue blazer from his locker and buttoned his collar tight around his tie.
Thirty minutes later, the 17-year-old stood behind a hearse outside Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Cleveland, next to a casket that held a woman he had never met.
The widow Evelyn Klepac died at age 78, having outlived most of her friends and family.
Koleszar, with five of his St. Ignatius High School classmates, carried her casket into the funeral service and later bore it across a cemetery lawn to her grave, where they bowed their heads in prayer.
Then he went back to school, a bit changed by the experience.
"It's a little strange at first," said Koleszar, a member of a student group called the Pallbearer Society.
But the surviving family members are grateful, he said, and the simple act of service seems so right.
As an only child with only one child of my own, and that a girl; with no brothers or sisters; I've often wondered what will happen when the time comes to bury my husband or he to bury me. Considering the size of families today, this problem is going to be multiplied in many families. I'm sure these young men are providing a service far greater than they know.
BENEDICT SAYS "DON'T WATER DOWN THE TEACHING"
In an article at LifeSite sent in by a reader, Pope Benedict says we must not water down Catholic teaching for the false notion that it will keep people in the Church, because Catholic teaching presented incompletely leads to contradictions which fail to convince.
He goes on to pinpoint the hard questions of the present day concerning IVF and contraception, noting they have opened the doorway to acceptance of stem cell research, abortion and homosexuality.
With such a statement of commitment to the Tradition, it will be interesting to see how he proceeds with interreligious dialogue. The ideal is that he can find a convincing alternative to those who promote peace by stirring all of the world's religions into a single religious soup. A worldwide religion makes Christ just another deity. Pope Benedict will have to provide another way of looking at dialogue that does not compromise the authenticity of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. It's a tall order given the worldwide trend to use meditation/contemplation as promoted by Catholic monks to facilitate this syncretism in the name of peace. To waffle here will be to give the world the impression that we have turned away from Christ. This statement from Benedict 16 would seem to indicate that he will not tolerate spreading such a compromise.
CRAFTY LANGUAGE OF THOSE WHO WOULD DISTORT THE TRUTH
or taking "politically correct" to the next level.
A reader sent in an article by James K. Fitzpatrick which originally appeared in "The Wanderer" and is now available on the website at Catholic Exchange. Titled "Seminarians' IQs", Fitzpatrick dissects the language in which dissent from the teachings of the Church is deceptively couched as questioning dialogue. I've posted the link because something similar is going on in the centering prayer movement, and it's interesting to see how it at work.
MORE ACTIVITIES OF WAYNE TEASDALE
The Lighthouse Trails Research Project: Exposing the Dangers of Contemplative Spirituality has another article at their website titled "Interspirituality: The Results of Contemplative Prayer A Denial of the Cross." The Opening paragraphs of this article read:
While the majority of the Christian church has become seduced and mesmerized by Purpose-Driven, mysticism, the emerging church and so on, interspirituality is on the move. Evangelical leaders as well as New Age gurus and other religious leaders across the world are joining in this effort.[It was] Monk Wayne Teasdale who coined the term "interspirituality," The Community of Religions....
The common ground between them all? Contemplative Spirituality.
"The rise of community among cultures and religious traditions...makes possible what we call 'interspirituality': the assimilation of insights, values, and spiritual practices from the various religions and their application to one's own inner life and development."
"A 'highest common factor' links the world's religious traditions [through] 'the metaphysic that recognizes a divine reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds." - Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of the New Age Journal, As Above, So Below.
Those of you who are familiar with alchemy will recognize "As Above, So Below."
The Mystica, an "on-line encyclopedia of the occult, mysticism, magic, paranormal and more..." explains that phrase "As above, so below":
This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. "'That which is above is the same as that which is below'...Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as...and so on, ad infinitum."
This message theorizes that man is the counterpart of God on earth; as God is man's counterpart in heaven. Therefore, it is a statement of an ancient belief that man's actions on earth parallel the actions of God in heaven. This pivots on the belief that "all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation."
To the magician the magical act, that of causing a transformation in a thing or things without any physical contact, is accomplished by an imaginative act accompanied by the will that the wanted change will occur. The magical act and imaginative act becomes one and the same. The magician knows with certainty that for the change to occur he must will it to happen and firmly believe it will happen. Here it may be noted that magic and religion are akin: both require belief that a miracle will occur.
There is an important difference, however. The magician believes the "miracle" will occur at the insistence of his will. The Christian believes that the miracle will occur in conformity with the will of God, and at His bidding. The Christian does not attempt to control the world around him, but rather conforms his will to the will of the Almighty, unlike the magician who intends to bring about his own will. As Aleister Crowley put it, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
As the Catechism puts it:
CCC 2115: God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.
CCC 2117: All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others--even if this were for the sake of restoring their health--are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
The entry in the Mystica encyclopedia goes on to explain that a magician attempts to join God with the human consciousness, and when this sense of unison has occurred, the magician believes he has reached his Higher or True Self. Finally it states that Aleister Crowley believed that the extreme goal was direct union with God. It would appear that this "transformation" is the same thing as "awakening" which has become such a popular topic in mystical circles.
This explanation of "As above, so below" applies the word "mastery" to describe the state of the magician when he has reached his goal which is to attain "mastery of himself and the universe." Is this the meaning of the word in the "Mastery Foundation" of which Fr. Basil Pennington was Chairman? At the Mastery Foundation website it seems to be spelled out: "In Centering Prayer, a simple method passed on to us through an ancient, ever-living tradition, we learn to "let go and let God." We learn how to come into immediate contact with the Source of all energy, life, and love. Through the regular practice of Centering Prayer we come to be centered ourselves, to be an oasis of peace, to be a place where God's love shows up in this world of ours. We are transformed by frequent deep contact with transforming love. And our ministry is transformed."
