Friday, June 01, 2007


I started blogging in 2003 because at the time I believed that things were turning around in the Church, that exposure of the hidden problems would be tantamount to resolving them. More fool I. I am no longer so naive. I no longer believe that exposure will effect change. I no longer believe that this blog serves any purpose at all except to waste thousands more of whatever hours I might have left.

And so, the time has come to say adieu to all of you and to retire to the rocking chair where I can read fluff novels with happy endings and forget I ever defined myself in terms of the Roman Catholic Church.


While at this point in my faith life I would welcome a married pastor for the reason that I wouldn't always be wondering what man he slept with last night, an article about married Catholic priests at Tradition in Action offers something else that caught my eye...von Balthasar theology:

MARRIED PRIESTS? THEY ARE HERE - Once I discussed the topic of married priests and women priests with Fr. Edouard Hammel, S.J., who had the courtesy to receive me twice in Rome, opening time in his busy schedule as Vice-Rector of the Gregorian University, possibly the most prestigious university of Rome. At the time Fr. Hammel was also a member of the International Theological Commission. He was a moral theologian who had been a perito at Vatican II, and had participated in the writing of Gaudium et spes.

When the day comes that both women and men are priests, I asked him, could an act of love between them as a “reflection of God” ever be made on the altar? I based my question on the writings of some progressivists who define the act of “amoration” – the sexual act – as the best reflection of the Trinitarian life. Fr. Hammel smiled, looked knowingly at me, and noted that Fr. Urs von Balthasar defended similar ideas. Later, he gave me a very interesting article summarizing the erotic aspects of Balthasar’s theology. But Fr. Hammel did not think that this “best reflection of God” should take place on the altar.

The interview continued, and I addressed the question of when the ordination of women would be allowed. Following a good Jesuit style, with his eyes and facial expression Fr. Hammel encouraged me to expect women’s ordination, but he did not say a word that could compromise him. To close this topic, he said in more or less these words: “As a first step we should expect married men to come to the altar.” That was in 1983.


on parish closings in Cleveland....cause you know there has to be a positive spin. We dare not be negative, dare we?

Read the plans for Lorain County cluster closings here.

The leaked plans for other clusters are being provided by the Plain Dealer.

I wonder how many churches Bishop Bruskewicz is closing? I wonder how short of priest the Lincoln Diocese is? Those questions are rhetorical. We all know the answers. This cynical Cleveland Diocesan parishioner is growing more bitter by the hour.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


All of you have nice pious reasons for staying in the Church. They sound good until I reflect that so long as we who believe in Christ stay in the Church we are facilitating the corruption, and as such bear a burden of responsibility.

Do you think this Church would remain in its state of rot if those of us who still believe walked out and refused to walk back in until it had been cleaned up? It wouldn't remain because the money would disappear, and with it the corrupters. Then there would be some hope for a turnaround.

But no. We stay and pray and obey. We drop our dollars into the collection basket, and the weasels within use those dollars to further their own agenda. They count our heads and tell the bishop how successful they are. The bishop reflects on the numbers and concludes he can continue to do what he is doing.

We who stay are as rotten as those who defy Christ and abuse little kids. We are rotten because we allow it to happen. We are rotten because we contribute to it. We are rotten because no matter how much evidence we have that our own particular favorite priest fails to follow Christ, we still champion him and "Yes Father" him right and left.

No wonder the Church is corrupt. We are a body of enablers. We don't deserve anything but what we've got, and we besmirch the face of Christ by our very presence in this corrupted Church.


Linette Servais, 50, played the organ and sung with the choir for 35 years. Much of her work as choir director and organist was done without pay. When her parish priest asked to meet with her, she thought it was to say thank you.

Instead, she was told to quit her sales job with company known as Pure Romance or she would lose her position in the church.

Pure Romance in Loveland, Ohio, is a $60 million per year business that sells spa products and sex toys at homes parties attended by women. It has 15,000 consultants like Servais.

She said her decision was not hard: She began working with Pure Romance after a brain tumor and treatment left her sexually dysfunctional. The job allows her to help other women who have similar problems.

"After I got over the initial shock, I prayed over this a long time," she said. "I feel that Pure Romance is my ministry."

Read the rest...

Tells a lot about the depth of corruption in the Church that this woman sees no conflict of interest here.


