Saturday, December 06, 2008
Susanna has just posted some informative comments about Rama Coomaraswamy in a previous thread entitled "The Dangers of the Far Right".
RUSSIAN PATRIARCH DEAD
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexi II died yesterday:
Moscow - Alexi II, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, died at his home Friday at the age of 79, reported the church.
Alexi II was the head of the church in Russia since 1990. Born Alexei Ruediger, he had ethnic ties to Germany and the Baltic region.
While Alexi II had backed incremental moves to improve ties to the Catholic church, he had, until his death, opposed a visit to Russia by the Catholic pope, arguing that the Catholic church was trying to proselytize in Russia.
Speculation about his replacement has already begun.
Friday, December 05, 2008
MORE ON RAMA COOMARASWAMY
There is a war of sorts going on with the Traditionalists and their opponent, Lucio Mascarenhas, a man who attempts to defend the Catholic faith against Traditionalism. He has an essay online here in which he sets out what he calls the heresy of Rene Guenon and places Coomaraswamy among the followers of this heresy. He writes:
Yet, Dr. Coomaraswamy, a married man, whose wife is living, wrote me that a Traditionalist bishop (I believe Lopez-Gaston and his disciple-bishops — Urbina-Aznar & Merrill Adamson) had "dispensed" him from the requirement of being celibate, and had both ordained him, and also "conferred" on him the title of Monsignor, which I believe only the Pope has the right to do. When I objected to this ordination, Coomaraswamy told me that I could accept his ordination if I wanted to, or ignore it if I did not want to.
The problems over Coomaraswamy are particularly severe. His mother was the "4th wife" of his father, and both were non-Catholics (He was a Protestant who became, in 1907, a Hindu; she a Jewess). The problems are obvious. I believe that no responsible bishop should have ordained him. Worse, Rama Coomaraswamy, who had taught many Lefebvre seminarians, including the present Bishops Kelly, Dolan, Sanborn, Frs. Cekada, etc., at the Lefebvrist seminary in New England, should himself have known enough not to accept ordination!
My conclusion after reading Traditionalist literature a few years ago was similar to Mascarenhas'. Traditionalism posits that religions are equal, and one tradition must be chosen and lived. Yet from within this position, living one tradition requires that all other traditions are are viewed as false or at least inferior, which means that there is an internal contradiction within the Traditionalist philosophy that prevents it from having verity. Why the Lefebvrist seminary would take up Traditionalism, I can't actually imagine, but Coomaraswamy, a Guenonian Traditionalist, has contributed to an undermining of the Catholic Mass in the Lefebvrist style.
Parents are strongly influential on their children's religious convictions. That is why his father's involvement with Aleister Crowley is significant, and why his conversion to Catholicism is odd given his background. We don't know the whole story here, but it is somehow interwoven with the dangers on the extreme right in Catholicism. I suspect that in time someone a lot smarter than I am about philosophy and religion will piece it all together. In the meantime, associations with Aleister Crowley and the magical societies and practices with which he was involved are a large crimson flag waving the danger signal.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
THE DANGERS OF THE FAR RIGHT
Some of you may have read the book, THE PROBLEMS WITH THE NEW MASS. It was published in 1990, and set out a list of arguments against the changes that resulted from Vatican II. I found this book greatly disturbing when I read it shortly after publication and before the advent of flat-rate access to the web which happened in the early months of 1997. The book is still in print, and is still being offered in quantity discounts by TAN. Back in the early nineties, I ordered a quantity of them and gave them to several people I knew who were struggling with the changes made in the Church. It is the only time I have ever done such a thing. I was that impressed with the book.
The author is Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D., son of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and Coomaraswamy's fourth wife. Coomaraswamy was well known in Northeast American art circles for his work as curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and educated in London, he was a Sri Lankan Tamil legislator, a philosopher, an expert in geology, an Oriental art expert, and a metaphysician who developed the concept of the Perennial Philosophy. He wore many hats. He divorced his first wife, Ethel Mary Partridge, his third wife, Stella Bloch, and died while married to his fourth wife, Dona Luisa Runstein, who was the mother of Rama, the author of the book. (source: Wikipedia)
It is, however, Ananda's second wife who is of particular interest. She was English, and became famous as Ratan Devi, musician and singer of Indian songs. The Sunday Times' writer Richard Boyle's article on Ananda and his relationship with Aleister Crowley and Ratan Devi is posted online. The following is taken from that article which was sent in by a reader:
Coomaraswamy was then married to his second wife, Ratan Devi, who was a musician from Yorkshire. He had recently arrived in New York after a spell in India and, according to Crowley, 'introduced himself to me, knowing my reputation on Asiatic religions and Magick'. Coomaraswamy wanted to launch Ratan Devi's career in New York, and asked Crowley for his advice. Crowley invited the couple to dinner at his apartment so that Ratan Devi might perform part of her repertoire of Indian Songs.