The statement seems to pit two opposing views against each other. On the one hand "letting go and letting God" and on the other immediate contact with the Source as Crowley tells us the magician aims to accomplish.
It's spelled out a bit more clearly in another Mastery Foundation website. On this webpage the issue is empowerment--a kind of taking charge--not surrender to the will of He who is always Other. Also on this webpage you can clearly see the involvement of EST founder Werner Erhard, and you can read: "In 1983, Werner accepted the request of the newly formed Mastery Foundation to consult in the creation of a transformational program for those who minister and serve others. The Mastery Foundation is not about surrender to God. The Mastery Foundation is about empowerment. One of their logos at the top of this website is a link to "Community Empowerment."
Werner Erhard had a small problem with L. Ron Hubbard's Scientologists. It seems that the Scientologists believe Erhard stole their method and they were angry at not getting a cut of Erhard's success. You can read the story at this website where you will find a reprint from a Los Angeles Times article.
Hubbard, himself, has an interesting background as well. In a story titled "L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's esteemed founder," Michael Crowley tells his history. This passage from the account is pertinent:
Hubbard was born in 1911 in Tilden, Neb. After flunking out of George Washington University, he became a pulp science-fiction and adventure writer. In the mid-1940s, he fell in with John Parsons, a wealthy and brilliant young rocket scientist in California, who also happened to be under the tutelage of the infamous satanist Aleister Crowley (no relation to yours truly, thankfully). According to Russell Miller's damning biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, Parsons was a science-fiction fan who briefly hosted Hubbard at his Pasadena, Calif., mansion, which featured a domed backyard temple and a rotating cast of occultists and eccentrics. Parsons described Hubbard as his "magical partner," and together the men engaged in a rite in which Parsons tried to impregnate with an antichrist child a woman he considered the whore of Babylon, a goal that Crowley had long promoted. With Rachmaninoff's "Isle of the Dead" playing in the background, Hubbard allegedly chanted spells over the copulating couple, according to Miller and others. (Ultimately Hubbard would steal Parsons' girlfriend and allegedly bilk him in a Miami yacht venture.) Years later, when Hubbard had grown famous and realized the antichrist episode didn't comport with his image as a man of culture and wisdom, he would reportedly claim to have been working on an undercover mission for U.S. Naval Intelligence to investigate black magic.
James Webb also recounts this story on pp 504-506 of THE OCCULT ESTABLISHMENT. It would seem that Basil Pennington's and Wayne Teasdale's sources of theology might raise some eyebrows.
Professional Astrologer Carol Willis offers a pertinent comment in her "Transformational Astrology Series: URANUS":
In spiritually oriented
therapy, it is never certain exactly when the life energy
will release and fountain or flow, but it always does, in
its own right timing. There will always be things in life
that we cannot control exactly, but if we create an
appropriate context for them in which to "show up," as
Werner Erhard used to say, then we will stand witness to our
desired manifestation as it emerges seemingly magically but
is in fact "an idea whose time has come."
Curiously, she also offers a long list of Biblical quotations in the article to illustrate her points.
Teasdale has an association with another unlikely book, THE RAINBOW BRIDGE: UNIVERSAL BOOK OF LIVING, DYING & DREAMING, by Brent N. Hunter. Teasdale has written an endorsement. Other New Agers endorsing the book include Jean Houston, Elisabet Sahtouris, and Neal Donald Walsh. Teasdale wrote:
"Diversity in religion, spirituality and culture is an unqualified good for humanity. Ghandi said in his time that 'The friendly study of other religions is the sacred duty of each one of us'. Now more than ever we need to become experts of the major traditions of spirituality and religion. To do so will allow our collective understanding to see the common ground we all stand on in our various faiths. Brent Hunter is a person with a mission to spread the acceptance of pluralism around the world. His book, The Rainbow Bridge, is a gem reflecting rays of wisdom from all the traditions of the religions, pointing to the common ground among us. We must learn to be comfortable on this bridge because it is our future."
Ghandi said it is our sacred duty to study other religions. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life." There is no mention of Jesus in this endorsement, however. Whom did Teasdale serve?
Today Teasdale's poison bequeathed to his followers has become the novel new prayer and retreat methodology for the Roman Catholic Church. The goal of the Paris Occult Revival has become the new spirituality. The fear of Pope Leo XIII that prompted him to write the Prayer to St. Michael has become a reality sold as world peace and brotherhood.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
JOSEPH'S LATEST ARTICLE
in the Jerusalem Post is online here.
BRO. WAYNE TEASDALE AND COMMON GROUND
The website for InterSpiritual Dialogue Calendar and Events Reports includes an entry for September 9-11, 2005. This event will honor Bro. Wayne Teasdale, and will be held at Omega at the Crossings in Austin Texas, an outgrowth of the Omega Institute.
Father Thomas Ryan is also on the calendar for December 1-4, 2005.
The Common Ground website is offering "The Wayne Teasdale Memorial Lectures". The description for this series says:
CG regulars miss Wayne Teasdale, whose untimely death a year ago cost us one of our dearest friends and most beloved resource persons.
The About page in the Common Ground website says that
Our primary concern is the human quest for understanding and the human pursuit of significance. While our endeavor began with the study of world religions and the commitment to inter-faith dialogue, our range of programs offerings has been greatly expanded over the past several years.