Plans are being released for the closing of parishes in the Akron area, a new phase of Vibrant Parish Life, which will include downsizing the cluster in the City of Akron from six to four parishes. This delightful development will be coming to other clusters in the Akron area by the year 2009. One of these parishes in the Akron cluster is the parish where the Tridentine is said twice a month. Want to bet it's on the chopping block?


Hypocrisy. Nauseating. A den of vipers. It is with words such as these that I am coming to view the Roman Catholic Church. The homosexual crisis is not abating. The travesty of claims that this Church follows Christ is overwhelming me with disgust.

In New Age doctrine there is a concept of the hundredth monkey. Conversions roll along without making a great deal of difference until the hundredth monkey converts. Then there is a paradign shift, and there is no turning back. The story of a particular homosexual priest is feeling like the ninety-ninth monkey for me this morning. If this one doesn't finally destroy my faith, I'm getting periously close. It is not possible to continue believing in the Church while holding in contempt all of her ministers; and if something drastic isn't done soon, I will be left with nothing but contempt for all of them.

The introduction came when I picked up the May 2007 issue of "Culture Wars" with a priest in clericals on the cover. Turning to page 23 of the publication I found a picture of five men seated around what appears to be two restaurant tables pushed together. The caption for the photo reads "The Neocon Cabal meets in Michigan: Father Robert Sirico (middle, left) across the table from Father Rob Johansen (l) and Mark Shea (r)." The article by Thomas J. Herron which contains this picture is titled "Robert Sirico and the Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengence." The article opens with a quotation from Mark Shea's blog:

"Greetings from Michigan! I'm blogging briefly from the rectory of St. Stanislaus parish before we go to lunch in Kalamazoo and I meet (among others) Fr. Robert Sirico, thereby confirming the darkest suspicions of Thomas Herron and other Culture Warriors. After our Scheming Neocon Catholic Lunch we will synchronize watches, split up, and do our bit to fatten ourselves on the Da Vinci Code, subvert the Church with Zionist sympathies, and act the Court Prophet for the glories of George Dubya Bush, Democratic Capitalism, and the American Way. All in a day's work for a simpleminded half-Protestant convert who does not fully grasp the mind of the Church." - June 8, 2006, Mark Shea of Seattle, WA noted Catholic convert and writer on his blog Catholic and Enjoying it!

This would be the same Mark Shea who wrote in his blog on Wednesday, January 25, 2006:

Drooling, Fawning Puff Piece on Gay Priest

Lesson: Homosexuality is the source and summit of all that is best, truest, and most noble in the Catholic Church.

Look, once again I have to ask "Why do I need to know about this guy's sexual orientation? If he's celibate, then I don't care what his temptations are. That's between him and God. If he's not celibate, then why are people cheering for him? He's betrayed his vows. The whole thing stinks of self-aggrandizement and a calculated Media Event. The reporters asks not one hard question of the guy. She just falls down in starry-eyed adoration of his courage in raking in the applause.


Apparently there has been a conversion of the heart of our Catholic blogger if the article is any indication. Perhaps the price of his soul was finally offered. Father Sirico moves in lofty circles.

Herron bases his expose of Father Sirico on the investigative work of Randy Engel, author of THE RITE OF SODOMY, and the material in her "The Sirico Brief", an extensive history of the activities of this priest. It's quite an eye-opener, and quite a lesson on the current state of the Roman Catholic Church, i.e. business as usual. To confirm what Herron wrote, I went to the source. Contained in The Sirico Brief is Engel's Open Letter of February 7, 2007 which requests that Franc Cardinal Rode, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, suppress St. Philip Neri House, Kalamazoo, Michigan. A member of the laity does not make such a request without overwhelming evidence, and Engel has it. Here are some historical highlights from the Brief giving the events in the life of Father Sirico:

- Born in 1951, Sirico apostatized from the Catholic faith in his late teens.

- Following a flirtation with Marxism, he took up Pentecostalism at age 19, and established his own church known for miraculous faith healings.

- In 1972 he founded a satellite of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Church (UFMCC) founded by homosexual activist Rev. Troy Perry in Los Angeles.

- In 1975 he moved to Los Angeles to become Executive Director of the Los Angeles Gay Community Center, one of the oldest and largest LGBT organizations in the world.

- In April 1975 he performed the first same-sex marriage in the U.S. at the First Unitarian Church of Denver.

- In 1976 his Los Angeles Gay Community Center ran a "Male Slave Mart" to raise money for the Center's venereal disease clinic. (You had better go read the details in the Brief. This one was really perverse.)

