Saturday, June 30, 2007
HE'S A MEMBER OF WHAT ?!
Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
He is President of the Heritage Foundation according to his bio. on the Foundation website. It also claims he is a member of the Acton Institute. A lot of other websites make the same claim.
So what's he doing on a list of Bohemian Grove attendees? This makes me seriously in favor of separation of church and state!
Father Robert Sirico's Acton Institute has been funded in part by the Richard & Helen deVos Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation as reported by Bill Berkowitz in an article I linked yesterday in this post.
Not only does the Acton Institute turn up on the Global Oneness website, but so do two of those foundations.
Scaife Family Foundation
According to this website the Scaife Family Foundation supports Planned Parenthood.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
An article by Tal Brooke in the Spring 2007 issue of "SCP Journal" offers some interesting comments. The article is titled "Sanctioned Mockery and the Rise of Attacks on Christians." Here is what Brooke wrote in part:
The reality is that in film after film attacking the Christian Faith you have been looking at the credits and seeing prominently displayed the names of a trigger-sensitive minority who have helped produce and often directed the films. Ironically, they have been busy at work in the culture, introducing hate crime bills that would ban any critical speech against them, while they have been harping on their own persecution and building expensive museums around the world about their victimization and suffering. The double standard is outrageous, but no one dare protest above a whisper.
You wonder quietly to yourself whether you are really seeing a pattern here (just the fact that you are seeing the pattern may prove that you are just a bigot blinded by prejudice, as many would tell you). If you are the average Christian, this may take years for you to work through if you ever see it at all. Chances are it will be easier for you to look away. You've been taught in prophecy class that God's chosen people remain so no matter what they do (a view that jettisons almost 1800 years of classic doctrine). You might reflect to yourself that it is amazing how rearranging a few verses out of context can change the course of history, blinding true believers to the truth. Strong delusion may well be at our doorstep.
Of course, to mention this incongruity might come at a great cost. Your character and private life might be decimated as you are singled out as a "person of hate," should you dare to speak above a whisper. Such has already happened to those who crossed the line and then lost their jobs or worse. Better to bite your tongue and wait for braver people to come forward. Better to remain hidden deep within the vast silent majority of mild-mannered and placid sheep surrounded by distractions--call them spiritual couch potatoes. As opposed to the courageous Christians of the first century, today's sheep are easy to herd and intimidate.
God created us man and woman. The balance fluctuates only minimally. There is no favoritism of one sex over the other.
At Mass last Saturday I noticed that there were four altar servers--all girls--and thought about the many comments I've read online indicating that when the girls move into altar service, the boys move out. Shortages in altar servers seem to grow out of the use of girls in this ministry.
A reader sent in a link to John Allen's comments in the Conversation Cafe this week. He speaks of the feminization of the Church, and his comments have me wondering if the same dynamics that apply to the ministry of altar service also apply to other ministries in the RCC. When the ladies move in, do the gentlemen move out? He titles his comments "Lay ecclesial ministry and the feminization of the church". Here is what Allen has to say:
Cultures invent new words when they've got new things to name, and so it is with the American church, which has recently contributed a new bit of taxonomy to Catholic conversation: "lay ecclesial ministry." The term refers to a new class of lay professionals performing tasks that were once the near-exclusive province of priests, such as parish administration, bereavement counseling and sick calls, sacramental preparation, liturgical planning, catechesis, faith formation, and a host of other roles. Today's reality is that, save for Mass and the other sacraments, most people's experience of pastoral ministry in the Catholic church is increasingly with a lay person rather than a priest.
The late Msgr. Philip J. Murnion, who conducted the first studies on this trend, called it "a virtual revolution in parish ministry."
Revolutions, as any historian knows, have unpredictable consequences. That's also the case with lay ecclesial ministry. Though no one planned it this way, the plain truth is that lay ecclesial ministry is rapidly "feminizing" pastoral leadership in the Catholic church. As the 21st century develops, that trend is sure to excite some and to worry others.
According to the National Pastoral Life Center, there are 31,000 lay ecclesial ministers working in Catholic parishes in the United States today, surpassing the 29,000 diocesan priests in the country. Growth has been rapid. As of 1990, there were just 22,000 lay ministers, meaning that American Catholicism generated an additional 9,000 lay ministers in just a decade and a half. During the same period, the total number of priests, diocesan and religious, dropped by almost 6,000, from 49,054 to 43,304. This imbalance is destined to grow under even the most wildly optimistic projections of priestly vocations. There are currently 18,000 people preparing to become lay ecclesial ministers, roughly six times the number of seminarians preparing to become priests.
For a church long perceived as bastion of male privilege, it's striking that these new lay professional roles are held disproportionately by women. As of 2005, roughly 80 percent of lay ecclesial ministers in the United States were women. A 2005 document from the American bishops provides this breakdown: lay women, 64 percent; religious women, 16 percent; and lay men, 20 percent. While the percentage of male lay ministers grew from 15 percent in 1900 to 20 percent in 2005, the overall pattern seems to be that the bulk of these positions will be held by women.
Balance is essential in all of life. When things get out of balance trouble follows, and we have trouble in spades. We need the men, but in looking around at Mass, time and time again I see a disproportionate number of women.
In my family over the years there has been an imbalance. There are many more women than men, mostly because the men die younger than the women. I've watched widows attempt to cope with life after their man is gone. For these ladies things tend to get blown out of proportion. The emotional side overtakes the rational practical side of their personality. The imbalance prompts them to blow things out of proportion, and to gloss over that which should be addressed because they want to avoid confrontation. Women who have lost their men struggle to maintain balance.
I think the same thing is happening in our Church, and the source of this can't be God who calls all of us, man and woman, to come to Christ. We need the guys to come back and help restore the balance. We need the priesthood. Without it our sacramental faith simply falls apart.