That is something of a understatement if this is an organization following the leadership of a Catholic monk. One of the programs is titled "Biblical Errancy: Why the Gospels aren't the Gospel Truth." It's a six part series. The description for session one reads in part:
The gospels are not "gospel truth". If they are understood as giving us actual transcripts of Jesus's teachings, then there is no way to move beyond a "Jesus" who is patriarchal and anti-Semitic. The issue of errancy vs. inerrancy lies at the heart of virtually every serious theological discussion taking place in our world today.
Common Ground has eight locations spread around the country. The Chicago center offers a lecture titled "Sex and Spirituality." This is the description:
Most of our major sacred traditions arose in a time of patriarchy when women and sexuality were relegated to procreational roles. Males were the desired offspring and female infanticide was not uncommon. Homosexuality played no useful role in this reproductive model. All of our religions are undergoing profound change today and a re-visioning of the role of sex, gender, and reproduction is in order. Brian McNaught worked for some fifteen years with a program integrating sex and spirituality and his novel, Sex Camp, provides a distillation of the wisdom of that experience. These insights will guide us in our discussion of issues that lie at the heart of some very heated religious conversations in our contemporary world.
The People of Common Ground include:
Sr. Georgene Wilson - Regular CG faculty; D.Min., St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein; a Franciscan sister living as a neighborhood anchoress (a contemplative solitude minister); author of several books on spirituality and service.
Mr. Robert McClory - MA, Journalism, Northwestern; STL, Theology, St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein; Professor Emeritus, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern; author of several books, including Faithful Dissenters: Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church.
On the webpage titled "Common Ground Is..." they state that they are a "non-proselytizing community", "A place to explore one's own spirituality", and a place for "Discovering the genius of each of the world's religions."
Their commitment to non-prosetylization is explained further in an article by Jim Kenney titled "The Sacred Wheel" in which he explains that the world's religions are like the multiple spokes on a wheel. "As we move deeper into our respective traditions--as we move down our spokes--suddenly, it's clear that our paths are convergent; they share a common center."
This is the trend in interreligious dialogue represented by the interreligious dialogue of the Catholic monks. Where does Jesus Christ fit into this picture?
Wayne Teasdale has authored a chapter of Dave Fleming's book THE SEEKER'S WAY: CULTIVATING THE LONGINGS OF A SPIRITUAL LIFE. The other authors include Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (where the labyrinth project originated); Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar; and Joan Chittister, dissident Benedictine nun. Fr. Richard Rohr has endorsed the book.
Many websites--most of them Protestant--place Dave Fleming in the category of post-modern religion and the emerging church concept. This is just one of them.
Another page in the website discusses the emerging church and contemplative spirituality.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
The Niskor Project provides this description:
Description of Ad Hominem
Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."
An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form:
Person A makes claim X.
Person B makes an attack on person A.
Therefore A's claim is false.
The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made).
Example of Ad Hominem
Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."
This is my blog, and I understand this to be the accurate description of ad hominem.
If commentors wish to discuss the subject I bring up, I welcome the discussion. If commentors wish to discuss me, their comments are not welcome. I have the ability to block a commentor and to delete comments. It is a nuisance to do that, but if the ad hominem persists, I will resort to it.
I am out of patience with what is happening in the comments boxes. I'm not going to name names, but you know who you are. A statement that discusses me is ad hominem. (Example: Carrie has become a Protestant.) A statement that discusses another commenter is ad hominem. (Example: Anonymous, or John, or RBA is no longer Catholic.) Either deal with the ideas presented of refrain from comment.
RABBI JOSEPH GELBERMAN, BRO. WAYNE TEASDALE, AND INTERSPIRITUAL DIALOGUE
In yesterday's blog, Rabbi Joseph Gelberman had taken us from the Conference of Fr. John Rossner's International Institute of Integral Human Science, with its Spiritualist associations, to his interfaith seminary, to the InterSpiritual Dialogue organization in which he is part of the Collaborative Circle. If you scroll down about a third of the way at that link you will find his bio. Above Rabbi Gelberman's bio is the bio of Bro. Wayne Teasdale, a Roman Catholic monk who is credited with being the "grandfather of InterSpiritual Dialogue".
The website is large. InterSpiritual Dialogue is a network that "has been developing in the New York City area...motivated by the vision of...Wayne Teasdale in his book THE MYSTIC HEART: FINDING A UNIVERSAL SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS" according to the website. "Bro. Wayne predicted that a deep dialogue would emerge in this millennium between the contemplatives of many religious traditions" out of which they would develop "unitive consciousness" or a "deep, common, contemplative understanding."
The organization claims that they are "not a homogenization of long and complex histories into any common mold" and they recognize that "all individual traditions are deep and complex, and that they have long and rich histories, both in holiness and symbol. These must be respected and honored in their entirety...One cannot call oneself a Sufi if one has not truly gone the Sufi way etc."
Certainly that sounds right. But then what is one to make of the 2004 InterSpiritual Ceremony for Peace which took place September 21, 2004 at Union Theological Seminary in New York? The ceremony is detailed half way down this webpage. You have to read the whole thing to really get the flavor of it. It includes blessing Dead Sea salted water, lighting candles, processing in contemplation, singing a "Kyrie Elieson" followed by an Islamic chant in praise to Allah, along with ecstatic improvisation of flowing water.
These people were able to "gather together and experience [their] intrinsic and ultimate unity." All well and good for peace, perhaps, but what would the Trinitarian God think of a believer chanting a praise of Allah?
