Monday, July 30, 2007
WHO IS AHARON YOSEF ?
After dissecting just one Pontification of Aharon Yosef, the logical question is "Who is this guy?"
To answer that question I looked first at "About Me" in the right hand column of his Pontification where I discovered that Aharon Yosef is also (Athol), who is a Catholic Jew and a teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. There he claims to be "loyal to the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church and obedient to the Pope." He tells us his ideas "do not represent the Association of Hebrew Catholics". The link there to his Complete Profile provides the additional information that he has a blog called "Jewish Catholic Prophecy". More about that later.
On his Pontification, right hand column, we can learn that the hometown of his parents, Gil and Laurie, is in Western Australia. We can see a picture of the wedding of his neice Nyree. Note that the URL of Aharon Yosef is "aronbengilad"
I believe Aharon Yosef is Athol Gilbert Hal Bloomer. Check out the personal page of Bloomer. There you can see that he is an Australian, that his mother and father are named Laurie and Gilbert, and that he has a neice named Nyree. You can also see a link to "Hebrew Catholic". You can read that his interests are "genealogy, religion and history." Notice that the URL here also uses "aronbengilad".
Athol Bloomer provides us with his biography which he has titled "My Spiritual Journey", which once again uses "aronbengilad" in the URL. A fascinating journey it is, with genealogy, including the name of his mother--Beth Lorraine Bartram, and his father--Gilbert. Here is another tidbit:
My paternal grandfather George was a lapsed Catholic of Jewish ancestry. His family were Printers in Perth. George's father's mother was a Frankist Jew.
He was raised a Jewish Anglican, and influenced by British Israelite Gilbert Saddler. His grandmother's family were "fervent believers in the British Israelite theories about the Lost Tribes of Israel."
You can learn that he "read the books of Edgar Casey [Cayce, I presume - ct] an occult healer and became a believer in reincarnation." He tells us that he was "very close to my Russian Orthodox step-grandmother....She was also a follower of the occult and had many books on world religions which I devoured." However an encounter with the Holy Spirit at age 18 made him realize that occult beliefs were a false spiritual path. He studied with the Rabbis in Melbourne and at the Lubavitcher Yeshivah with a Lubavitch Rabbi.
He joined a Theatre Company in Sydney and began working with drug addicts and street kids with an Ecumenical Catholic community. In 1987 he became Catholic and began studying with Andrew Sholl's Hebrew Catholic study group. However, he continued to be Torah observant and attended the Orthodox Jewish synagogue on occasion.
He dyed his hair--red, black, blonde or orange--and wore stud arm bands. He was "in the Gothic scene at one stage." Later he began doing Eucharistic Adoration.
After becoming Catholic he continued to work with prostitutes, drug addicts, and street kids, running crisis centres, and joining a prayer and healing ministry. He prayed over people at the local parish with Father Joe, who is now a bishop, during the charismatic prayer meetings. He also held his own Passover Seders, and observed Jewish Sabbath and festivals with his family when he went home for visits. His parents were hostile to his becoming Catholic.
He seriously considered the priesthood or religious life. He applied to the Fathers of Our Lady of Sion to join them, but after the Sisters of Sion interviewed him, he never heard from them again.
He joined the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament in the Philippines and studied philosophy at Christ the King Mission Seminary in Manila. The community he joined promoted Perpetual Adoration around the world, and he lived with seminarians from many countries and of all ages.
While in the Philippines he read preLurianic Kabbalists and the Zohar. It was here as well that he started to write and speak on the "Jewish mystical Tradition in the Light of the Eucharist".
After three years in the seminary he decided not to continue and returned to Australia to teach and become engaged to a Catholic girl, but broke the engagement when she decided to become a nun. In 1987 he began teaching in Thailand at a Technology College owned by Buddhist businessmen.
At a Catholic retreat center in Thailand he met Father Surin and Bishop Manat. He was asked by the Bishop
to speak on Eucharistic Adoration and other spiritual topics while he translated for me. This started a ministry with Father Surin and the Bishop at which I would speak and pray over people for the Holy Spirit to touch them and heal them spiritually, emotionally and physically. It was a bit of a shock to have a lay person ministering in this way in Thailand as it was very clergy centered but because I was a foreigner and I was under the authority of the Bishop and priests and ministered with them, I was accepted.
He "remained close to the mission of promoting Adoration".
Bishop Manat became the Bishop protector of the re-formed Society called the Missionary Society of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
He volunteered to help a Presentation sister in running and teaching at an "English Camp for Thai Teachers of English from the Catholic Schools in Bangkok" while continuing his healing and teaching ministry with Father Surin and Bishop Manat. At one point he cast a demon out of a doctor he was praying over.
Some days he would do up to 13 hours of Eucharistic Adoration. He visited the couple who ran the True Life in God movement in Bangladesh. In 1997 or 98 he attended the meeting of Vassula Ryden where he was prayed over and
felt such a power come forth from the Cross...that I was knocked to the ground...and I got up and went to my seat and I couldn't stop sobbing. I was so embarassed and I felt a burning cross on my forehead and a burning point in my hand that lasted for three weeks when I was in prayer. It was strange because in early 1997 before I even knew I was going to Thailand I received a message from God that I would go on eagle's wings overseas and that I should pray for Vassula and her mission and that I was linked to ...Father Martin and their mission of Perpetual Adoration. Vassula came again to Thailand in 1999 and she led a retreat with Bishop Manat at Tabor Retreat Centre and I ate with her and became close to her Greek Orthodox companion Katarina who I remained in contact with. Also with Vassula was a Jewish Philipino lady who was very interested in Vassula and I gave her a copy of the Jewish New Testament I had with me.
He was also with Vassula, and the Armenian Orthodox Bishop of Lyons, France who was traveling with her, in Bangladesh.
Later he "went to teach at Thepwittiya Catholic Primary School" where he taught 19 classes with 50 students in a class.
In 2002 Father Martin offered him a chance to go to Jerusalem where he joined a man from Argentina who was subsequently ordained a priest, and a deacon from Nicauagua, who was also subsequently ordained a priest. Together with a former male fashion model from Texas they began Adoration at the Armenian Catholic church on the via Dolorosa in Jerusalem. They were joined by Sister Paracleta and three Protestant girls who did regular hours every week.
Athol Bloomer writes for "The Hebrew Catholic". In the Winter Spring 2003 issue you can read the second part of "The Euchrist and the Jewish Mystical Tradition", an article based on his talks given in the early 1990's.
At the Association of Hebrew Catholics website part three of the article appears. There is a caution posted as well:
Caution: Athol's reflections spring from his life previously as an observant Jew and now as a Catholic. Our inclusion of these articles are not to be understood as a recommendation to study Jewish mysticism as found in modern day versions of the Kabbalah. On the contrary, without special studies and a firm formation in the Catholic faith, we would urge all Catholics to avoid the Kabbalah - it is a mixed bag of the occult and other elements contrary to the faith. Athol's reflections sort through the distortions introduced by the Lurianic Kabbalists to show the truths of the Catholic faith hidden in the Jewish mystical traditions.
Indeed. My recent blogs on Athol Bloomer's spirituality indicate rather clearly the sorts of distortions it can lead to. Yet this man's theology is still there for all to see.
There is another webpage in the Association of Hebrew Catholics website. This one. The webpage solicits money for a journey planned by "Athol Bloomer, an Observant Jew who entered the Catholic Church" and who "has served as a lay missionary for the Missionary Society of our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament."
To be continued...