When my mother was in a nursing home in the terminal years of Alzheimer's two ladies held a communion service each week. They did their best, but my mother couldn't recognize the Eucharist in the hands of a woman. She determinedly refused to have anything to do with them. In her mind the Eucharist was delivered in the hands of a priest, not a couple of women, and whatever these ladies were doing, it had nothing to do with her Lord.
What is a sick call when a woman makes it? In days gone by the sick call included the opportunity to go to confession, and when death was near, Extreme Unction. That opportunity is denied to our sick and dying because priests no longer make sick calls. A woman cannot bring the sacraments to a nursing home. She may be able to carry a host, but she is a very poor substitute for the real thing.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Why is the Acton Institute being promoted on the Global Oneness website? Seems like a conflict of interest. Notice the links over there on the left at the website? The Law of Attraction is one of them.
An article about the Acton Institute has this to say:
Professor Anthony Basile, in the September 1998 issue of Culture Wars, accuses Father Sirico of "portray[ing] poverty as the fault of the poor individual, and not due to social injustices," a fundamental departure from Catholicism.
It is not a departure from the Law of Attraction, however. In fact it is the direct result of this Rosicrucian thinking.
According to the article dated May 2001 the Acton Institute is funded by some odd sources given that this is supposed to be a Catholic endeavor. They include the Scaife Family Foundation, the Richard and Helen deVos Foundation, the John M Olin Foundation, and the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation. Why are these foundations funding a Catholic effort, assuming it is a Catholic effort, that is? And what is the price Acton is paying in exchange for this foundation money?
The website says that Father Sirico "converts the Church's advocacy on behalf of the poor...into a paean for the free-market."
YOU CREATE YOUR OWN DESTINY
An article at Beliefnet makes the same claim that I am making about the Law of Attraction:
When I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, I was afraid to tell my New-Agey friends and acquaintances. Mainly, I was afraid they would say, "Why did you do that to yourself?" Not out of cruelty, but from a genuine desire to help me see how I had "created my own reality," a central tenet of New Age thinking. Thankfully, no one said any such thing. (Though one woman did ask if perhaps I should have just ingested a lot of wheatgrass instead of having chemotherapy.)
This choose-your-own-adventure thinking has caught fire recently with the wild success of "The Secret" book and DVD by Australian TV producer Rhonda Byrne. There are already 400,000 copies of the book in print and Simon & Schuster just announced they’re printing two million more, which is what happens when Oprah champions your book in two separate shows and says this is how she’s lived her own life for years. ...
When I had cancer (and I carefully choose the past tense though the doctors never will, no matter healthy I am, because I want to send my body a happy message), I made sure to lower my stress levels, think nice thoughts, listen to an affirming CD, and ask my friends and family to pray for me. The mind-body connection is real to me. My thoughts may or may not affect the Universe, but I know they affect my body; I have willed warts away, calmed myself when fearful, visualized love pouring into me and felt a shift. Energy is real to me too.
I am being told constantly that I must think positive thoughts about getting well. It's as though my state of mind is at least as important as the drugs I'm taking in the process of surviving cancer. People get upset when I respond "Whatever God wants" and sometimes respond as though they feel obligated to change my thinking.
ROSICRUCIANS USE APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY
You can see here on the Rosicrucian Museum website that Appreciative Inquiry is used by the Rosicrucians.
DON'T BE NEGATIVE
It was one of the themes of the Vibrant Parish Life town meetings in my parish a couple of years ago. The group leader was so determined that no negative statements would be made that he did his best to prevent me from stating what I believe: that since we are a faith based in sacraments, our biggest concern is a shortage of priests. I did find the opportunity to make the statement, however, though I was quickly contradicted. It was at this meeting that I discovered the group leader believed we could get along quite nicely without priests.
Where does the "don't be negative" mindset come from? Well one place where it is prominent is within Rosicrucianism. "The Secret" of Rosicrucianism is "attraction", and that which we are to attract is a positive response to our positive thinking. In THE ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION, Chapter VI, Max Heindel discusses vibrations. According to William Walker Atkinson Vibrations are a key element in attracting the stuff we desire. Did "Vibrant Parish Life" derive its name and concept from the Rosicrucian Law of Attraction?
"Don't be negative" has turned up in Ernest Holmes' Science of Mind as well. Here on a religious science website is the following quote:
This science is more than mental; it is also spiritual, since we live in a spiritual universe. The Science of Mind declares the Truth about this spiritual universe and it also declares the Truth about false belief, considering everything which is opposed to good as an accumulation of human thought, the collective negative suggestion of the race.
Wrong conditions are resolved into false beliefs, and through the use of right ideas a transformation of thought takes place. We learn to build our ideas upon an affirmative rather than a negative factor. To state the Truth and deny or disregard that which in belief is opposed to it, is to prove that the Principle of the Science of Mind is actual.
The problem with this notion is that once we embrace the belief that our negative thoughts cause our problems, we all become responsible for whatever circumstance we find ourselves entrenched in. There is no longer any place for the idea of injustice and compassion for the downtrodden. No one would be downtrodden, after all, if they just turned their negative thinking around.
A Christian cult-watch organization places the Institute of Religious Science into the "Mind Therapy Cults" along with Scientology, and more importantly with Silva Mind Control, and says that it is "often mixed with the occult". So what is the concept doing in the Roman Catholic Church?