There is a short note on this webpage about Bob Trabold, a founding member and Friend of ISD who is moderator of InterSpiritual Dialogue's frequently held "Quiet Get-Togethers" and a practitioner in the spirit and tradition of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. It does not indicate that Trabold is Catholic.
There is also a segment on "Bro. Wayne Teasdale on InterSpiritual Dialogue" which lists the new emerging understanding which recognizes "A deep, evolving experience of community between and among the religions through their individual members", and "the growing receptivity to the inner treasures of the world's religions."
There are pictures on Page 4 in the website from the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions which are credited to Fr. Terry Gallagher of the Scarboro Mission (Canadian Maryknoll Fathers).
About half way down on Page 5 in the website there is a section from "A Course in Miracles" where a segment of the Teachers Manual of ACIM is quoted. This same page has a brief mention of "ISD Counselors at Omega Institute (Rheinbeck)." Annette Knopp hosted a weekend retreat on Advaitic practice at the Omega Institute.
At the bottom of Page 7 in the website some "Interspiritual Dialogue Links" are offered which include http://www.onespiritinterfaith.org/., another interfaith seminary.
The Calendar and Events Reports on Page 4 talks about "Common Ground", "a tribute event to Brother Wayne Teasdale and further discussion of the further [sic] of his vision of interspirituality and interspiritual dialogue. Sept. 9-11, 2005 at Omega at the Crossings, Austin, Texas." The link is provided, as is a description of the event. Among the featured presenters was Father Thomas Keating.
The Omega Institute is a notoriously New Age institution. Why are Catholic monks working with it?
Father Thomas Ryan, who directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in New York City also works with The Crossings in Austin. He will present a workshop titled "Prayer of Heart and Body" December 1-4, 2005. This workshop will feature meditation and yoga taught in a context of Christian faith and used as prayer. Father Ryan intends these practices to make the practitioner "calm, relaxed and centered" and to provide a way to encounter God in inner quietude.
The Omega Institute website indicates that
After thoughtful consideration, it has been decided that Omega Institute and The Crossings operate as individually-run organizations.
The two organizations are exploring the possibility of collaborative efforts for future conferences and special events.
When they collaborate, here is some of what they will be collaborating with:
A Course in Miracles and the Gospel of Thomas
Cocreating your own reality
Sensual and ecstatic dancing with dieties
What you won't find is the Trinitarian God presented in a Christian context. Omega is not about Christianity unless it is of the esoteric kind, and it is not about Roman Catholicism.
But perhaps that should come as no surprise considering another of Father Keating's venues, Naropa University. Naropa also offers Matthew Fox's Creation Spirituality. He is pictured here along with the course description.
Common Ground is another of Father Keating's pursuits. Omega at the Crossings presented a Common Ground workshop "An Experience of InterSpiritual Activism" described this way:
Join us at this third gathering of Common Ground, where we will co-create an inter-faith community through shared ritual, group creative process, guided experiential practices, and dialogues of discovery. Together we will explore structures, methods, and principles for InterSpiritual activism, so that we may move the work of world peace forward as a cohesive unit."Transitioned"? He means died.
This meeting will also be a tribute to Brother Wayne Teasdale, who inspired and guided the founding of both InterSpiritual Dialogue (ISD) and Common Ground, and who transitioned last year. Some of Brother Wayne's core teachings will be illuminated through experiential meditation and contemplation.
Bro. Wayne Teasdale was on the program for the second annual Common Ground gathering, "Discovering Community Among Spiritual Traditions" described this way:
This emerging effort is called interspirituality. It celebrates the multiplicity of human spiritual traditions as an indication of the infinite creativity of God. It encourages everyone in every spiritual tradition to learn from one another. Yet, interspirituality is founded upon the idea that we all come from the same source, and the mystical approach to each religion brings us to this realization. A mystical experience, says Wayne Teasdale, is a "direct experience of Ultimate Reality, however you may perceive it." A direct experience of Ultimate Reality reveals the indisputable aspects of it.
If you want syncretism...if you want indifference...you can't get a better program to foster it than this!
These monks have abandoned Christ, yet everywhere they go, at every workshop they give they are presented as Roman Catholics. They represent us. Is anyone stopping them? Have warnings been issued from the CDF? If they have, I haven't seen them.
Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is a leading voice for the Catholic Church on dialogue worldwide. It looks to the leadership of Thomas Merton and his relationship with Buddhist monks as the model for procedure. Bro. Wayne Teasdale defines what interreligious dialogue means in an article from Conscious Choice, November 1998, titled "Bridging the Infinite: Christians and Buddhists in Conversation":
If Christianity can be taken as representative of all theistic traditions, and it is related creatively and fruitfully with Buddhism, a non-theistic religion, and somehow their differences can be reconciled, then all the faiths can similarly be brought into harmony....
If this is to happen, however, the conversation or dialogue has to be among equals. Dialogue presupposes genuine equality, with no hidden agendas operative below the surface, or behind the scenes. The old exclusivity of Christians, especially Catholics, and the unacknowledged spiritual imperialism of some Western Buddhists, must give way to a symbiotic understanding that transcends the dominance of one over the other.
What additional indication is necessary? Monastic interreligious dialogue led by Bro. Wayne Teasdale assumes that all parties at the dialogue table are equal, and the Catholic belief in the exclusivity of Jesus Christ and ultimate truth must be rejected. At the dialogue table Jesus Christ is just another deity.