- In May 1989 the Paulists ordained him, in opposition to the then-standing papal decree that activist homosexuals were not candidates for the priesthood.

- In 1990 he became President of the newly created Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, an "ecumenical, free-market educational think-tank funded by Michigan-based Dutch Calvinist business entrepreneurs" according to the Brief.

The Brief goes on to document his diocese hopping and affiliation with gay bishops, his abandonment of the Paulists, and his subsequent founding of St. Philip Neri House where four men live in an "independent Oratorian Confederation".

The Acton Institute is a power broken all the way up to the Vatican. Sirico has assisted "the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome in the staging of a conference to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Centesimus Annus. It has also provided conferences for seminarians to teach them about Catholic social doctrine from a Calvinist perspective.

The Pope is responsible for this house. "Each oratory or house, technically speaking, is established by the pope himself and the Holy See and has direct appeal to the Holy See in serious matters. The Congregation for Sacred Congregations for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life oversee the members of the Confederation as well as oratories in formation like the St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo" according to the Brief.

In keeping with my repeated warnings about the heresy on the right, the Brief reveals:

As Superior of St. Philip Neri House, Sirico announces that the Traditional Mass will not be part of the community's practice. However, on December 15, Bishop Murray announces he will permit the Traditional Latin Mass to be held at St. Philip Neri House on a trial basis from January to June 2000. He appoints his Judicial Vicar, Rev. Leonard Bogdan, to say one weeknight Mass on a day that fits into Bogdan's schedule. One Traditional Mass, filled to overflowing, is held at St. Philip Neri House and then the Mass is moved to the Cathedral of St. Augustine. The revelation that Bogdan is an accused sexual predator is not made public until 2006.

[In late March 2006, when the Archdiocese of Chicago released the names of living priests who were the subject of substantiated accusations of sexual abuse, Bogdan’s name was on the list. As it turned out, Bogdan, ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 3, 1960, was one of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s many clerical hideaways. The first sex abuse of a minor allegation against Bogdan was made in April 1983, but it was withdrawn in writing in June 1986. The following year, Bernardin had Bogdan squirreled away in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. The then, Bishop Paul Donovan, accepted Bogdan into the diocese and gave him the position of Adjutant Judicial Vicar, but the priest was not incardinated into the Kalamazoo Diocese until 1995. In June 2000, Bogdan retired from active ministry in the Diocese of Kalamazoo and later retired to Sun City Center, Ariz. In the summer of 2001, the original allegation against Bogdan was reinstated in the Archdiocese of Chicago, this time with the determination that “there is reasonable cause to suspect that sexual misconduct with a minor occurred.” Bishop Murray suspended Bogdan’s faculties to assist in priestly ministry in March 2002.]

One of the four men at St. Philip Neri House is Father David Grondz, according to Engel. She writes:

2007 St. Philip Neri House now has four residents including three priests – enough to erect an oratory and be incorporated into the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. The residents are Father Sirico, superior, Father David Grondz, Father James Richardson, and Brother Basil, an associate of Father Grondz from the latter’s Benedictine days.

Both Father Grondz and Father Richardson were ordained by Bishop James A. Murray for the Diocese of Kalamazoo on May 13, 2006 at the Cathedral of St. Augustine. In addition to their assignment at St. Philip Neri House, both are also engaged in pastoral work for the diocese.

Of these, Father David Grondz has had the longest and most intimate relationship with
Sirico. Grondz began his vocational journey with the Benedictine Order, but left. He then went to Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary, but again left, this time under a cloud of accusations of moral turpitude.

Those are the highlights, along with an indication that the priest who arranged the first gay wedding has been in charge of ministry to the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The brief is one long outrage. How could our Church become so corrupt? How could Rome be so indifferent? How does one stay in this Church hoping to seek out holiness? This morning I want to run as fast as my legs will carry me in the opposite direction to get away from the evil that seems to be pervasive in the Roman Catholic Church.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


It boggles. It shouldn't. Nothing out of Hans Kung should. Apparently he's a member of Root and Branch. They are welcome to him. The Masons like him. With friends like these... Hat tip to Maurice Pinay.


Via a link at Open Book:

Deacon Joseph Levine is still a deacon in the diocese, but will not be ordained to the priesthood, Marianna Thompson, the diocesan communications director, said Tuesday.