Vibrant Parish Life is the program instituted in Cleveland by Bishop Pilla which uses the same technique used to put United Religions Initiative on the world stage, so once again there is an association with the type of syncretism promoted by Rosicrucians and by Religious Science. Called Appreciative Inquiry, the technique was pioneered at Case Western Reserve University by Dr. David L. Cooperrider. Lee Penn has covered Appreciative Inquiry in his book, FALSE DAWN, including its use in founding United Religions Initiative. Lee wrote:
URI activist Paul Chaffee says, "Appreciative Inquiry is an expression of postmodern social constructionism. As such it is preoccupied with language, learning, relationship, and generativity in living systems--and spends little if any time with 'objective reality' or 'absolutes,' including the ultimate truth or the 'right way to do something." Thus, AI incorporates the notion that tradition is of little lasting value, commonly perceived reality is an illusion, morality is relative, we can collectively create new realities, and that acting upon all of this nonsense represents "conscious evolution."
One Appreciative Inquiry website explains what essentially amounts to the Rosicrucian secret:
Appreciative Inquiry provides leaders with a methodology to focus on the positive instead of the negative. Rather than focusing mainly on problems, it elicits solutions. I...hope that community college [and other] leaders realize the potential for this valuable tool.
It can be seen on the Diocese of Cleveland website that Appreciative Inquiry is used in the interview process. If this is a methodology for "creating new realities", what new realities does the Diocese of Cleveland intend to create?
Given that the leader of my group at the Vibrant Parish Life town meeting was convinced that we could get along nicely without priests, and given the development of lay-led parishes that we are seeing here in Cleveland, perhaps this paragraph on home churches:
The word "Church" is often misunderstood. Far from indicating an institution, it is derived from the Greek word "ecclesia",or "edah" in Hebrew which means an assembly of people called for a particular purpose, in this case the community of Jesus' disciples who live life by following his teachings. Before there were institutional churches, people gathered for private worship in their homes, just as Mar Yeshua, the Master Jesus, had done with his close disciples. The spiritual intimacy of the Havurah Seder or sacred meal developed into the Holy Communion or Eucharist of the Christian churches. We carry on this tradition of home church or house based worship.
Unfortunately that passage comes from a Gnostic Church website.
STATING WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES ILLEGAL IN BELGIUM
Belgian homosexual activists have brought charges against Mgr André-Mutien Léonard, the Roman-Catholic bishop of Namur, for homophobia, a criminal offence in Belgium according to the country’s 2003 Anti-Discrimination Act. In an interview last April in the Walloon weekly Télé Moustique, the bishop is said to have described homosexuals as “abnormal” people.
Read the rest...
Hat tip to NOR.
PAYING ATTENTION TO BISHOPS
In Sandro Magister's article, linked at NOR, which talks about Benedict's reform of the curia, or rather lack of it, this short passage appears near the end:
Much more than curia appointments, Benedict XVI has at heart the appointment of bishops.
He dedicates much greater attention to these than John Paul II did. Before giving his permission, the pope keeps the dossiers of the designates on his desk for up to two or three weeks. And sometimes he rejects them, without giving an explanation to the competent curia dicastery presided over by cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.
Pope Ratzinger is very demanding; he wants bishops of quality, and doesn’t always find them. The pace of episcopal appointments has fallen by a quarter with him, in comparison with the previous pontificate.
That sounds good.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
CO-HABITATION = GROWING INTO GRACE ?
Michael J. Lawler, Director of the Creighton (Jesuit) University's Center for Marriage and Family, has called for the Catholic Church "to allow unmarried couples to live together and have sex as long as they were formally engaged."
Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss responded with a letter to the editor of the Fremont Tribune discrediting Lawler and his co-researcher Gail Risch as Catholic theologians and dissociated the university center from the archdiocese.
Read the story here.
"INSIDE THE VATICAN" NEWWSFLASH !
URGENT: Motu Proprio To Be Published July 7/07
June 27, 2007 -- VATICAN CITY -- Inside the Vatican has learned that Pope Benedict XVI intends to publish his motu proprio on the old Mass on July 7, 2007.
The report comes from the Vatican correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, Paul Badde. He reports today that the motu proprio liberating the Tridentine Mass for the entire Catholic Church has been given to about 30 bishops from all over the world in the Sala Bologna of the Apostolic Palace by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.
The bishops had come to Rome precisely for this meeting.
At the end of the meeting, in which the motu proprio was introduced together with a letter of explanation by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Benedict met with the bishops.
The document is about three pages long, the accompanying letter about four.
From Germany, Cardinal Lehmann had been invited.
The circumstances of the procedure make clear that the Pope was very interested to personally inform the bishops, in collegial manner, of the content rather than from the media. The publication of both documents will take place on July 7th.
It emphasizes the unity of the Roman Rite which will consist of an ordinary and an extraordinary form which are supposed to inspire each other. The ordinary/regular form will continue to be the new rite of 1969. The extraordinary form will be the Missal of Bl. John XXIII. of 1962.
The German news service Kath.net has picked up this story, and you can find it at this link: http://www.kath.net/detail.php?id=17154
Lakeside Temple of Practical Christianity, a New Thought church located in Oakland, CA, first met at the Masonic Temple and subsequently built their own facility. The church is currently independent but follows the Unity and Religious Science philosophy. On their website the Q&A webpage answers the following question:
I am a member of another church, temple, ashram...Can I retain my membership there if I join here?
Of course. Our only requirement of members is that you apply what you are learning here in your daily living. We believe every major religion sprang from the impulse to attune ourselves with the Divine; therefore, we feel Truth lies within each.
In a similar vein the organization Religious Science International, which teaches Holmes Science of Mind offers:
We believe in every church and in all forms of worship. Above all, we certainly believe in God! Because Truth is Infinite, It must be continuously unfolding in our consciousness and no one will ever have a complete understanding of Truth. A complete understanding of Truth would be a complete understanding of God, and a complete comprehension of God would be to become God. We know that more light will be given as we use that which we have. We repudiate any belief which says that all of Truth has been given.