Now we know where these monks are coming from. But how will Pope Benedict see it? One of the first statements after his election was an affirmation that interreligious dialogue will continue. Bro. Wayne tells us what he has said in the past in the Conscious Choice article:
To be fair, it isn’t just these new Buddhists who have the secret agenda. There are those who regard Buddhism with suspicion, and even contempt. There is the example of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department that ensures orthodoxy is maintained. He granted an interview to the French weekly L’Express more than a year ago, and in "off the cuff" remarks, stated that Buddhism was "spiritual, mental autoeroticism," or mental masturbation! He went on to quote an unnamed writer who had said in the 1950s that Buddhism would be the undoing of the Catholic church. Vatican officials are not in the habit of making such "off the cuff" statements unless they are calculated for publication. The views that he expressed seem to emanate from fear and ignorance, not from any genuine understanding. They certainly do not promote mutual respect and trust. They reveal a fear of an intellectual challenge from Buddhism itself in some officials of the Holy See, perhaps even including the Pontiff himself.
Cardinal Ratzinger spoke as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His job was to preserve it. Today he has a new job. As Pope Benedict, he has committed himself to dialogue. How is he going to maintain his position on Buddhism reflected in that statement while at the same time bring Buddhists to the dialogue table?
Bro. Wayne is correct is saying that at the dialogue table all are equal. Cardinal Ratzinger said the same thing in TRUTH AND TOLERANCE:
It has become the very epitome of the relativist credo, the concept opposed to that of "conversion" and mission: dialogue in the relativist sense means setting one's own position or belief on the same level with what the other person believes, ascribing to it, on principle, no more of the truth than to the position of the other person. Only if my fundamental presupposition is that the other person may be just as much in the right as I am, or even more so, can any dialogue take place at all.(p. 120)
Bro. Wayne and Cardinal Ratzinger agree. We see what Bro. Wayne has done with this belief. We are still waiting to see what Pope Benedict, who has indicated he is committed to dialogue, is going to do with it.
Can the exclusivity of Christ be held while at the same time Catholics assume the equality necessary for dialogue to continue? If they can, then they are subscribing to pluriform truth, the ultimate expression of relativism.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
We need to remember that. When strange ideas are put forth supported by unity in diversity and interreligious dialogue, some people are going to believe them. This book represents some of the strangest ideas I've seen yet in the realm of interfaith dialogue.
David M. Sherman E.O.H.N. has reviewed the book GOD/GODDESS - THE ASTROLOGER by Jeffrey Armstrong. His review can be read on Armstrong's website. The review demonstrates where interreligious dialogue goes when there are no restraints. Armstrong is attempting to convince his readers that Christianity, Judaism, and Eastern religions all believe in astrology, reincarnation, and karma. He has managed to convince himself that somewhere in the distant past of Christianity this was so. He even quotes Fr. Peter Stravinskas from an article in "The Catholic Answer" (Vol. 15, no. 1, page 19) in which he says Fr. Stravinskas wrote:
The Church, on the other hand, has never had a completely negative assessment of astrology, even coming up with the Latin adage, "Astra impellunt, non compellunt" ("The stars impel, they do not compel!") - that is, to assert some influence of the stars on human character and/or behavior is not necessarily problematic from the Christian point of view, so long as one does not regard that influence as determinative of human actions in a fatalistic sense."
"This condition", Sherman assures us "is certainly met by a proper understanding of 'Vedic Astrology' as reflected throughout Mr. Armstrong's book."
What does Sherman propose we do about this commonality between East and West?
...Our entire Christian world-view of religious history needs to be scrapped, and we need to start-over[sic] with a non-ethnocentric view of history, which includes the Eastern Bhakti Traditions, in the same kind of 'fraternal' dialogue, we currently enjoy with Judaism. Every work like Mr. Armstrong's, that increases our understanding of The Eastern Bhakti Traditions in relationship to these thorny interfaith issues, is an important contribution to dialogue.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
THE ALL-FAITHS SEMINARY
Among the names listed as participants in the 2005 Conference, "At The Dawn Of A New Light," of Fr. John Rossner's International Institute of Integral Human Science is Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Ph.D.
Rabbi Gelberman was also listed on the Summer 2005 program of The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp. He was scheduled for September 19-24. The brief bio. at this website indicates "Rabbi Gelberman is a master-teacher in the tradition of neo-hasidic mysticism and kabbalah, and founder of the New Synagogue and the All Faiths Seminary International in New York.
The All-Faiths Seminary International website indicates that the motto for the organization is "Never Instead, Always in Addition," and shows symbols for the Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, ACIM, Hinduism, Islamic, Judaic, Mystery Shamanism, Sufism, Taoism, and Wicca faiths, which it says are "but a few of the faiths studied at the school." It's interesting to note that the symbol for "Mystery" religion is the Masonic square and compass.
At this seminary the student is provided "the key to unlock the doors of all religions" according to Rabbi Gelberman. "All religious and spiritual healing practices are taught by experienced practitioners of the particular modality within the interfaith context.
On another page in the website the six guiding principles are listed:
1. the truth in all faiths and religious paths
2. belief that seeking attunement to Spirit is the highest goal of conscious living
3. an inclusive vision of "we."
4. the essential goodness of the human being
5. each person, indeed all life, is a part of the healing of the world
6. the value of Interfaith interactions as enriching our awareness of Spirit in the world
Rabbi Gelberman has been training interfaith ministers since 1971 when he founded the New Seminary in New York City, a seminary which he says was the first of its kind in the world. He began the All-Faiths Seminary International in 1998. Fr. John Rossner is Chancellor of All-Faiths Seminary International.