The diocese announced late last week that Deacon Levine would not be ordained Saturday in Paterson as previously scheduled, but released no other details. Four other men were ordained.

Ms. Thompson confirmed Deacon Levine’s ordination is off permanently, a result of the “discernment” process during which the deacon and church officials examined his call to the priesthood.

“As we deepened and widened our discernment process, we discerned not to ordain Mr. Levine,” she said. “He will not serve as a priest in the Paterson diocese.”

Deacon Levine is the former superior general of the Society of St. John, a clerical association once headquartered at a rural compound at Shohola in Pike County. Recognized by the Diocese of Scranton in 1998, the society was suppressed by Bishop Joseph F. Martino in 2004.

Read the rest...


Adin Steinsaltz, author of THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE, a book about the Jewish Kabbalah, and leader of the newly founded Sanhedrin, writes from the Hasidic perspective in Judaism. As such, I have been told, he would not be speaking to Reform Jews and other segments of the Jewish religion who, some have said, have no interest in the Kabbalah.

In researching this topic on the web, I found this is not necessarily true. Some examples:

- Rabbi Steve Cohen, March 30, 2005 CCAR Convention, Panel on Pittsburgh Principles and the Direction of Reform Judaism. The principles are the heart and soul of Reform Judaism. At the website which discusses Rabbi Cohen's talk at the Convention, you can read:

A second aspect of a paradoxical Judaism for our generation is taught by Adin Steinsaltz who speaks of two modes of being in Judaism. The first mode, he says, is study, in which we bring to bear all the power and resources of our rational, analytical mind. In the mode of study, says Steinsaltz, all questions are permitted. In Talmud Torah, we ask and ask and ask. Nothing is off-limits, and the harder the question the better. But the second mode of being in Judaism, says Steinsaltz, is prayer, in which we let go of our questions, relax the critical muscle in our minds, and pour out our hearts to God in simplicity.

Neither mode is right or wrong. Both are necessary for a complete Jewish life, and we must oscillate back and forth between the two modes of study and of prayer, just as we must oscillate between waking and sleeping, or between work and rest.

Steinsaltz’s prescription, I believe, can help those of us who seek to organize our lives around the unknown God. Because in our mode of critical thinking, we will be reminded of, and we will insist upon, the utter unknowability of God. We will see clearly the social and psychological constructions of our religion, throwing open the doors and windows of our minds and letting the bright sunshine of reason flood the darkest corners of our lives. But then we will also make time to step out of the sunlight, into the night-time of prayer, of sleep, of dreams. When Yaakov arrived at hamakom, says the midrash, God extinguished the sun, like a king who commands his household saying “put out the lanterns, for I desire to speak with my friend in intimacy.”

Rabbi Chaim Bender, writing on the topic of Reform Judaism at AllExperts, tells us:

Recommended Reading
The following books can be found in many major bookstores, or click the links to buy the book online from amazon.com.

Adin Steinsaltz's The Thirteen Petalled Rose (Hardcover) or (Paperback) is a complete mystical cosmology written by one of the greatest Jewish scholars alive today. It discusses the various levels of existence, the angels and demons that are created by our actions, the concept of reincarnation, and many other subjects of interest.

Temple Emmanuel in Baltimore, a Reform congregation, offers the following at their Adult Education website:

Adin Steinsaltz has written in his new book, We Jews:Who we are and What should We Do? "Here then is the paradox- that the Jew can be a more complete representative of the national entity into which he has been absorbed than the original inhabitants." Through a study of the short stories of writers such as Nathan Englander, I.B. Singer, Allegra Goodman, and E.L. Doctorow we will examine the American-Jewish experience.

Temple House of Israel Congregation in Virginia mentions a course in their Bulletin:

P’nai Yisrael Chavurah is pleased to bring Arthur Kurzweil to Charlottesville for a weekend of learning from Friday, March 12th through Sunday, March 14th.

Kurzweil is a gifted, knowledgeable and engaging teacher. He will learn Talmud
with his participants, speak of his teacher, Adin Steinsaltz and dazzle all with
sleight of hand. Friday’s teaching “My Rebbe: A Personal Look at the Work of
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz” will discuss Rabbi Steinsaltz’s comprehensive commentary
on the entire Talmud over a potluck vegetarian dinner beginning at 6:00 pm.