The Lodge subscribes to a similar philosophy.
On the website of the Grand Lodge of Alaska you can read the following:
Basic Principles. Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. It requires of its members a belief in God as part of the obligation of every responsible adult, but advocates no sectarian faith or practice. Masonic ceremonies include prayers, both traditional and extempore, to reaffirm each individual's dependence on God and to seek divine guidance. Freemasonry is open to men of any faith, but religion may not be discussed at Masonic meetings....
The Supreme Being. Masons believe that there is one God and that people employ many different ways to seek, and to express what they know of God. Masonry primarily uses the appellation, "Grand Architect of the Universe," and other non-sectarian titles, to address the Deity. In this way, persons of different faiths may join together in prayer, concentrating on God, rather than differences among themselves. Masonry believes in religious freedom and that the relationship between the individual and God is personal, private, and sacred....
Freemasonry Supports Religion. Freemasonry is far from indifferent toward religion. Without interfering in religious practice, it expects each member to follow his own faith and to place his Duty to God above all other duties. Its moral teachings are acceptable to all religions.
Like the Lakeside Temple, the Lodge welcomes members of any faith, and believes that all faiths are valid expressions of truth. There is room within the philosophy of Freemasonry to accommodate a large variety of beliefs. Freemasonry is a supplement to religion, as is Lakeside Temple. Both address morality and prayer.
I would submit that within Roman Catholicism there is a place set aside to do the same thing...an area of belief set apart that will accommodate a variety of religions on an equal basis. I believe that is the area of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, something new which derives from Vatican II, and which was not a part of the Roman Catholic faith prior to Vatican II.
Interreligious dialogue is practiced all over the Catholic landscape. It's philosophy is spelled out in Cardinal Ratzinger's book TRUTH AND TOLERANCE:
...the belief that there is indeed truth, valid and binding truth, within history itself, in the figure of Jesus Christ and in the faith of the Church, is referred to as fundamentalism, which appears as the real assault upon the spirit of the modern age and, manifested in many forms, as the fundamental threat to the highest good of that age, freedom and tolerance. Thus to a great extent the concept of dialogue, which certainly held an important place in the Platonic and in the Christian tradition, has acquired a different meaning. 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. Dialogue, it is said, has to be an exchange between positions that are fundamentally of equal status and thus mutually relative, with the aim of achieving a maximum of cooperation and integration between various religious bodies and entities.(Page 120, bolding mine)
While Cardinal Ratzinger does not agree with this philosophy, his actions at the mosque where he prayed are in agreement with it. In other pockets of ecumenical activity and interreligious activity within our Church there are similar relativistic actions. While the words of relativism are not spoken, the actions of joint prayer services or mutual exchange of prayer services, or Hindu services on a Catholic altar all speak of this belief that all religions are equal.
Just as the Lodge and the New Thought churches can be used as supplements to religion, ecumenical/interreligious dialogue is also a supplement to the Roman Catholic faith. We are not required to participate in these services in order to be saved. We can practice our religion quite validly without attending them. But they are there, they are advertised. They are religious. And we are encouraged to participate. And as Cardinal Ratzinger has stated, they are relativistic--just as relativistic as the Lodge and the New Thought church. They share a focus on peace as the New Thought churches and the Lodge do. They all diminish the saving power of Jesus Christ by placing Him on an equal playing field with other gods. Do they all derive from the same source?
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
RELIGIOUS SCIENCE IN A CHRISTIAN BROTHERS LETTER
Today it is a wonderful reality that the majority of
our Scholasticates are basically oriented towards in-
tegrated training in religious science and education.
This no doubt will help to promote the pastoral min-
istry aspect of our mission of evangelization as
Brothers in the future because one of the dangers for
us today with the reduction in the number of Broth-
ers is that the Brothers may be only in administrative
posts, and normally these positions do not provide
for relating with students directly.
(Source: page 56 of Pastoral Letter to the Brothers Associated with the God of the Kingdom and the Kingdom of God)
RELIGIOUS SCIENCE IN THEOSOPHICAL PUBLICATION
For no science is complete which leaves out any department of nature, whether visible or invisible, and that religion which, depending solely on an assumed revelation, turns away from things and the laws which govern them is nothing but a delusion, a foe to progress, an obstacle in the way of man's advancement toward happiness. Embracing both the scientific and the religious, Theosophy is a scientific religion and a religious science.
(AN OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, William Q. Judge, chapter 1. Book first published in 1893 by Theosophical University Press)
LEVADA TO BE REPLACED ?
The following bit appears in an editorial by Alessandro Zangrando, in the Summer 2007 issue of "Latin Mass Magazine", titled "The Appointments and the Disappointments of Pope Benedict":
Another thorn in the side for Benedict is "his" Congregation, that of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Office. William Cardinal Levada doesn't appear to have the acumen necessary for that position. In addition, it is public knowledge that there are frequent tensions between Levada and the Secretary of the same Congregation, the Salesian Angelo Amato. The move to replace Levada may involve sending him to the United States to head an American diocese. Speculation points to New York when the 75-year-old Edward Cardinal Egan retires. There are also rumors of transferring him to Washington, D.C.
The first names are already circulating regarding the replacement of Levada. Among them is the Austrian Cardinal, Christoph Schonborn, author of a recent forceful critique of evolution. Included as well, is Angelo Cardinal Scola, Patriarch of Venice, an intellectual of great depth, moderate in manner, and admired by the Pope.
A third name that surfaces, though much feared by conservatives, is that of Bruno Forte, Bishop of Chieti, who for a long time has had his eye on that Dicastery. He is a much discussed theologian of hyper-progressive leanings who recently has tackled the subject of the Resurrection in very ambiguous terms. Very close to the mind of the superecumenical Cardinal Kasper, Forte enjoys the friendship of the philosopher-mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari. Cacciari was invited to introduce the Pope's most recent book, together with Cardinal Schonborn.