It's difficult to decipher what exactly they are promoting. According to the Philosophy and Purpose webpage, the seminary is "modeled on the ancient schools of wisdom" where training is imparted through "personal association" and is intended for those who "feel a calling to ministry but who do not feel that the doctrinal focus" of more conventional seminaries is right for them. They hope to produce a "spiritual practitioner" rather than a "functionary", though that is hardly descriptive of a difference in objective.
Students are expected to learn to "lead worship services and other group activities or act as a spiritual counselor in private practice." They see their graduates as having Living Room Ministries, hospital and prison chaplaincies, and interfaith service project leaders.
How would you feel about being seriously sick in the hospital and being visited by a chaplain who was equally adept at leading a Wiccan service as he was a Christian one, and who had probably done both?
The description of the emblem used to represent this seminary is striking. The palm tree represents an oasis for people lost in the desert. The four leaves represent the four parts of the body in pairs: "two feet, two arms, two ears, and two eyes. The single leaf in the center represents the single parts of our body: the mind, the heart, the mouth, and the sex organ." The last one is intended to be "used in collaboration with the spirit". The circles below the palm tree represent the three Abrahamic religions.
At the end of the description of the emblem Rabbi Gelberman attempts but fails to reassert the Judaic belief, saying "no matter what faith we practice, or by what name we call God, God is One."
There are related organizations, including The New Synagogue, The Interfaith Temple, and The Rabbinical Fellowship International. The Rabbinical Seminary International is a "Modern Rabbi Program." Graduates of this seminary are intended to teach the Divine Wisdom and offer Spiritual Guidance to the Jewish community and the general community as well.
How exactly the "Modern Rabbi" differs from the Rabbi is hard to say. According to the webpage "Along with traditionally ordained rabbis, cantors, and educators, there is a need and place for the Modern Rabbi to offer his or her own contribution toward the spiritual renewal of the human community."
Clearly this Modern Rabbi is up to something the traditional Rabbi is not doing. Considering that Fr. John Rossner, who is a medium, is closely associated with Rabbi Gelberman who is President of this Rabbinical Seminary International, could that something different be channeling?
Interesting that the word "renewal" appears in the website considering the trouble that renewal has brought to the Roman Catholic Church through Call to Action.
The Lakeshore Interfaith Institute is another organization which Rabbi Joseph Gelberman founded. According to their website, this group believes that "Interfaith is an expression of spiritual concern and love that serves as a bridge for members of all religions and spiritual teachings to reach out in understanding and communion with each other." What does that mean? Does it mean that on the human level we can all treat each other with love and respect as the Gospel teaches us, or does it mean that we can all treat each other's religion as a channel of truth different but equal? The institute says that it "believes in the validity of all religions as paths to Truth."
How does a Catholic engage in interfaith dialogue with an institution that believes all religions are valid paths to Truth?
According to Joyce L. Gioia, who provides a multifaith wedding service and who attended Rabbi Gelberman's "The New Seminary": "On the Board of Directors of The New Seminary are a Reform Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, a former Roman Catholic priest....
Rabbi Gelberman was a participant in InterSpiritual Dialogue, an outgrowth of Catholic Contemplative Monk Bro. Wayne Teasdale's book THE MYSTIC HEART: FINDING A UNIVERSAL SPIRITUALITY IN THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS. Bro. Wayne Teasdale was a member of the Board of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.
Monday, November 07, 2005
THE ZIGGURAT AND THE TOWER OF BABEL
There are pictures here of ziggurats, the temples of Babylonian gods, which are thought to be the prototype of the Tower of Babel.
JOHN PAUL II MAY HAVE BEEN JEWISH
A MANCHESTER historian has claimed that Pope John Paul II was Jewish.
Yaakov Wise says his study into the the maternal ancestry of Karol Josez Wojtyla (John Paul II's real name) has revealed startling conclusions.
Mr Wise, a researcher in orthodox Jewish history and philosophy, said the late Pope's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all probably Jewish and came from a small town not far from Krakow.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.
MUCH MORE ON LUISA PICCARRETA AND THE DIVINE WILL
can be read here. Talk about controversial!
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.
ARCHBISHOP LEVADA ON RELIGION VS. SPIRITUALITY
from an interview at Zenit:
Q: We often hear, especially in the Western world, that people now say that they are spiritual, not religious. When describing the difference between the two, they often use the word doctrine, and when they do so, they don't use it in a positive way. It tends to have many negative connotations. Why is that?
Archbishop Levada: Let me say in general, you raise the question as one that is a phenomenon that we look at the idea of spiritual versus the religious.
Let's take cannibalism, for example. What is the spirituality of cannibalism? I would say eating is the doctrine. But is there really a spirituality of it and is it a good one? In other words, is every spirituality a spirituality of good?
You know today is Halloween; there are people who embrace a spirituality whose doctrine is witchcraft. They want to get in touch with a spiritual side, but our tradition tells us that there are good spirits and evil spirits. There is good and bad in the spiritual as well as in the human corporeal realm, so spirituality without doctrine is an amorphous spirituality that can be anything I want to make it.
People want to break out of what they consider are constraints and limits of those religions. So they say: "I am spiritual, not religious." But in effect a real spirituality has to involve religion because religion is about how you order your human life vis-à-vis God. […] There is a kind of popular sense in saying, "Oh well, I am trying to find something that is helping me to be better" -- that's spirituality.
But religion means that you are face to face with some options that you have to make about whether there is a God and what that God may be asking and what kind of relationship he wants to have with you, his creature.