From the Union for Reform Judaism website:

In sharp contrast to an ersatz Buddhism lately masquerading as Jewish spirituality that claims, "Wherever you go, there you are," comes Hasidism’s answer, "Wherever you go, you’re not there yet!" Or, in the words of the great contemporary Israeli Talmudist and kabbalist Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, "Jewish thought pays little attention to inner tranquility and peace of mind" ( The Thirteen Petalled Rose , trans. Yehuda Hanegbe [New York: Basic Books, 1980], p. 131). Indeed, Steinsaltz goes so far as to say that "someone who has stopped going—he who has a feeling of . . . a great light from above that has brought him to rest—to be someone who has lost his way" (p. 132).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


CHICAGO, May 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – DePaul University in Chicago, one of the largest and most important Catholic universities in the US, is hosting the second “Out There” conference on homosexuality and Catholic education.

The conference, whose full title is the Conference of Scholars and Student Affairs Personnel Involved in “LGBTQ” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer) issues on Catholic Campuses, is being organized through the DePaul Women’s and Gender Studies department. It is scheduled for October 19-20, 2007 and is calling for submissions for papers and workshops.

The first Out There conference was held at Jesuit-run Santa Clara University in 2005 in California and attracted 150 students and faculty from 40 different schools, including the Universities of Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, La Salle, Marquette and Emory, as well as Boston College, and College of the Holy Cross. The Santa Clara conference was praised by gay activists as opening a new door between the homosexual activist community and the world of Catholic education.

Defending the decision to hold the 2005 conference, Santa Clara University told Catholic News Agency that hosting a two-day long conference “on how to promote opportunities for gays and lesbians at Catholic colleges is the Catholic way to act.” The 2005 conference chose not to highlight Catholic teaching on the intrinsic immorality or medical dangers of homosexual activity or offer assistance to homosexuals to leave their lifestyle.

Workshops at the previous conference included “Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University” and “Can I Be Gay and Catholic?”

Read the rest...


In an article atSpirit Daily Michael Brown describes the split in the Church at the highest level over the reality of exorcism. Sobering thought that there are those in the Vatican who reject the possibility of Satanic influence and believe it is all just psychology.


An article at Beliefnet outlines beliefs. Among the more surprising:

- Under belief in Deity, nonbelief or questioning belief is acceptable.
- Genesis is treated symbolically.
- Some believe in reincarnation
- There is no original sin.
- God forgives all, there is no hell, salvation comes through works.
- Human life begins at the first breath. Abortion is required to save mother's life. There is a long history of support for homosexual rights.

Since Reform Judaism is in a constant stateof flux, the Principles are periodically spelled out. The latest statement of principles--The Pittsburgh Principles--set out the official specific beliefs of Reform Judaism at present. They can be read at the website of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Some statements from the website:

- The great contribution of Reform Judaism is that it has enabled the Jewish people to introduce innovation while preserving tradition, to embrace diversity while asserting commonality, to affirm beliefs without rejecting those who doubt, and to bring faith to sacred texts without sacrificing critical scholarship.

- We affirm that Torah is the foundation of Jewish life.

- Partners with God in (tikkun Olam), repairing the world, we are called to help bring nearer the messianic age.

- we reaffirm social action and social justice as a central prophetic forus of traditional Reform Jewish belief and practice.

- We pledge to fulfill Reform Judaism's historic commitment to the complete equality of women and men in Jewish life.

- We are an inclusive community, opening doors to Jewish life to people of all ages, to varied kinds of families, to all regardless of their sexual orientation, to...those who have converted to Judaism, and to all invididuals and families, including the intermarried, who strive to create a Jewish home.

- We are committed to..the State of Israel, and rejoice in its accomplishments.

- We are committed to promoting and strengthening Progressive Judaism in Israel.

- We are committed to furthering Progressive Judaism throughout the world as a meaningful religious way of life for the Jewish people.

How does Benedict propose that we are to find common ground with these principles one wonders?

Monday, May 28, 2007


Those of you who have been hanging around this blog for a while know that I have a pet peeve--strapless wedding dresses. I think they reflect the cheap view of sexuality our society lives on and have no place in a Catholic wedding. My viewpoint, obviously, is a minority opinion.

It was with interest that I read a Zenit article about a Catholic wedding dress designer who is said to be a "vocal promoter of the Catholic idea of the feminine genius in the fashion industry, and insists that the clothes a woman wears can reflect or deflect her dignity, especially on her wedding day." Well, I figured, at last a designer is seeing the light. Alas it is not so.