UNITED CHURCH OF RELIGIOUS SCIENCE BOOKS
I did an Amazon search for books on Religious Science. Among the titles that turned up were the following:
SETTING LOVE IN ORDER: HOPE AND HEALING FOR THE HOMOSEXUAL by Mario Bergner
NEW THOUGHT LIBRARY SCIENCE OF MIND by Ernest Holmes and Jean Houston
A CHALLENGE TO LOVE: GAY AND LESBIAN CATHOLICS IN THE CHURCH by Robert Nugent
HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE POLITICS OF TRUTH by Jeffrey Satinover
ZENIT INTERVIEW - MASONRY, ATHEISM AND CATHOLICISM
Yesterday NOR linked a Zenit interview with the author of THE MASONIC PLOT, Father Manuel Guerra, a recent book published in Spanish by Styria. The following is taken from the interview:
Q: Does Masonry substitute itself for religion?
Father Guerra: Masonry, in line with one of its products, the New Age, prefers to use the term "spirituality," which has a more subjective resonance than the term "religion."
Some Masons say that they are Christians and deny that Masonry is a religion. They should rather recognize that they belong to two religions: the Catholic one and the Masonic one.
But in fact, at least for many, above all for the Masons who are agnostics and deists, Masonry is a substitute for religion. Indeed, Masonry is called a "religion" and sometimes "the religion" in Masonic writings and those of Masons.
TERM RELIGIOUS SCIENCE USED IN "WHAT SHALL MASONS READ"
the title of a paper presented at the MasonicWorld website. The following passage appears in paragraph four.
The Master's admonition to the newly-made brother to be a
lover of the arts and sciences should go further, and advise
him to give attention to moral and religious science, so that
he may attain and possess all the virtues which tend to make
men valuable members of society.
The paper appears to be dated 1880.
RELIGIOUS SCIENCE CHURCHES MEET IN MASONIC LODGES
The Baylight Church of Religious Science is returning next month to Los Altos, the place of its founding.
The church, which emphasizes an open-minded, self-empowerment spin on traditional Christian beliefs, will begin holding services at the Los Altos Masonic Lodge, 146 Main St.
North Shore Center for Spiritual Living
Religious Science International
Association for Global New Thought
International New Thought Alliance
Evanston Masonic Temple
1453 Maple Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
The Religious Science Church of Princeton
We meet every Sunday at 10:10 a.m. at the Central Jersey Masonic Lodge located on River Road outside of Princeton, NJ. The first fifteen minutes is a healing meditation, the celebration service follows at 10:30 a.m. Our Lessons are based on The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes.
First Church of Religious Science of White Plains
First Church of Religious Science of White Plains
262 Martine Ave.
White Plains, New York
Glendale Church of Religious Science
244 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale, CA
Visions Center of Religious Science
Our New Meeting Location is: Evergreen Masonic Center
5801 Chicago Ave, Riverside, CA 92506
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
"POLAND HAS GREAT INTEREST IN PSYCHIC TOPICS"
I DID not know what awaited me when I was invited to conduct a series of inner mind development seminars in Warsaw and Poznan by the Institute of Valeology headed by Irena Galinska-Musiol.
Since Poland is 95-percent Catholic, an even higher percentage than the Philippines', I expected a greater degree of resistance to my ideas and teachings.
I was wrong! Over 200 people attended my Introductory Lecture at the Ethnological Museum in Warsaw.
I was featured in "The Unknown World," the largest esoteric magazine in Poland, interviewed on television and on radio. Another well-known publication in Poznan, whose name roughly translates into "Fortune Teller Magazine" but actually features metaphysical and spiritual topics, also did a long interview with me.
It was a dizzying and hectic 12-day trip. My wife Yoly, who accompanied me, complained that she hardly had time to do some shopping and sightseeing. But I told her this first trip would not be the last but was only the beginning. This turned out to be correct.
The institute asked me to sign a three-year contract to conduct a series of seminars in Poland. Another agreement I signed was a contract for the Institute to translate and publish three of my books into Polish. The books are "Soulmates, Karma & Reincarnation," "The Magicians of God" and "Exploring the Powers of Your Inner Mind."
Read the rest...
While you're reading, don't miss that little tidbit at the end of the article:
Before I left Warsaw, I was told that they got money from the EU to fund a seminar on Creative Thinking and Problem Solving. Next March I will be back in Poland to teach this subject and conduct my other inner mind development seminars.
So, does the EU fund Catholic programs too?
APPLAUDING THE HOMILIST
What was I saying just the other day...? The time of applause has arrived in Hartford. Speaker or spiritual leader? Can the standing ovation be far behind?
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHIMERA ?
Or does something semi-human that should never have been conceived have a right to life once it has been?
The U.K. Telegraph reports:
Human-animal hybrid embryos conceived in the laboratory - so-called “chimeras” - should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them, the Roman Catholic Church said yesterday.
Under draft Government legislation to be debated by Parliament later this year, scientists will be given permission for the first time to create such embryos for research as long as they destroy them within two weeks.
But the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, in a submission to the Parliamentary joint committee scrutinising the draft legislation, said that the genetic mothers of “chimeras” should be able to raise them as their own children if they wished.
The bishops said that they did not see why these “interspecies” embryos should be treated any differently than others.
The wide-ranging draft Human Tissue and Embryo Bill, which aims to overhaul the laws on fertility treatment, will include sections on test tube babies, embryo research and abortion. Ministers say that the creation of animal-human embryos - created by injecting animal cells or DNA into human embryos or human cells into animal eggs - will be heavily regulated.