There is a whole sense in which modern man is saying, "I don't want to be a creature." Religion is always going to involve a concrete challenge to us in terms of our relationship to God.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.
THE GREAT ATLANTA 2005 YOUTH RALLYMASS
Is this the only way we can bring them in?
Florida Catholic reports:
Thousands of Catholic teenagers, many wearing T-shirts with slogans such as "Discover Jesus" and "i pray," sprinted through stadium aisles Oct. 29 to claim front-row seats — not for a football game, hockey game or concert, but for Mass.
More than 16,500 teens from across the United States gathered at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to conclude the 2005 National Catholic Youth Conference.
The Oct. 27-29 event, packed with guest speakers, workshops and presentations to enrich their faith, allowed young Catholics to experience with their peers the diversity and support of the broader church community.
The closing liturgy really "brought the Mass to life," said Rebecca Schmitt, 16, from the Diocese of Belleville, Ill. "There was so much energy, even in the quiet moments."
Youths waved colorful kites on long poles, liturgical dancers filled the air with incense and the conference's youth choir sang "Come Holy Spirit, send down your fire," as more than 120 priests and deacons and 15 bishops, including the main celebrant, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, entered.
What got pictured on the Florida Catholic website? Not a priest saying Mass. Not the setting of altar and crucifix. What got pictured is two liturgical dancers. This is not compatible with the decision in Rome that in the United States liturgical dancers are inappropriate for liturgy. But apparently the bishops present didn't care.
Bishop Wilton Gregory told the young people that "Part of parents' jobs is to help us mature in ways that will guarantee our happiness as adults...Part of a young person's responsibility is to remind parents that you are already making good progress in growing up maybe faster than a parent might notice!"
It sounds like permission to disobey, especially since it was delivered in an atmosphere of disobedience.
The whole thing sounded a lot more like a rock concert than a Mass. Young people like rock concerts, and I'm a proponent of letting them have rock music so long as the lyrics support the values we would like them to adopt. But why was the rock concert part of Mass? Why didn't they just have a rock concert after Mass where all the flags and dancers and hoopla would have been appropriate? Why was it incorporated? How was the cause of reverence and spirituality served by this rallymass?
The event triggered an emotional response in some of the attendees. One "animator" is quoted making a statement while wiping away tears, that "it was 'an awesome privilege' to perform before so many of her Catholic peers."
"Perform." That is really what this was--a performance Mass. Not liturgy, but rather spectacle, using apparently what is now the latest lay ministerial role the "animator," whatever an animator is. It used to be the word describing the creator of cartoons. Certainly the last song sung at this gala, "Winds of Change," could not have been more appropriate. This resembled Matthew Fox's Rave Mass in far too many ways. It's interesting that a choir from Taize was part of the mix.
According to the article a good message was conveyed--wait for sex until marriage. There was Eucharistic adoration. Maybe the musical mix of a Life Teen band that led praying of the rosary was not too outrageous--maybe. What took place in Peachtree Corners that "allowed teens to explore different aspects of their mind, body and spirit?" Teenagers exploring body in mixed company?
The last sentence in the article read: "To me, (the conference showed) "that there are so many youth interested in the church"...."They're ready for leadership in helping the poor and fighting for justice." Is that, in the final analysis, what this rally was all about, the social gospel? No wonder God got lost.
WHERE IS THIS CARDINAL GOING WITH THIS NOTION?
The Vatican today warned Catholics that if they do not listen to the contentions of modern science – regarding the origin of life and other issues – they risk falling prey to "fundamentalism."
Cardinal Paul Poupard made the comments at a press conference pushing a Vatican project to try to create more mutual respect between science and religion, the Associated Press reported. Poupard heads the Pontifical Council for Culture.
He also speaks about Galileo in the article and the mistake that was made by the Church at the time of Copernicus's discovery.
If religion and science is to be combined, are we going to start to consider the claims of the paranormalists about religion and science? Are we going to take up Rudolf Steiner's "spiritual-science" concepts of the spirit world? Something is up in Rome that isn't being said, but is certainly being hinted at.
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
Some good stuff has turned up in the current issues of several of the magazines I subscribe to.
First is Lee Penn's article on Opus Dei in "SCP Journal". His investigation turned up a lot about the organization. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, however. At the end of his article "End of Part I" appears, so perhaps he will be answering those questions in Part II. If the kind of stuff I write about in here is the kind of stuff that interests you, you'd like SCP Journal. The Spiritual Counterfeits Project is Christian, though not Catholic, but they think like a Catholic. Lee is a regular contributor.
An article by Anne Morse in "Crisis" titled "Society At Sea: A Reflection on Civility" was a good read. She talks about the kind of manners and concern not to be offensive to others that we used to believe in, and the sad descent into barbarian indifference that we witness today.
I liked as well Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s article in "Crisis" titled "How Secularists Ignore the Value of Religion". He points to the rising trend of the "emerging church" movement that dispenses with dogma and doctrine, and the growing claim that religion causes unrest and war. To those who propose post-denominationalism he says: "This kind of milquetoast Christianity--in addition to being, quite frankly, a betrayal of Christ--will not satisfy the secularists' anti-religious fatwa any more than constitutional priests' initial concessions to the revolutionary regime spared them from an eventual death sentence during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror." Just finding a Woods' article in "Crisis" was a pleasant surprise all by itself. I would not have expected it.