He was impressed, for he describes her as possessing 'a strange seductive beauty and charm, but above all an ear so accurate and a voice so perfectly trained, that she was able to sing Indian music, which is characterized by half and quarter tones imperceptible to European ears'. Crowley introduced the Coomaraswamys to several influential people and wrote a prose poem about Ratan Devi's singing for Vanity Fair. Soon afterwards the singer made a successful debut, for which Crowley largely took credit, claiming that he had 'taught her how to let her genius loose at the critical moment'.
It was predictable that Crowley and Ratan Devi should fall in love. According to Crowley it was a situation that suited Coomaraswamy perfectly. 'The high cost of living was bad enough without having to pay for one's wife's dinner,' writes Crowley. 'All he asked was that I should introduce him to a girl who would be his mistress while costing him nothing. I was only too happy to oblige as I happened to know a girl with a fancy for weird adventures'.
There was even a suggestion of divorce, but when Ratan Devi's career began to blossom, Coomaraswamy apparently changed his mind. After that the relationship began to develop complications, especially when Ratan Devi became pregnant. Coomaraswamy persuaded her to go to England for the confinement against Crowley's will. The voyage caused a miscarriage which is what Crowley suspected Coomaraswamy wanted to happen.
When Ratan Devi returned to America, Crowley was in New Orleans and she wrote daily imploring him to go back to her. Crowley would only do so under one condition: that she make a clean break from Coomaraswamv and the past. This she was reluctant to do, for as Crowley explains, "Her unhappy temperament kept her at war with herself. She wouldn't burn her bridges. I maintained firm correctness and it all came to nothing'.
This is not the end of the saga, however. When writing of his relationship with Ratan Devi some years later, Crowley admitted that 'my heart is still not wholly healed'.
Mark Sedgwick, Traditionalist author known for his book AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD: TRADITIONALISM AND THE SECRET INTELLECTUAL HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, recounts the story of Crowley and Ananda Coomaraswamy in his bolg.
A MESSAGE FROM THE MAILBOX
Message from John Mallon
John Mallon is trying to assemble an email list of Blogs in the English speaking world, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He is currently working as Contributing Editor for Inside the Vatican magazine, doing media relations for Human Life International, and assisting at the Envoy Institute in a promotional capacity. He has two degrees in theology and frequently has items of interest to Catholic Bloggers worldwide. With 25 years of experience in the Catholic Press, he has found that major secular outlets are often closed to these messages. If you have or know of Blogs that would be interested in receiving press releases and other pertinent materials for your Blogs, he would very much appreciate getting a mailing list of these blogs for this purpose. This is not spam. Anyone not wishing to receive these materials will be removed from the list immediately upon request. Catholic Blogs are absolutely critical for spreading credible information on the Church. This mailing list could serve as a News Agency supplying news and other information to Catholic Blogs.
It is absolutely maddening trying to harvest emails off of Blogs, where people won't post their emails. He is only interested in people who want to receive these messages, not bothering anyone.
For more on John Mallon please visit his website at: http://johnmallon.net.
Please let me know if you can help.
Thanks & God bless you,
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
VATICAN AND U.N. DISAGREE OVER GAYS
As the United Nations prepares to receive a resolution urging more than 75 member nations to decriminalize homosexuality, the Vatican rears its well-coiffed head against the plan.
The Vatican's permanent observer to the UN told Reuters that the Holy See will oppose the resolution, which France is set to propose this month on behalf of and by unanimous consent of the 27-member European Union.
The reasoning: The Vatican fears ending penalties for gayness will lead to same-sex marriage. Countries that don't let gays wed "will be pilloried and made an object of pressure," and we can't have that.
THE HISTORY OF THE ADVENT WREATH
can be found here. It's not as old as you might think, and it wasn't a Catholic custom at its beginning. There are a variety of traditions associated with its various components, including the use of blue candles and the Christ candle. In the Orthodox Church it has six candles instead of four.