They insist that it will be against the law to implant “chimeras” - named after the mythical creature that was half man and half animal - into a woman’s womb.
CATHOLIC ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE
Catholic World News reports Italian journalist Vittorio Messori is setting up a non-profit Catholic Anti-Defamation League to combat inaccuracies in mass media.
RELIGIOUS SCIENCE AS ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE
In the Apostolic Constitution on Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties, "Sapientia Christiana", John Paul II lists "religious science" as one of the academic disciplines in which degrees may be granted.
According to a passage in the foreword, this document is a departure from the previous structure of universities as a result of decisions made at Vatican II:
To meet these new demands, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, responding to the mandate received from the Council, already in 1967 began to study the question of renewal along the lines indicated by the Council. On May 20, 1968, it promulgated the Normae quaedam ad Constitutionem Apostolicam "Deus Scientiarum Dominus" de studies academicis ecclesiasticis recognoscendam, which has exercised a beneficial influence during recent years.
Now, however, this work needs to be completed and perfected with a new law. This law, abrogating the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus and the Norms of Application attached to it, as well as the Normae quaedam published on May 20, 1968, by the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, includes some still valid elements from these documents, while laying down new norms whereby the renewal that has already successfully begun can be developed and completed.
The document was to have been promulgated by Pope Paul VI. He died before promulgating it.
Therefore, the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, by command of my Predecessor Pope Paul VI, has consulted first of all, the Ecclesiastical Universities and Faculties themselves, then, the departments of the Roman Curia and the other bodies interested. After this, it established a commission of experts who, under the direction of the same Congregation, have carefully reviewed the legislation covering ecclesiastical academic studies.
This work has now been successfully completed, and Pope Paul VI was about to promulgate this Constitution, as he so ardently desired to do, when he died; likewise Pope John Paul I was prevented by sudden death from doing so. After long and careful consideration of the matter, I decree and lay down, by my apostolic authority, the following laws and norms.
Two lists of academic disciplines in the document include the discipline of "religious science."
The discipline takes an objective view of religions from the outside looking in as nearly as I can determine from this website.
Religious science opposes theology. Theology takes an exclusive view of religion, believing that the particular religion under study is the one true religion. Religious science views all religions subjectively, attempting to sort out truth from error in each of them.
The discipline was created in response to globilization which is bringing a variety of religions together within a common culture.
What happens to a person's faith, however, when all religions are studied objectively? Can a belief that Catholicism is the one true faith survive objective study of multiple religions, or is this objectivity the source of our disintegration? Does finding truth in many religions preclude the possibility of believing in one religious tradition exclusively?
In any case, this academic discipline of religious science exists in numerous places around the Catholic globe, particularly in Europe:
The faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) has it.
Antonio Cardinal Canizares Llovera, a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, is director and professor of the Institute of Religious Science and Catechesis "San Damaso", Madrid.
Domenico Sorrentino teaches at the Institute of Religious Science at Nola.
Alberto Melloni heads the Institute of Religious Science at the University of Bologna.
Professor Giuseppe Alberigo is associated with the Institute of Religious Science in Bologna.
The Archdiocese of Changanassery has Institutes for Higher Studies in Religious Sciences
Fr. Cosimo Pagliara, O. Carm. teaches Sacred Scripture at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in Bari.
That's just a sampling.
While none of this rejects Catholicism, it does open up a doorway to an equal treatment of multiple religious traditions. That concept is a core teaching of New Thought, so it is not entirely out of the question that Ernest Holmes' religious movement of Religious Science would find a place somewhere among the various subjects in the Catholic Religious Science curriculum of our universities, though it would not be the only religion being explored. The argument for learning about various religions is the desire for peace in the world. That is no different in Holmes' Religious Science than it is in the Religious Science disciplines of Catholic institutions. Still, peace at what price?
Time offers an interesting story on Alighiero Tondi, Jesuit, lecturer at the Gregorian in Rome:
Alighiero Tondi always wanted to believe in something—if possible, rationally. He entered the Jesuit order in Rome 16 years ago with this in mind. "I was confident," he recalled, "that scientific proofs of Catholic truth existed." In 16 years as a Jesuit, he made his mark. His lectures to young people at Gregorian University's institute for laymen—on "religious science"—were immensely successful. Superiors admitted that Father Tondi could chase away spiritual doubts among Rome's younger generation "as no one else could."
Secretly this skillful curer of souls began to doubt the rational proofs of Catholicism as not so all-inclusive as he had hoped. He began to investigate "scientific" philosophies. One seemed especially satisfying, since it held forth the "scientific possibility of dominating national and social events." In the Italian elections of 1948, Father Tondi, on the surface an ardent worker for Italy's Catholic Action movement, voted for the Communist Party.
The article goes on to recount how one day Tondi walked out of the Greg and his Catholic faith and joined the Communist Party.
Another Gregorian lecturer, Father Giovanni Magnani, said by this source to be the founder of the Institute of Religious Science at the Greg, wrote a book that raised many eyebrows. The book has apparently been withdrawn, I can't find it on the web. But check out what the Christia Archives has to say about it. You can also read about the book here. (Scroll down to second entry.) Is this where religious science leads?
Incidentally, the Vatican Observatory holds conferences at the Greg. I mention that because the observatory is located at Castegandolfo where the New Thought seminar run with the cooperation of Focolare was held.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Lucy E. Carroll over at Adoremus Bulletin critiques communion hymns, looking for the ways the words we sing undermine our belief in Real Presence, including this comment on the hymn the borgs sang to God on their way up to receive the Eucharist last Saturday night:
This confusion continues as some hymns now tell us that we are to become the bread of life:
I myself am the bread of life
You and I are the bread of life
Taken and blessed, broken and shared by Christ.