Then there was the editorial in "New Oxford Review" titled "An Ancient Structure To Beckon Gods," a reflection on the changes at "America" and a criticism of the practice of walking the labyrinth. NOR used Lee's book, quoting his comments on the association of the labyrinth movement with Jean Houston's mystery school, to demonstrate what is wrong with it. Lee's efforts are beginning to bear fruit. It's good to learn that Catholic journalistic leadership is paying attention.
There's also a good NOR article by Mitchell Kalpakgian titled "Financial Success, But At What Price?" that contrasts the Protestant ethic with Catholic ethics that value rest and leisure pursuits, and not just making money.
I'm not the only one raising red flags about the state of affairs in Catholic monasteries. Here is another website saying the same thing:
Trappist Monastery: Center of Dissent?
The Glastonbury Abbey in Higham, MA has a booklist ripe for trouble. Pennington, Keating, Chittister, Laurence Freeman, William Meninger, John Main--this nun and all of these priests are (or were) active in the centering prayer/John Main Seminar movements.
Both of these facilities turned up on the Bettnet list of retreat locations as places not to go for retreat.
METEOR SHOWER OR UFO
Whatever it is, this story on Yahoo News is the kind of story that always brings to mind the prophecy from the approved apparition of Akita, Japan that predicts fire falling from the sky:
BERLIN (Reuters) - Numerous sightings of massive fireballs in the skies over Germany this week have led to an upsurge in reports of UFOs, but scientists believe the cause could be a bizarre annual meteor blitz.
According to the Web site of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), such fireballs have been reported elsewhere in the world and may also be due to the fact that the Earth is now orbiting through a swarm of space debris.
Many people in Germany have noticed the fireballs, said Werner Walter, an amateur astronomer in Mannheim who runs a Web site on unexplained astronomical phenomena and a hotline for reports on unidentified flying objects (UFO).
Sunday, November 06, 2005
We tried a different church today--one downtown--an old one. One that looks like a church instead of someone's idea of what a gathering space should look like. The vigil lights in front of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin were lit, and the tabernacle was on the old altar against the wall in the sanctuary...a wall that had a crucifix on it. Thankfully Mass held few surprises, the main one being the infamous "Introduce yourself to your neighbor" before the prayers began. Everyone stood before communion, and a lot of people knelt after, but not all. The acoustics were horrible. When father talked from the pulpit, I could understand only about every third sentence, if that. Fortunately he moved to the center of the sanctuary for the homily because it was a good one.
He talked about the need to have a purpose to life, mentioning the title of the book THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE in the process, and telling an anecdote that ended with the object of life being getting to heaven and taking as many people as possible along with you. That's really what living is about for a Catholic, even though we get sidetracked with the goals the world offers.
He mentioned something else, an ethical will, which he said was a Jewish custom that is taken seriously. As he explained it this is a document drawn up not only for the purpose of leaving some wisdom for the next of kin, but also for the purpose of keeping the writer on track, aiming for the right things. It might be a valuable custom to adopt. Along with the material assets, it would be a good thing to leave a written record for the kids of what their parents found to be most important. And of course the process of deciding what to put in this spiritual legacy would be a motivator for making sure they have a memory of their parents actions matching their parent's written word.
Of course, there is that "parental" element that may be part of the motivation to write. It's never easy to stop parenting. No matter how old they get, we are still just as much older as we were the day they were born; and we want them not to forget it. Giving voice to this desire is a perscription for trouble. There is nothing that will drive a grown kid away faster than parenting when the job is finished. Which leads me to the reason I was in that church this morning.
My daughter has been telling me that she likes it. I wanted to see what she likes. Now the question is do I tell her that I was there and she wasn't, or not? I think that silence on this one is going to be the better part of wisdom.
One of the assets of living in Ohio is the fall leaf color which can be truly spectacular when at its peak. Even as they come down, dancing in the breeze, and swirling in little hurricanes of yellow, brown, and red, they are beautiful. A walk in the woods in October or November, crunching those leaves underfoot and kicking them out of the way, is one of life's little pleasures. But there is a price to pay for all that enjoyment, especially when you live with a lot of trees for company.
In days gone by, the leaves were raked up and burned, after the children were finished jumping in them. The smell of burning leaves lingers pleasantly in my memory still. But then came the burning bans that brought with them the bagging chore. As everyone became more and more busy, the leaf pick-up service was invented.
For those of you who don't live with autumn leaves, the way it works is that most communities in the suburbs provide the service in the form of a truck with a large vacuum that sucks up the leaves from the devil strip and hauls them to a place where they are composted. For about six weeks in the fall, cleaning up the yard takes priority. On my street, leaf pick-up occurs early Monday morning every other week. That means that the leaves must be hauled to the curb some time over the weekend. Yesterday afternoon was the time to haul them at our house. My husband and I worked until dark and got the yard relatively leaf free. The entire devil strip was filled with leaves, and we finished feeling good about the job we had accomplished. The same thing was going on in other yards up and down the street.
Last night a weather front came through, and what brings in a new weather front? Wind, of course. And you know what wind does to dry leaves. About half of them are still on the curb. The others are scattered all over the yard again along with the newly fallen. Since the wind continues to blow too hard to go out there and clean them up, those leaves are going to sit in the yard until the next scheduled leaf pick-up.
Even with this drawback, and even though it adds $3 a month to the property taxes, I'm still thankful for leaf pick-up service. Bagging leaves is the biggest chore of disposing of them. It would take at least 30 lawn and leaf bags to get all of them out of our yard. Something else I thank God for every fall is the man who invented the leaf blower. What takes two hours with a leaf blower and leaf pick-up service used to take all day!