Apparently Justinna McCaffrey thinks strapless and cleavage are Catholic. Here are pictures of her February dresses from her Stabat Mater Collection. Sigh. Frankly I don't find these dresses any more "Catholic" than anything else on the rack. To be Catholic, it must first be modest, and these just aren't. To name her collection "Stabat Mater" is offensive to the Blessed Virgin.


From the Plain Dealer:

Fourteen Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors remain in administrative limbo more than five years after some of them were suspended by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

The priests, living from Medina and Barberton to Bradenton, Fla., are among hundreds of U.S. priests awaiting Vatican action that will determine the next step. In the end, the men could be declared innocent, or defrocked, though there is a wide range of possibilities in between.

The suspended priests receive their salaries - $26,340 for clerics with 20 years' experience - and hospitalization but may not "exercise any public acts of priestly ministry," according to the diocese. Some have obtained jobs. Others are not working.

The diocese does not monitor the priests.

The diocese said its options for watching suspended priests are limited.

"The diocese has no legal authority to restrict the freedom of those who are on administrative leave or those who have left the priesthood," the church said in a written response to questions.

But advocates for children said the church has a moral responsibility to track the suspended priests, some of whom have multiple accusations against them.

"In a perverse and ironic way, the bishops sometimes treat abusive priests like abuse victims," said David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "They essentially want to throw money at them and hope they keep quiet."

Read more at the website.


An article at Cleveland Jewish News, pulled from the archives, announces the PBS docudrama "Secret Files of the Inquisition", a four-part series directed and produced by David Rabinovitch, which aired earlier this month. From the sound of the article it had the potential to generate more anti-Catholic sentiment in its audience. This is the first I've heard of it, however.



A reader sent in a link to a somewhat different view of the Inquisition taken from the Vatican archives and delivered from the Catholic perspective:

The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition ELLEN RICE

“The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition,” a 1994 BBC/A&E production, will re-air on the History Channel this December 3 at 10 p.m. It is a definite must-see for anyone who wishes to know how historians now evaluate the Spanish Inquisition since the opening of an investigation into the Inquisition's archives. The special includes commentary from historians whose studies verify that the tale of the darkest hour of the Church was greatly fabricated

In its brief sixty-minute presentation, “The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition” provides only an overview of the origins and debunking of the myths of torture and genocide. The documentary definitely succeeds in leaving the viewer hungry to know more. The long-held beliefs of the audience are sufficiently weakened by the testimony of experts and the expose of the making of the myth.

Read the rest...

Unfortunately this program has apparently aired, though no dates are given. In any case, it is enough to cast a shadow of doubt on the report from Cleveland Jewish News.


The Trumpet spins Pope Benedict's efforts on the world stage as an "Evangelical Blitzkrieg" composed of four parts:

- Overhaul of the Curia to bring it in conformity with his views on the faith

- Confrontation with Islam over violence

- A call to abandon secularism

- An appeal to South America to route competing non-Catholic religions and cults


I have delved briefly into Hasidic Judaism via Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's book THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE. Commenters have indicated he does not speak for all of Judaism, and that the majority of American Jewish congregations are not interested in the mystical paths of Hasidim. Okay. I decided to look for myself given that Pope Benedict keeps making overtures to reconciliation with the Jews. I think it is worthwhile to know what he is making overtures to.

Wikipedia tells us:

Historically, Judaism has considered belief in the divine revelation and acceptance of the Written and Oral Torah as its fundamental core belief, but Judaism does not have a centralized authority dictating religious dogma. This gave rise to many different formulations as to the specific theological beliefs inherent in the Torah and Talmud. While some rabbis have at times agreed upon a firm formulation, others have disagreed, many criticizing any such attempt as minimizing acceptance of the entire Torah.[2] Notably, in the Talmud some principles of faith (e.g., the Divine origin of the Torah) are considered important enough that rejection of them can put one in the category of "apikoros" (heretic).[3]

That opens the doorway to variety, or what E. Michael Jones once referred to in an article in "Culture Wars" as a Rabbinical debating society.

There appears to be animosity between the various movements. Another Wikipedia article claims that within the Heredi:

Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism and Conservative Judaism [are viewed] as heretical non-Jewish movements. Some Haredi leaders have stated that Reform is philosophically further from authentic Judaism than Christianity and Islam. As such, Haredi authorities have strongly fought attempts by the Reform and Conservative movements to gain official recognition and denominational legitimacy in Israel. Haredi groups and authorities will not work with non-Orthodox religious movements in any way, as they view this as lending legitimacy to those movements. The members of those movements who have been born of a Jewish mother are, however, still regarded as Jews.