(verse 2) This is our body
This is our blood
Living sign of God in Christ
(Rory Cooney: "Bread of Life". Text © 1987 NALR, published by OCP Publications).
So, are we all involved in this act of consecration? This is our blood? Is it any wonder Catholics are confused? It is only Jesus Christ who is the Bread of Life! And that bread is His Body, that wine becomes His Blood.
After reading this article, it is easy to see that the best thing Catholics can do in the contemporary Church is to refrain from singing ANY communion hymn until this abomination gets cleaned up. We might even manage to slip in a private word of welcome to the God who saves us provided we can drown out the annoying heresy set to music.
I wonder if these heretical hymns were concocted deliberately?
At this point, those of us who still believe in Transubstantiation should want to stand up and hurl those little paperback hymnals out the window.
Marty Haugen and many others whose music appear in Catholic worship aids are not Catholic; their interpretation of the Eucharist cannot be ours.
I can think of another place to hurl the books. Someone, afterall, who knows better is allowing this heresy to be sung in his church!
DENVER, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
What: Unveiling of Catholic Church's "For Your Marriage" Public Service Ads, Web (http://www.foryourmarriage.org/) Campaign Where: Adam's Mark Hotel, Denver When: Wednesday, June 27, 4:30 p.m. MT Who: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver Chairman, U.S. Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family
The U.S. bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family will introduce a unique Public Service Announcement and Web campaign to highlight the value of marriage and to provide supports for engaged and married couples.
Read the rest...
Here's the ad.
THE "DEVOUT" CATHOLIC
Heh! Check out the challenge to the L. A. Times at NewsBusters:
What do you call a guy who leaves the priesthood, rejects fundamental doctrine of the Catholic Church, and propagates egregious falsehoods about Catholics? If you're the Los Angeles Times, you call him a "Devout Catholic" - in your headline. Un·be·liev·a·ble.
The subject in a fawning article in the Times is James Carroll. A new documentary film is based on his 2001 book, Constantine's Sword, an awful work that advances the premise that anti-Semitism is central to Catholicism and Christianity.
Who is James Carroll? Here's your first hint: He writes for the Boston Globe. But quite simply, "James Carroll is a professional anti-Catholic," as author/catechist Oswald Sobrino has aptly written. He is an "anti-Catholic Catholic." Even the Times acknowledges that he "rejects the very roots of [the Church's] doctrine." Yet this is the Times' idea of a "devout Catholic"?!?
And Carroll's premise that Catholicism is rooted in anti-Semitism has been roundly discredited. Carroll's terrible work was addressed over several pages in the excellent book by Philip Jenkins, The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice.
I guess the LA Times has taken up writing fiction. Who knew?
PHILIPPINE ARCHDIOCESE DRESS CODE
What to wear for church:
Under the dress code, women should not wear short skirts, skimpy shorts, sleeveless blouses, tank tops or spaghetti-strap tops and plunging necklines in church, while men should avoid caps, shorts and basketball jerseys.
The archdiocese instead recommends that women wear blouses, corporate or office attire, school uniforms or long gowns, while men wear shirts, jeans or slacks.
Pity the American bride if this catches on!!
It's an odd term. Science is based on repeatable verifiable data. Religion is based on a belief in something that can't be seen. How can they come together? The term is vaguely reminiscent of Rudolf Steiner's "spiritual-science". Steiner was a Rosicrucian Mason, founder of the religion of Anthroposophy which relies on clairvoyance.
I happened to be reading a story on the "Chilean bishops requests study on satanic groups" at the Catholic News Agency website the other day. The story opens this way:
Bishop Manuel Camilo Vial of Temuco, Chile, has requested the Institute of Religious Science at the local Catholic university conduct a study on the satanic groups that exist in the region.
Huh? Institute of Religious Science at a Catholic University? What could that be?
Further digging brought up "Roman Opus Dei Institute Becomes Pontifical University":
The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross includes schools of theology, canon law, and philosophy as well as Apollinare Institute of Religious Science.
And a USCCB webpage:
Lasma Latsone of Latvia graduated from Fordham University with a PhD in Religion and Religious Education in the spring of 2004. She was sponsored by the Office to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe at the United States Bishops’ Conference. Today back in Latvia she teaches religion at the Institute of Religious Science and the Pedagogical Academy, and she is involved in the newly-established Latvian Catholic Women’s Association.
Then there was the story on the evolution of the University of St. Thomas Aquinas at Answers.com:
On July 2, 1964, the Superior Institute of Religious Science for the laity, Mater Ecclesiae, was incorporated into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Several other Institutes of theological and philosophical studies are affiliated with the University.
On the Vatican website I found:
Visit of Cardinal Daoud to Egypt for celebrations commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Seminary of Maadi and the 25th Anniversary of the Institute of Religious Science of Sakakini (November 7-11, 2003)
I don't get it. And my efforts to find out what exactly this Catholic religious science was about have been a failure so far, even though I found this discipline or school or theology--whatever it is--in Catholic places in Lebanon, Lucerne, Madrid, and Naples.
There is a Religious Science International whose mission statement indicates:
The mission of Religious Science International, as a world religion with world concerns, is to create an environment that nurtures and celebrates the individualized, authentic expression of Spirit through the principles of the Science of the Mind.
Ok, what is "Science of Mind" about? That question led me to Ernest Holmes, the Founder of Religious Science, where I read:
The philosophy of Religious Science is found in a textbook written by Dr. Holmes called, The Science of Mind. It was first published in 1926 and revised in 1938.
The book is online here. Yikes! "The State of Trance," "Normal Psychic Capacities," "Abnormal Psychic Powers," "Clairvoyance"...and that's just the first page. And across the top of the website the words "New Thought Library", "Read New Thought Online".