At Mass last Sunday I noticed that the Advent wreath has three blue and one red votive light in place of just candles.
CATHOLIC ? SCHOOLS
In a link from New Oxford Review, the Telegraph reports on the new desire for accommodation of other religions in Catholic schools:
A document issued by the Catholic Education Service said facilities for other faiths should be made available in all primary and secondary schools if possible.
Catholic schools in England and Wales should also consider adapting toilet facilities to accommodate ritual cleansing, the document said.
The guidance also said "respectful understanding" should be shown to pupils of other faiths who are withdrawn from or remain silent during Christian worship.
The advice - issued on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales – comes in response to new rules forcing all state schools to promote "community cohesion".
Schools must foster race relations and religious tolerance to stop communities becoming divided.
It followed a warning from the Commission for Racial Equality that Britain's segregated schools are "a ticking time bomb waiting to explode".
One can only ask Why? when the government schools already accommodate every faith. This would make of the Catholic school a redundancy.
Here in America public schools were founded to make of the next generation a melting pot of trained workers ready for the factories that were being erected. Now the Catholic school is poised to do the same thing across the pond? If it does, its very reason for existence will be gone.
According to the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog:
Nicholas Cafardi, a professor and former dean at Duquesne University's School of Law, made headlines earlier this year by writing that he was an anti-aboriton Catholic who was voting for Barack Obama.
Cafardi is churning the waters again. In this commentary for National Catholic Reporter, he writes that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has become a captive of the Republican Party:This captivity was again in evidence earlier this month in Baltimore as the bishops met. The more vocal bishops were obviously unhappy with the election results, and some of the more extreme statements, such as prohibiting the vice president elect from a return to the town of his birth unless he changes his ways, sound like Republican ward heelers. How did this happen? Why are these bishops acting like functionaries of the Republican Party?
HOW MUCH CAN A PARISH DEVIATE FROM CATHOLICISM AND STILL BE CATHOLIC ?
That seems to be a pretinent question for a Brisbane parish, St. Mary's. Catholic Online reports:
A letter from the Archbishop to the Administrator of St Mary's, Fr Peter Kennedy, dated 22 August 2008, set out a list of reasons why the parish could no longer be considered in communion with the Catholic Church.
The Archbishop wrote: 'The question for me is not so much whether St Mary's should be closed down, but whether St Mary's will close itself down by practices that separate it from communion with the Roman Catholic Church.'
A meeting of St Mary's parishioners yesterday endorsed a letter to Brisbane Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby that rejected a series of church demands.
The St Mary's parish and its priests, Peter Kennedy and Terry Fitzpatrick, may be excommunicated for their stand. Under pressure from the Vatican, Archbishop Bathersby had given the church until today to fall in line with orthodox standards.
The article lays out the heresy that has been imported into the Mass. Creative, but relatively meaningless when I tried to pin down what they were trying to say. It does look like just about anything goes so long as it's not according to the rubrics. It seems that a parish has to step WAY, WAY out of line before the authorities will intervene. A simple little bending of the rubrics here and there isn't going to invite condemnation.
I attended a Roman Catholic funeral in one of the Cleveland suburbs a few years ago. Both the layout of the church and the rite conducted had me wondering what religion was being practiced. I couldn't recognize in what was taking place any semblance of a Catholic Mass until the consecration which was at least recognizable. The funeral Mass had been turned into a call and response ritual between the priest and choir. It was discouragingly disorienting. There was no way to follow it as one would follow along in a missal. It was entirely strange and all I could do was sit there and observe. This Australian parish sounds like the same thing.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
WHEN BISHOPS GET FEISTY
December 1, 2008 (InSideCatholic.com) - An article published yesterday in the Scranton Times announced, "Bishop takes his place on the national stage with his staunch anti-abortion stance." Bishop Joseph F. Martino wasn't the only bishop who spoke boldly during the presidential campaign, but he was noticed, in part, because Scranton is Vice-President Elect Joe Biden's hometown.
Martino was also noticed because he quite literally crashed a seminar on "Faithful Citizenship" being held against his wishes at St. John's Catholic Church. Objecting to the spin being put on the bishops' conference document, Martino told those attending the seminar, "No social issue has caused the deaths of 50 million people," adding, "This is madness, people."
