Saturday, February 28, 2009

Repeating myself.

But I have to say it again.
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Watch out who and what you read online. Practice discernment regarding what people claim in their posts, on their sidebars, or in their comment box, even in their blogrolls - this goes for the so-called orthodox as well as anyone else. It is just common sense.
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Keep this motto in mind: "Remember the Legion" in reference to the deceptive ways of the Legionaries and their founder, Fr. Maciel. Claiming orthodoxy and posting rah-rah stuff for the Pope, the TLM, and photos of the cappa magna and yards of lace, or numerous devotionals is not always a guarantee of experiential knowledge, infallibility, virtue, or even correct catechises. When it comes to instructing or recommending things to their readers, if in doubt, do question the author's status, authority, qualifications and/or permissions, as well as their sources. Do your homework.
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This advice coming from a guy who gets deleted from good Catholic blogrolls all of the time. On a forum recently, I read a guy's response to a post I did about signing petitions, and he asked, "Who the hell is Terry Nelson?" See, that is good to ask.
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I won't be fooled again.
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Today I came upon a blog post promoting a deceased man's writings, Anthony de Mello, as well as a priest follower of his work who is offering a feature on his e-parish website promoting so-called contemplative prayer. Obviously the folks falling for this crap are either too young or uninformed to recall or know de Mello's works carry a notification from the CDF - going back to the late 1990's. The CDF's notification ends with the following statement:
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With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm. - Source
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The document is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger.
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Therefore, even if a priest uses only portions of de Mello's work, I'm somewhat dubious. Is he guided by the Holy Spirit? Remember, there is great gain in religion, as Paul wrote to Timothy, especially when you have a donate button or happen to be offering online services.
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BTW - So who the hell am I? I'm an ordinary Roman Catholic single male who strives to live according to the teachings of the Church, keep the Commandments, practice prayer, try to do penance, frequent the sacraments, and practice works of charity, and though I fail numerous times a day, I keep trying. And when I write something - I check and double check my sources.

13 comments:

  1. michael r.11:47 AM

    Who the h*** is Anthony de Mello???

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  2. LOL! A freak-a-zoid deceased Jesuit from India who wrote pseudo-contemplative bullshit.

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  3. Anonymous:

    Remember Kate Winslet saying "Make a film on the holocaust and you are sure to get an Oscar"?
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    Some guys do end-times posts, recommending dubious spiritual writers, and I say, "Talk about the end times and the coming chastisement, couched in faithful Catholic terms, and you got yourself a cult".
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    You have no idea how ripe peeople are for a cult.

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  4. Terry - see e-mail. I wonder how Fr. would respond if one wrote and asked the polite question of "why is he posting" etc. and regarding "centering prayer" etc.

    As mentioned I noted the reference too. Thanks.

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  5. Of the 22 years or so that I spent outside the Church, probably half of it was spent reading and thinking about the ideas of a fair number of "catholic clerics" whose writings in all or in part are not deemed to be spiritually healthy for the undirected seeker.

    They included de Chardin, Merton, de Mello, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Matthew Fox, and others now long forgotten.

    Somehow Jesus kept reminding me that He was "the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me."

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  6. Sheesh, you'll do anything to be popular won't you?



    {wink}

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  7. as i recall, the cdf was very specific with regard to those portions of de mello's writings with which they took issue ... and they spelled out in great detail the reasons and corrections.

    the problem with reading any of his writings is that unless you're very well schooled in correct teaching, you can get swallowed-up easily in de mello's eastern / hindu blend of catholic thought and practice

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  8. Owen - I have that special way about me.

    Uncle Jim - I'm so glad you posted - BTW - I have to add you to this blogroll - sorry - I haven't updated as I ought to have.

    Ray, we are alike - when I returned to the Church it was all about Jesus in the Eucharist - still is - and I had good priests who kept me away from the extremists - who at that time, attended St. Agnes.

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  9. I could have sworn I left a message earlier but I guess I hit the enter key and buzzed off...

    Anyway - great post!! I bumped into that deMello post (except I can't remember where) and just kept going.

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  10. Adrienne - LOL! I've done that before - and when I went back and didn't see my comment I thought the blog owner deleted it, and got all upset. Koo-Koo!

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  11. I remember the admonition attached to de Mello's writing. His defenders argue that he was charged with heresy posthumously, and had no way of defending himself. Anyhoo, I'm not really familiar with his writings, so I'm afraid I can't speak intelligently about the nature of his unorthodoxy. I would, however, approach Chardin and Merton with a bit more openness.

    Having said that, your caution does us all good to keep in mind that just because you see the word “Catholic” on a blog doesn’t mean it’s okay to let your guard down.

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  12. Tom, thanks - you are one of the more reasonaable people online who blogs and I always miss your comments.

    I have never been into Chardin although I know many others think he's the anti-Christ. The huge difference with you or another's academic interest in him, even if one finds a spiritual resonance in his work, is that you are not an instructor, you are not a priest, you are not offering spiritual guidance and/or direction.

    As far as Merton is concerned, as I've always said, his earlier writings are very sound, his later writings happen to be a mixture of stuff - like a journal a man on an expedition kept. Having some understanding of the complexity of the man's life, intellect, as well as his times, before monastic life and during, is key to discerning the body of his later work.

    What I ought to have mentioned in my post is that one of the uber Catholics who seemed enchanted with de Melo's words and the priest who quoted him, was the same woman who removed me from her blogroll because of the links in my sidebar - as well as the fact I allowed gay people to comment on my posts. This was on my old Abbey.

    Anyway - do you see how sometimes our high minded judgements come back to bite us in the ass? Happens all of the time to me. ;)

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  13. Ooooo - now I want to know who it is. Honestly - I can't remember where I saw that. Sheeesh! Terry - I'm up to over 300 in my Google reader so sometimes I forget where I see stuff...

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