Excuse me! can this be the same thing that is turning up in a school at Catholic institutions? Are the Catholics studying this so as to address it or so as to embrace it? So far I haven't been able to find the answer.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
CHURCH AND LOGGIA
Rorate Caeli has blogged on "Church and Loggia" using a quote from Sandro Magister's blog:
At the annual "Lodge meeting" of the Grand Lodge of Italy, assembled at the Palacongressi [Covention Hall] of Rimini, from March 31 to April 2, a distinguished presence among the orators was that of the South-Tyrolese [altoatesino] priest Paul Renner, director of the Institute of Religious Sciences of the Diocese of Bolzano since 1984.
During the occation, the Grand Lodge edited and published a CD with music of Freemason Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And in the website of the Grand Lodge, the presentation of the CD is written and signed by Giovanni Carli Ballola, a well-known music critic, but who also is a deacon incardinated in the Diocese of Rome, in [actual] service to a Parish.
Not only that. In the April issue of the "JESUS" magazine, Carli Ballola publishes a Letter to the Editor in which, "as an observant Catholic", he expresses his "conviction that reciprocal incomprehensions and prejudices between the Catholic world and the Masonic environment shall, sooner or later, arrive at honest clarifications."
Carli Ballola writes that he has "very dear friends, estimable in every level" among Masons. And he defines the rituals of the Grand Lodge as "deeply touching for the expressions of inner peace, efforts for moral and material assistance, fraternal love which is expressed in tangible signs such as the triple embrace".
Read the whole thing here, including the statement from Cardinal Ratzinger, issues in 1983, which reinstates the condemnation of the Lodge.
THE MAGIC FLUTE
I brought home from the library and watched "The Magic Flute" the other night--Ingmar Bergman's version of Mozart's opera in Swedish with English subtitles.
"The Magic Flute" is sometimes said to be Mozart's most popular opera, and more often called his "Masonic opera". Now I know why. There is a detailed description of the story at that link. It's basically a love story, but part of the story line includes a Brotherhood lodge with a table full of priests, and an initiation that includes a trial by ordeal involving water and fire. There is a wicked queen, said on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia website to be Maria Theresa. According to the same website the evil spirits who cooperate with her "are the Catholic Church." Sarastro, the high priest of Isis and Osiris and Grand Master of the Lodge "is Joseph II, or any other well-meaning autocrat who protected the Freemasons."
The website claims that not only Mozart, but also the librettist, Emanuel Schickaneder, was a Mason, and provides a quote about the opera from another Mason, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
It is enough that the crowd would find pleasure in seeing the spectacle; at the same time, its high significance will not escape the initiates.
Another webpage in the British Columbia website offers this analysis of Mozart's Masonic involvement:
Many of Mozart’s early contacts were Masons, some of them close friends. Others were members of Illuminati circles flourishing at the time. In Paris, the Comte de Cagliostro — not a charlatan as certain vested interests to this day would have us believe — tried to purify the existing Masonic lodges in France, and finally set up his own "Egyptian Rite" which admitted women as well as men in a kind of "Adoption" adjunct. Some suggest that Mozart knew Cagliostro and that the name Sarastro, given by the composer to the High Priest of Isis and Osiris, was an allusion to Cagliostro. More generally, however, the name is thought to have been derived from that of Zoroaster or Zarathustra, a reformer of the ancient Persian religion.
Mozart's music, of course, is wonderful. The opera, itself, would not be of particular interest, and could be easily dismissed as the piece of music to ignore because it belongs to the "other gospel", were it not that Pope Benedict is such a fan of the composer.
The matter of this opera is addressed directly in an article at Catholic Education Resource Center. Titled "Pope Benedict XVI, Mozart and the Quest of Beauty" In this article you can read that "Benedict was playing Mozart on his piano on the Sunday afternoon following his installation as Pope..." You can read the Pope's words from a ten-year-old interview:
...the largest and most important and best parts of my youth I spent in Traunstein, which very much reflects the influence of Salzburg. You might say that there Mozart thoroughly penetrated our souls, and his music still touches me very deeply, because it is so luminous and yet at the same time so deep.
Mozart, a Freemason, has penetrated Benedict's soul with luminous music. Was ecumenism part of that penetration? Certainly the Assisi events had much more in common with the Masonic Lodge than with the Roman Catholic Church.
The article goes on to quote von Balthasar "a close friend of Cardinal Ratzinger". In referring to "The Magic Flute" Balthasar wrote:
What must appear everywhere else as a vain image of fantasy or even of blasphemy--the definitive revelation of eternal beauty in a genuine earthly body--may well have become blessed reality just once, here, in the realm of the Catholic Incarnation.
Except that "The Magic Flute" is about the priests who worship the gods Isis and Osiris.
And again, from the article, comes Balthasar's tribute to Mozart:
Do we not come from God and return to him, passing through the waters and fires of time, suffering and death? And why should we not permit ourselves to be led through the dissonances of our existence by theZauberflote, a tremendous adumbration of love, light and glory, eternal truth and harmony?
So when did the worship of Isis and Osiris become eternal truth and harmony for a Catholic theologian?
The article quoted the Pope's brother Georg responding to the question "Does it disturb you that Mozart was a Freemason?":
It isn't for me to pass judgement on Mozart. He was a man with many difficulties arising from the period he lived in, and from the circumstances of his life. The issue of his Freemasonry disturbs me insofar as he was not only an ordinary member, but attained the rank of Master, and wanted to found his own lodge.
Could Georg Ratzinger pass judgment on Isis and Osiris, one wonders?
The article goes on to claim that "No thoughtful Catholic will have difficulty distinguishing Mozart's music from his Freemasonry..." Oh really? In "The Magic Flute" they are bound up together like a cat is bound up with its fur.
Something is wrong in Rome!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Viva Cristo Rey!