The Scranton Times rightly observes that Bishop Martino has not become a national figure merely because of his prominence during the election. But the article fails to note a very important and pertinent fact: Catholics in Pennsylvania did not vote for Barack Obama as they did nationally: Self-identified Catholics in Pennsylvania voted 52 percent to 48 percent for McCain.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this fact but made no attempt to discover the reasons for the anomaly. Pro-life activist Brian Gail from Philadelphia has no doubts as to the cause; he credits Scranton's bishop for this result: "One man did this, and did it all but singlehandedly. His name is Bishop Joe Martino.
STICKING HIS FOOT IN HIS MOUTH
The following is an opinion piece penned by James Drane from the Meadville Tribune:
Some bishops are doing serious damage to the Catholic Church in the United States.
During the presidential campaign these extreme right-wing bishops did their best to require Catholics to vote Republican. Their message was that Catholics are morally obligated to vote for a candidate who claims the pro-life label.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., Archbishop Raymond Burke and Bishop Robert Hermann from St. Louis, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Bishop Charles Chaput of Denver and Cardinal Regali of Philadelphia, are some of the most prominent of the extreme bishops. One big question facing today’s Catholic community is whether there is enough strength within the Catholic hierarchy to control the disposition of these bishops to use sacraments to push their political views. If not, who will stop the damage that they are doing to the Church?
Instead of taking advantage of the Barack Obama victory to celebrate the end of a period of racial intolerance and social injustice, these bishops do nothing but lament the refusal of Catholics to follow their voting directives. Instead of using the election outcome to call attention to the Catholic roots of Obama’s social justice agenda, these bishops continue to blame the Catholics who ignored their orders.
What James Drane doesn't seem to undersatand is the united position taken at the Bishop's Conference that sees a vote for FOCA as a vote against religious freedom for which the bishops stand united in opposition. As the District Chronicles puts it:
The leading U.S. Catholic prelate warned earlier this month that President-elect Barack Obama's promise to unify the country would be shattered if he pursues policies to increase access to abortion.
"If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion," said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis would be impossible to achieve."
"Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion," George said.
George's statement was unanimously approved by nearly 300 bishops in a closed-door session at the end of the bishops' semi-annual meeting, according to church officials.
BISHOP WOULD DEFY THE LAW
Bishop Paul Loverde of the Arlington, Va., diocese
(CNSNews.com) - Bishop Paul Loverde of the Roman Catholic diocese of Arlington, Va., said last week that if the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) should become law and a Catholic hospital in his diocese is forced to provide abortions, he would refuse to let the hospital comply, but he would also not close the institution.
Though there are no Catholic hospitals in his diocese, the bishop nevertheless was defiant: “I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m not going to close the hospital, you’re going to arrest me, go right ahead. You’ll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I’m not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap.’ ”
According to the catechism – or official teachings -- of the Catholic Church, Catholics are “obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel.”
Catholics may refuse to obey civil authorities, “when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience.”
Loverde addressed the crowd of mostly young adults at a diocesan event last Monday about the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
Read the rest...
FATHER NEWMAN HAS COMPANY
LifeSite reports that another priest has come out with a letter recommending confession to those Catholics who voted for Obama:
MODESTO, California, December 1, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A California priest has garnered international attention and strong praise for pointing out the moral peril of Catholics who voted for President-elect Barack Obama despite being aware of his agenda to aggressively promote abortion.
"If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position, and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion," wrote Fr. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in the Stockton diocese, in a letter to his parishioners. "Don't risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously."...
According to the Bee, the bishop of Stockton disagrees with Fr. Illo, saying Catholics should not feel compelled to disclose how they voted to their priest.
Bishop Stephen Blaire said Catholics who weighed several issues and nonetheless settled on Obama were not in need of confession, unless "someone voted for a pro-abortion or pro-choice candidate - if that's the reason you voted for them."
In a statement released today, Bishop Blaire emphasized his commitment to Church teaching that abortion is "an intrinsic evil," but added that he "will not tell the Catholic people of this diocese for whom to vote" and that each must "weigh our decisions carefully, pray to God for guidance, and make the best choices we can for the common good."
NEW INFORMATION BECOMING AVAILABLE TO PRO-LIFERS
The following was in my emailbox this morning from Randy Engel:
USCL Press Release
From: U.S. Coalition for Life
To: International Pro-Life Community
Date: Monday, December 1, 2008
Subject: USCL Opens 35 Years of Pro-Life Archives to Public at www.uscl.info.
Dear Friend of Life,
Export, PA. The United States Coalition for Life announced today it is opening up its vast pro-life archives to the public.