However, according to the Wiki article Reform Judaism is much more lenient. It:

currently espouses the notion of religious pluralism; it believes that most Jewish denominations (including Orthodox groups and the Conservative movement) are valid expressions of Judaism. Historically the Reform view of Orthodox Judaism has been highly negative. Reform began as a rejection of Orthodox Judaism, and early battles between Reform and Orthodox groups in Germany for control of communal leadership were fierce. Reform viewed Orthodoxy as overly focused on tradition and literal interpretation of scripture that conflicted with modern science. Relations with the Conservative movement are much more cordial, and Conservative and Reform leaders co-operate on many areas of mutual concern.

That suggests to me a relationship between the Reform movement within Judaism and the Renewal movement within Catholicism. Reform, then, would amount to a progressive movement within Judaism.

Another Wikipedia entry appears to confirm this interpretation:

Contemporary Reform Judaism movements share most of the following principles:

* The autonomy of the individual in interpreting the Torah and Oral Law, as well as in deciding which observances one is thereby prescribed to follow,
* Applicability of textual analysis (including higher criticism), as well as traditional rabbinic modes of study, to the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic literature,
* Learning Jewish principles of faith through non-religious methods, as well as religious ones,
* Embracing modern culture in customs, dress, and common practices, and
* Complete gender equality in religious study, ritual, and observance.
* Emphasis on tikkun olam ("repairing the world") as the dominant means of service to God.

At the My Jewish Learning website Luois Jacobs gives a brief history of the transplantation of the Reform Movement onto American soil:

Reform spread to America where, at first, the guiding lights were German-born and German-speaking rabbis, prominent among whom was the real organizer of Reform in America, Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900). In 1875, thanks to Wise’s efforts, the Hebrew Union College was established in Cincinnati for the training of Reform rabbis. At the banquet held to celebrate the ordination of the Hebrew Union College’s first graduates, shellfish, forbidden by the dietary laws, was served. This “treyfah [non-kosher] banquet:” as it came to be dubbed, at the ordination of rabbis, no less, caused traditional rabbis and laymen to recoil in horror and led indirectly to the development of Conservative Judaism [in the United States] and the establishment of the Jewish Theological Seminary [in New York] for the training of Conservative rabbis.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Another one has rolled around before I'd gotten over being jaded from the circus last weekend. It was not a good attitude with which to attend Mass. Being what I've come to think of as "chemo Sunday"--the Sunday after a Thursday treatment when I'm physically wiped-out anyway--the gloomy mood was compounded. There wasn't much chance I would take anything home from Mass but an overwhelming likelihood that Mass would be sacrificial, and so it was. Attending the 7:30 at the parish where I still officially belong did nothing to improve this situation. I was there in body. My head and heart were still asleep in bed. I have never been a morning person.

The pastor recommended that we read "A case for the priesthood" by Father William J. O'Malley, S.J., an insert in today's bulletin, and so I did just now and found something to which I could relate:

I no longer resort to petitionary prayers. I stopped years ago when my mother, suffering the loss of her memory and self-control, gradually became entirely inaccessible and didn't even know who I was. Once, in the hospital, when I leaned over to kiss her, she started screaming, and the nurse told me perhaps I'd better leave.

I went down to the car, put my head on the steering wheel, and sobbed. I called God every foul name I could conjure. "I've given you my whole goddamned life. Why can't you let her go?" And God refused. It was the ultimate insight he gave Job: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Should I check my plans with you?"

Yeah, that's about how I feel about petitionary prayer. A waste of time, mostly. If God listens, He doesn't act like it. He does His own thing, at least where I'm concerned, so I may as well save myself the trouble. Oh, there are the little answered prayers...the ones that are important, but not all that important in the grand scheme of life. "Help me to find something appropriate and kind to say to this person." "Help me to drive safely to my destination." He answers those often. "Help me to find a place of peace to worship." No, he doesn't answer that one, and my heart is turning cold for lack of answer.

I will get out of this grand funk once chemo-Sunday has passed and I've got a full brain functioning again. In the meantime I'll rage with Father O'Malley at the lack of answers and the lack of compassion I'm finding in my heavenly Father as this Church to which I've tried to give my heart and soul crumbles around me into a heap of irrelevance.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>