Established in 1972, the Pennsylvania-based USCL is the oldest pro-life research organization in the United States . Its research files span more than 35 years and cover all areas of pro-life concerns, which includes population control, abortion, contraception, eugenics, sterilization, euthanasia, vital organ transplantation, homosexuality, classroom sex instruction, and fetal experimentation.
According to USCL Director, Randy Engel, many of the newly released documents are one-of-a-kind and have previously not been available on the world-wide web. According to Engel, “Our archives will open up a new world of information to the next generation of pro-life advocates, and will remind veteran pro-lifers why they joined the battle in the first place.” “These priceless archives will also provide the international pro-life community with powerful ammunition to use in the world battle for LIFE,” she said.
“The current website www.uscl.info was initially made possible by two grants from anonymous donors,” said Engel, “but from now on, we will have to rely on the generosity of grassroots pro-lifers from around the world who make up the backbone of the Pro-Life Movement.” “We will be posting new articles as quickly as funds permit,” the USCL Director said.
Featured among the new USCL postings are:
· Los Super Machos, a blasphemous parody of the Virgin Birth. The anti-life publication carrying the parody was funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
· The famous 1969 Memorandum from Bernard Berelson of the Rockefeller Population Council to Planned Parenthood Vice-President Frederick S. Jaffe citing various means of population control including increased homosexuality and stock certificate type permits for children.
· “Role of Planned Parenthood in Abortion” in which Dr. George Langmyhr admits that abortion is always a necessary adjunct to any birth control program, and that abortion and abortion referrals were a part of Planned Parenthood’s program even before abortion became legal.
· Two major articles on the March of Dimes which document the agency’s long history of anti-life activities. “The March of Dimes Primer – the A-Z of Eugenic Abortion” is taken from the IFGR/Michael Fund website www.michaelfund.org. The Michael Fund is the pro-life alternative to the March of Dimes. The second selection is taken from The McHugh Chronicles – Who Betrayed the Pro-Life Movement? This book documents the history of the rise of the March of Dimes in Catholic circles in the United States .
“The opening up of the USCL archives to the public also signals the return of the USCL to the pro-life scene,” said Engel, a 40-year veteran of the pro-life wars.
“We need to refocus public attention on the two major sources of anti-life tax funding by the federal government – Title X of the Family Planning and Population Services Act and Title X of the Foreign Assistance Act, without which the Anti-Life Movement would dry up tomorrow,” Engel concluded.
Randy Engel, Director
Box 315 ,
Export , PA 15632
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 01, 2008
TWEAKING WITH THE MASS AGAIN
Pope Benedict, at the behest of Cardinal Arinze, is considering moving the sign of peace to an earlier point in the Mass in order to "create a more meditative climate" for worship. According to Arinze
"The meaning of this gesture is often not fully understood," Arinze told an interviewer. "It is thought to be a chance to shake hands with friends. Instead it is a way to tell those nearby that the peace of Christ, really present on the altar, is also with all men."
I guess I don't know the meaning either. I had always been told it's meaning came from the gospel passage that told us to make peace with our fellow man before approaching the altar. Is it true that the peace of Christ is with ALL men? What about those in a state of mortal sin?
Read the story here...
CLEVELAND'S OWN CATHOLIC FAITH HEALER
has been enjoying the California sun while branching out to the Episcopalians.
A Bay area news site reports:
One day after Thanksgiving, while many Americans were invading shopping centers and outlet malls, a group of around 40 people gathered at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Redwood City, where they sought relief from illnesses and disabilities beyond the reach of money.
The healing service, one of three performed during the weekend in San Mateo County, was led by Dr. Issam Nemeh and his wife, Kathy. Nemeh is a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist who practices acupuncture in Cleveland. He also purports to heal the sick and disabled through the power of his faith....
Forming a semicircle in front of the church's altar, the attendees first received a blessing from the Rev. Channing Smith of Transfiguration Episcopal Church, followed by Nemeh and his wife, who quietly asked each person to "just let yourself go."...
As Nemeh cradled one woman's face in his hands, she collapsed and was caught by one of the 30 volunteers who traveled with Nemeh to the Bay Area. Others attendees broke out in tears, or just stood with their eyes closed.
When people go to Fatima and Lourdes in the hope of being healed, do they experience this "slain in the spirit" reaction? I have never heard of it happening in either place. Yet so many faith healers from the Protestant denominations seems to invoke this, so also does the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement.