Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vocation crisis.

Seeking God?  Or...

I worked in a Catholic bookstore for a few years where I met many fervent young people who felt called to religious life.  The best of these more or less lived their lives as if they were already in the convent or monastery; devoutly assisting at daily Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours - including the little hours, practicing mental prayer, doing good works, and so on.  Some of these really wanted to be a nun or a monk or a priest - the few who have persevered in religious life thus far, seemed to be the ones who wanted Christ alone.

I just heard of a young woman I met back then, who has since returned to secular life.  She really wanted to be a traditional nun - and she was, for awhile.  Nothing wrong with that - in fact it will most likely be a tremendous, formative grace for the rest of her life.  Indeed, many who leave get married and raise beautiful families for God.  Others, like me...  well, never mind.

Prior to entering the community, several enthusiastic aspirants were toasted with going away parties - 'showers' or 'receptions' as it were.  Unfortunately, not a few also carried the burden of large student loans to pay off.  Many good people, friends and strangers, donated to help them do that.  Although I always wonder if and when these young people do leave religious life, if they are obliged to reimburse the people, or the organization, that paid off their debts?  Or is it like the wedding gifts a bride and groom keep, even after  the marriage was annulled or the couple split up?

I'm just wondering, not condemning or judging - I'm just curious about what the etiquette is. 

Nevertheless, it is most always true, vocation is a crises for those without one.

Incidentally, St. Clare left the world on Palm Sunday.  She slipped away quietly and unnoticed - without a party or celebration.  I've always liked that idea.

Sharpton stirs up the crowds...

Reverend, reverend
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

He's got his Tawana Browley on.

The minister of propaganda and 'unofficial advisor to the President' appears to be mobilizing the masses.

I cannot remember who it was, I think it was a British political analyst/pundit, or was it a Russian, who predicted an Obama presidency would usher in racial strife.

"If George Zimmerman is not arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin soon, theRev. Al Sharpton will call for an escalation in peaceful civil disobedience and economic sanctions.
The civil rights activist and syndicated television show host said he will elaborate on this plan Saturday.
"I will speak about how the National Action Network will move to the next level if Zimmerman isn't arrested," Sharpton said, who founded the organization. He added that it was the Martin family and lawyers who first asked him to get involved and nationalize this story. - Source

It's getting "creepy" ...

"What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault." - Peggy Noonan

Friday, March 30, 2012

Things to do.

I gotta run out and pick up a hoodie and a lotto ticket.

I don't know who George Neumayr is.

Although now I know what he said about Cardinal Wuerl.  Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!

Seriously, I don't know who a lot of online personalities are.  I come across their names in comboxes of my favorite blogs on occasion, but that doesn't mean I read what they have to say.  Neumayr stepped into the Guarnizo fray and went after Cardinal Wuerl, and I think may have clobbered a canonist and a priest or two in the process - I may be wrong on that however.  My problem is that I don't read really long blog posts or comments - and very few newspapers at that - something I'm told is considered a virtue in Alaskan gubernatorial candidates.  But I digress.

Back to Neumayr, and his lambaste against Cardinal Wuerl.  The other reason I did not read it in its entirety is because I also found it offensive.  Like him or not - you can't tear to pieces a Cardinal.  Bloggers and others do it - but it is wrong.  That said, I have to agree - to an extent - with this from a man named Winters who appears to write for the NCReporter:  (My comments in Periwinkle blue.)
Neumayr's venom is profoundly disturbing. (See, I thought so too.)  Certainly, his portrait of Cardinal Wuerl bears no resemblance to the man many of us have witnessed here in Washington the past few years. (I've never been in Washington, so I can't verify that one.) I doubt one makes it to the rank of cardinal if one is especially thin-skinned. (Even thick skinned people are offended by venomous attacks.)  I do not think Cardinal Wuerl winks at sacrilege let alone causes it. His reputation as a gentle pastor is well-earned and not the kind of thing to be lightly dismissed just because some yahoo wants the cardinal to join him in a culture war.  (I don't think I'm a yahoo - maybe a crackpot blogger - but I don't think it is too much to hope that a cardinal would be at the forefront of a culture war - even if he is busy on another front.) The priests I know, without exception, like him a lot and feel supported in their own ministry, and so the fact that he did not support Guarnizo likely tells us more about Guarnizo then it does about Cardinal Wuerl. (That may be true, but I hope Guarnizo is supported and ultimately vindicated - as well as defended against rogue canonists.)  But, in the right-wing blogosphere, if you do not toe the line to their version of orthodoxy, you are a heretic, even if you are the man chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the next synod of bishops.  (That's also true.) - Michael Sean Winters, NCReporter

Priest are subject to their bishops - that is just a fact of life in the Roman Catholic Church - even when they don't want a particular Father in their diocese.  If we don't like the bishop, and or disagree with his policies - we at least owe him the respect and decorum due his office.  Big boy underwear or not.

Divide and conquer: Are Catholic entities really undermining the Bishops authority?

"They're in the Church" news items continue.

National Catholic Register has an article reviewing all the news stories which have revealed the great divide that exists within the Church in the United States - between the bishops and Catholic entities, such as the  Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), and Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).  These two have been the most prominent in the news because of the HHS mandate and its challenge to religious freedom.  Many have written about these matters, and we best be paying attention.  There is a strong trickle down effect which deeply influences the average Catholic in the pew.  (Talking normal Catholics who don't read Catholic blogs or watch EWTN, never heard of Fr. Z or Michael Voris, don't know the difference between the old ordinary form translation from the new one, and who either like the Gather hymnal or just don't care.)

So who really has the authority to teach?  It should be the bishops:
Neither the sisters (LCWR) nor the CHA hold any authority to speak for the Church on faith and morals: That authority belongs to the bishops alone, as Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., told Catholic News Service during his recent ad limina visit to the Vatican. He said that his group of Midwestern bishops also spoke with Vatican officials about the public support of the CHA and LCWR for the so-called “accommodation” in the HHS mandate. The bishops have rejected the “accommodation” because it still requires religious institutions to provide insurance that covers immoral services.
“Those efforts are really undercutting the Church and trying to divide it again by setting up two teaching authorities when there’s only one within the Church,” Archbishop Naumann said. “It’s a very serious issue, I think, particularly when religious try to insert themselves in the role of trying to be the teachers within the Church. They have important roles to play, but they are not the ones to teach on these matters.” - NCRegister
Catholic entities meets sensus fidelium.
They are not the same.  Although Catholic entities may be canonically established institutions or congregations which can dissent from Church teaching or adopt policies in opposition to Catholic authority.  While the false sensus fidelium may be Catholic groups within the Church who do the same thing - in effect, both are actual entities within Catholicism.  Since no one gets excommunicated these days, and few, if any, are ever barred from the sacraments, they remain Catholics.  In other words, as I've been pointing out, they are in the Church.  Get it?  The Catholic entities within the Church have been (and continue to do so), undermining the teaching authority of the Bishops - not the USCCB - but the individual Bishops in their respective dioceses.  Then there is the whole question of that other Catholic entity in the room, which more or less has been the voice of dissent for all of these years, The National Catholic Reporter, which Bill Donohue says "rejects the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality." 
It took an anti-Catholic President of the United States to wake people up to what has been going on for decades - and it is just the tip of the iceberg.  These Catholics have a new set of rules, a new mysticism, a new morality, without patriarchy or hierarchy: they are Catholics for equality, and they are indeed an entity.

Photo:  LCWR 1958  When they were Roman Catholic nuns.  They never should have been allowed to organize.

Mug ideas for Father...

Merchandise for the Swag Store.  Please use the sharing buttons!

I have some ideas - serious ones.  Creative web-designers and photo-shop experts can work out the art.  Without further ado - this is my first suggestion...

Sensus Fidelium - It needs to be clearly defined, and what better place than on a a mug.  Define what it is and what it is not.  Then it should be made available in bulk for progressive communities of religious women, and gymnasium church facilities.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"We can't back down."

“Every great movement in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction,” Dolan said.And if we duct-tape the churches Im just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct-tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convinced people in the marketplace, thats going to lead to a huge deficit, a huge void. And there are many people who want to fill it up — namely, a new religion called secularism which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing. So to see that morally driven, religiously convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only at the heart of Biblical religion, its at the heart of the American enterprise.”  - Cardinal Dolan


Told ya.

Sensus Fidelium: That's what he said.

Australian Bishop Robinson referred to it yesterday in Chicago - sensus fidelium - stating the post-Vatican II Catholic Church should have been guided by it... and evidently -  the time is now at hand.

So what is it?  Pius IX and Pius XII referred to it in the promulgation of the Marian dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, respectively.  What it means is explained here:
A Contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church, Fr. Hardon explains that:

"Those who believe, and insofar as they believe, are one community not only or mainly because they subjectively believe but because what they believe is objectively true, indeed is the Truth that became man and dwelled among us. Against this background, it is easier to see what universal agreement among the faithful must mean. They are faithful insofar as they are agreed on the truth, where the source of their agreement is not a semantic use of the name 'Christian' or 'Catholic,' but the deeply interior adherence to what God has revealed.

Consequently, whether they realize it or not, all who agree on the revealed truth, under the guidance of the sacred magisterium, belong to the faithful. Their agreement on the truth and allegiance to the magisterium gives them universality, i.e., spiritual unity. The truth interiorly possessed gives them consensus, and not the other way around, as though their consensus on some doctrine made it true." (pp. 226-227) - Source
Today, those who dissent from Catholic teaching often claim the same right, as this site explains:
As those of you who read the so-called Catholic newspapers and journals will know, it is a favourite ploy of dissenters to misinterpret the “sensus fidelium” (the sense of the faithful) to mean “democratic consensus” in matters of faith and morals. - Catholic Truth
The 'new' sensus fidelium is rather convincing to many Catholics.  You say no?  You think it is nothing to worry about?  You think we have strong courageous JPII-Benedict XVI bishops and priests to stand up and defend the faithful remnant of Catholics who accept Church teaching?  You are full of crap.

Bishop Robinson is attracting many priests and religious and lay activists to his speaking engagements.  These people teach your kids.  These people attract fellow dissenting Catholics, as well as make sense to liberal 'Novus Ordo' Catholics - who happen to be the norm in the United States, BTW.  Some folks demean them as CINOs - Catholics In Name Only.  Although Capri-panted Sr. Religious Ed at your parish sympathizes with them - and believes in the democratic, non-patriarchal notion of sensus fidelium.

Indeed, to give credit where credit is due, right here in Minnesota there is a formidable group of dissenting priests and religious and lay activists, working tirelessly over the years - indeed for decades - to change the Church from within.  They're here and they claim to be the sensus fidelium.

 This is the living word...
. . . That's how one participant describes Catholics for Marriage Equality MN's ongoing series of Lenten prayer vigils at the chancery offices of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

"The Living Word." It's a beautiful and appropriate description, as those who gather each Sunday in solidarity with their LGBT brothers and sisters embody Jesus' example of radical inclusivity, compassion and justice-making.

The primary purpose of the vigils is to gather Catholics and other people of good will to pray for Archbishop Nienstedt. Specifically, we pray that he may choose to redirect his energies and the financial resources of the Archdiocese away from the divisive ‘marriage amendment’ and toward actions that reflect Jesus' Gospel call to care for the poor and marginalized.

The vigil also provides an opportunity for Catholics to pray that the archbishop and all the bishops of Minnesota may be open to the love and beauty embodied in same-sex relationships and families. Many who gather also pray that the bishops may be open to the experiences and insights of the majority of U.S. Catholics who support civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. - Michael Bayly, Sensus Fidelium Blog
Queering the Church just ain't a blog title. What will you say to your son or daughter when they tell you they think they are gay or want to marry someone of the same sex?

Photo Credit: Michael Bayly, Catholics for Marriage Equality 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson making the rounds...

Greeting:  "Hello Chicago.  The Church needs to change her teaching on sexuality."

Response:  "Really?  I thought it doesn't matter what the Church teaches for you people."

Yet they travel the land and the sea in an effort to convince people the Catholic Church needs to change moral and natural law.  They peace and justice talk their point home...  Little by little they pull apart even the faithful.
CHICAGO -- The roots of the decades-long clergy sex abuse scandal lie not in any set of rules or practices, but are found deep in the culture of the church itself, retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said Wednesday in a wide-ranging talk at the historic Newberry Library in downtown Chicago.

The "major fault" of the church in the scandal, Robinson said, is that it "refuses to look at any teaching, law, practice or even attitude of the church itself as in any way contributing" to the crisis.

"In studying abuse, we must be free to follow the argument wherever it leads rather than impose in advance the limitation that our study must not demand change in any teaching or law," he continued. "We must admit that there might be elements of the 'Catholic culture' that have contributed either to the abuse or to the poor response to abuse.'"
Peppering his talk with personal stories of bishops and priests, Robinson spoke of 12 areas of Catholic culture he said deserved "serious consideration" for their role in contributing to the abuse crisis, including our understanding of God as a being who is frequently angry and a hierarchy that is prone to a "culture of obsessive secrecy." - NCR

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are." - Matthew 23

Fortunately, Archbishop Vigneron warned his priests away from the gathering:
"[...] a letter Monday from Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron to the priests of the Detroit archdiocese asked they not attend Robinson's talk Tuesday."I would discourage your attendance at this presentation and ask that you share my concerns with anyone you know who is planning or considering to attend," writes Vigneron in the letter, which was obtained by NCR." - ibid
Yet many priests were in attendence.

Fr. Martin will be getting his wish.

Just for fun.

What I think about that: Medjugorje, True Life in God, Bayside...

Along with places such as the Center for Action and Contemplation, Tender Fires Therapy and Renewal Associates, Call to Action groups, and so on...  lumped all together.

Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ [or] ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. - Luke 17

Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many.

If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.  False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect. - Mark 13
"The Cross is and remains the sign of 'the Son of Man': ultimately, in the battle against lies and violence, truth and love have no other weapon than the witness of suffering." - Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week

Shaken, not stirred: Cardinal Martini approves of same sex unions?

"Cardinal against cardinal." - Our Lady of Akita

Indeed, the much ignored 1986 document from the CDF: Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons warned that "increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual."

The Former Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Martini is evidently one of the people the document refers to, although no one needed to be identified, since there is ample evidence today that the Church is well staffed by those who want to see a change in doctrinal teaching, to approve of homosexual behavior in and through the acceptance of civil unions, or to more specific, legal recognition of same sex marriage.  Although as the CDF document cited above clearly instructs: “But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

Cardinal Carlo Martini:
ROME, March 27, 2012 ( – Cardinal Carlo Martini, who at the conclave of 2005 was a favorite of ‘social justice’ Catholics to be elected Pope, has penned a book wherein he supports homosexual relationships. The powerful Cardinal who was Archbishop of Milan until his retirement in 2002 at age 75, now lives in Jerusalem and suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Given Cardinal Martini’s prominence in the Catholic Church (some sources suggest that he had quite a few votes to become Pope in the 2005 conclave) his statements on homosexuality point to a powerful counter-ideology that has made significant inroads into the Church’s teaching on the matter of homosexuality. It is an ideology or theology that was warned about already in 1986 by Martini’s contemporary Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

In his newly released book, Credere e conoscere (Faith and Understanding), Cardinal Martini posits his disagreement with the Catholic teaching against homosexual civil unions. “I disagree with the positions of those in the Church, that take issue with civil unions,” he wrote. “It is not bad, instead of casual sex between men, that two people have a certain stability*” and that the “state could recognize them.” - LSN
Hey, it looks like they are all 'coming out' now Fr. Martin.

*Not all that stable... just ask Dan Savage... Married with infidelities.

If I were a dad...

I would not send my kids to military academy ...

Here's why:
Military Academy Holds 1st 'Gay Pride' Events, Including 'Condom Olympics' and 'Queer Prom'
Come to think of it, I probably wouldn't send them to Catholic school either - not if Fran Ferder has anything to do with the curriculum. 

Conspiracy theory alert.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Canon Lawyer defends Fr. Guarnizo....

Fr. Guarnizo on Trial

From Pewsitters:

"the public reception of Communion by a public sinner implies that the Church and her ministers somehow condone the public serious sin."

Where is the right of defense for Father Gaurnizo? Did the Ordinary initiate an administrative process or a judicial penal process with a decree of judicial weight? What about the libellus, the formal petition of accusation? Where is the promotor of justice to ensure that the proper juridical motions are taken at each step of the trial? Where is due process?

In short, I respectfully but substantially disagree with Ed Peters' view of Father Guarnizo's alleged violation canon 915 based on the arguments offered above. In addition, the misfortune of the the loss of faculties that Father Guarnizo has suffered has seemingly come about without due canonical process. Furthermore, why did the diocese not mention canon 916, which reminds the faithful of the obligation to receive the Eucharist worthily in their letter of apology to Barbara Johnson? Although any information whatsoever about the entire situation is at a premium, it seems like the Diocese of Washington, DC is more willing, at least externally, to place its trust in somebody who (although canonically is not Buddhist as Ed Peters rightly points out) professes to be a Buddhist, has illegally attempted marriage with her lesbian partner, and was a speaker on March 17th at a national conference for gays and lesbians. Finally, is Father Guarnizo guilty until proven innocent?

I'm making these points in order to highlight every priest's obligation to safeguard the Holy Eucharist and to highlight that every priest accused of wrongdoing should receive a right of defense in a just trial. - A priest and a canon lawyer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Paging Cardinal Burke.  Paging Cardinal Burke.
The ancient Rituale Romanum stated:
"All the faithful are to be admitted to Holy Communion, except those who are prohibited for a just reason. The publicly unworthy, which are the excommunicated, those under interdict, and the manifestly infamous, such as prostitutes, those cohabiting, usurers, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, blasphemers and other sinners of the public kind, are, however, to be prevented, unless their penitence and amendment has been established and they will have repaired the public scandal."

Furthermore, as Cardinal Burke mentions in his commentary on canon 915,
“Regarding the denial of Holy Communion, the [1720 Ruthenian] Synod made its own the perennial discipline of the Church:
“Heretics, schismatics, the excommunicated, the interdicted, public criminals, the openly infamous, as also prostitutes, the publicly cohabiting, major usurers, fortune-tellers, and other evil-doing men of the same kind, however, are not to be admitted to the reception of this Sacrament, according to the precept of Christ: 'Do not give the Holy to dogs'. "

A notorious act here means an act that cannot be concealed. - ibid

Now let's go over that question about married deacons and continence again, shall we?

Pray for Fr. Guarnizo.

Why I love Pewsitters!

The Marvelli is finished.

Tondelli is next.

Photo: Comune di Rimini

Let's dance...

Murphy's Law

If I remember correctly, this was hot sometime in the early '80's. (1982)

I am working so hard on a painting that I forget to eat and I can't sleep.  I need a break!  My neck is kinked, my hands are aching, my brain is... what brain?

So if I haven't answered your emails - tell it to Alberto Marvelli - because he is not making it easy to capture his likeness.  

The Holy Father... Reconciler of Nations, Refuge of Sinners.

Pope Benedict XVI venerates the Virgen of the Chariry of Cobre as he arrives to celebrate a Mass at Revolution Square,  Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Monday, March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Here you go: Patriarch Kirill on blogging...

"You speak very decisively - but what are your real work and your real deeds? What are your practical actions?"

Moscow, March 26, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia advises Orthodox bloggers to direct their "enhanced energy" to real work.

"It's enough to follow the discussions in blogs of believers, both laity and clerics. After reading them, you often think: "if to use this energy for good purposes!" the Patriarch said at a session of the Coordination Committee on Promoting Social, Educative, Cultural and other Initiatives under Auspices of the Russian Church.

He asked a question to the participants in these Internet discussions: "You speak very decisively - but what are your real work and your real deeds? What are your practical actions?"

"I don't underestimate importance and need of deep, serious discussion among Orthodox believers, but I want to remind to its every participant, that the Savior speaks directly to you: "By their fruits you will know them." By their fruit, not by their chats, jokes, desire to look strong, clever, convincing, biting and so on," the Primate stressed
. - Source

Very good advice.  I wonder what he'd say to _______,  who spend most of their days and evenings online?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Abbey Roads Current Events Poll.

I know.  I never put up polls, but I decided to do so today.  Below are the questions with my answers!  Cool, huh?  Yeah.  Sorry, I was the only one who took the poll.

Current Events Poll (Percentages are posted to show to what degree the respondents agreed or disagreed.)

Do you think the Pope should travel so much?
  •  No -100%
Do you think the Pope should have gone to Cuba?  (Coo-ba)
  • Yes - 100%
Do you think the guy that shot the kid in Florida was in the right?
  • No - 100%
Do you think he should have been carrying a gun and following the kid?
  • No - 100%
Do you think Dharun Ravi was responsible for Tyler Clementi committing suicide?
  • No - 100%
You don't?
  • No - 100%
Do you think Ravi bullied Clementi?
  • No - 100%
So you believe Ravi's version of the events?
  • Pretty much - 99.9%
So, do you think Ravi was right to watch Clementi and out him to his friends?
  • No - 100%
Well then you certainly must believe that this was a hate crime then, right?
  • Nope - 100%

That's a wrap.

So gay really is normal then? SS marriage will be permitted by the Catholic Church?

They're working on it.

In the not too distant future, as we evolve nearer towards ‘synergistic convergence’, it's going to come close...
"I am greatly pleased when I see the Church, in its members, if not yet in its hierarchy, coming to recognise that there is no good reason to deprive same-sex couples of access to civil marriage. However, I think it is far from obvious how we, as Church, should celebrate these acts of union liturgically: whether in a rite that is similar or analogous to that for the sacrament of matrimony, or with something rather different. And I don’t think it will be obvious for some time." - Fr. James Alison

Photo: James Alison, Robert Pierson, OSB, Michael Bayly at St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, MN

Another man named Donna

When I was little, watching reruns of old screwball comedies on TV, I used to think that Don Ameche's name was really Donna Meche. 


Fran Ferder...

Sr. Fran Ferder was a speaker at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress this past weekend.  I've heard her name on occasion - but knew nothing about her until I read this taken from the Congress schedule of speakers:
Sister Fran Ferder, a Franciscan nun, has said the Church needs a “theology of body touch, body exploration,” especially for children. “Ordinary genital self-touch can be very important and can help children come to reverence their bodies, to know them,” she said.
Sr. Ferder has stated Catholic bishops shame sexual sins in order to control their flock. Such “negative messages” about “sexual mistakes,” she said,“have to do with control and maintaining power. The patriarchal dominance in the hierarchy is incredibly strong, and sexual mandates are a good way to scare and control people.”  - Source

It strikes me that this woman may be in the company of many other progressive religious facilitators, even outside the context of the LAREC, who represent a type of New Age spirituality and instruction, frequently comprised of dubious theraputic practices, as well as encompassing esoteric mysticism and meditative techniques, which are fundamentally non-Christian; all of which infest the Church with the intention of undermining Catholic doctrine and authority.  Similar in kind to the St. John's gay touch retreat crap, and Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation, along with countless other gnostic retreat center spin offs opperated by so-called religious men and women, whose aim it is to undo what they deem to be the patriarchal dominance in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

Ferder actually lives with the priest she works together with, John Heagle.  Their teaching promotes the spiritual promise of sexuality.  This from their website:
A New Vision QuestAs we begin the 21st century, our faith traditions are struggling with the challenges that surround human sexuality. We can be grateful, of course that we have our sacred writings and traditions, for they continue to be a perennial source of wisdom. But for many people, the urgency of these issues seems greater than what our current religious institutions are capable—or at least willing—to address. Many of the cultural and theological assumptions of the past are no longer adequate to address the emerging questions that surround human relationships. Willing or not, the human community has been plunged headlong into a shared “vision quest” related to the meaning and purpose of sexuality and human intimacy.
The Central QuestionThe real question, therefore, is not about our gender, our ethnic background, our age, our vocation, our orientation, or even our religious and moral convictions. These are important of course, because they help define and constitute our uniqueness as well as our communal connection to our sisters and brothers. But in our heart of hearts—and, we believe, in God’s eyes—the question is not whether we’re married or single, divorced or celibate, gay or straight, wounded or well, old or young, male or female. The central question is: how can I—in the unique circumstances of my life—become a more responsible life-giver and a lover? How can I receive the gift of life more creatively and joyfully? How can I receive and give love with more freedom and mutuality? - Tender Fires
Isn't that special.  The common denominator in New Age Catholic mysticism appears to be hallmarked by a distinct epmphasis upon sexual spirituality - sanctifying erotic energy far beyond anything to do with John Paul's theology of the body.  Likewise, a paradigm shift is sought to destabilize the hierarchal structure of the Church - which in essence, mirrors a heavenly hierarchy - something New Agers reject, or at best invert.  Interestingly enough, a friend sent me a couple of links to interviews with Barbara Marx Hubbard of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.  Barbara Marx Hubbard was asked if she has seen evidence that social changes are taking place.  She answered:
I'll never forget when I was staying with a group of nuns in South Bend, Indiana, during a Fourth of July weekend. I was there at the same time that WorldCom and Enron were falling. And there was a Catholic priest there named Diarmuid O'Murchu who wrote a book called Quantum Theology. Anyway, he got up and he said, "Evolution was working for billions of years before organized religion, and it will be working for billions of years after organized religion." And then, as a Catholic priest speaking to a group of nuns, he said, "The Catholic Church will not hold, because not only is the story wrong but the hierarchy is wrong. The structure is wrong. The whole thing is wrong." And the nuns all stood up and cheered! Now, they loved Jesus. It had nothing to do with not loving Jesus. And I suddenly thought, "Maybe this is the way it has to happen. Hierarchical, mechanistic structures are not adequate for an interactive, conscious, evolutionary world." And those structures are going. What we hope is that they don't collapse too fast and lead to complete chaos.

Incidentally, I think that all the major world religions were founded in an earlier phase of human evolution by people whose consciousness clearly was way beyond the ordinary
. They left behind teachings that hold within them a profound seed of the truth about the evolution of our species. But the structures that built up around those religions have narrowed them to the point where, now, while we're engaged in this period of massive transition, they are becoming regressive....
 Strange bedfellows?  Ha!  Not at all - they are all pretty much on the same page... working towards a ‘synergistic convergence’.

More information on Ferder and  Heagle:

Dissenting Publications  An index.

Iowa Conference: "Coming of Age in the Milky Way: Spiritual Transformation and Creative Hope!” - Badger Catholic

Fr. Heagle Lenten Mission

These people make a very good living from these speaking engagements, seminars and so-called retreats.   Keep your eyes open because they may show up at a parish or Catholic school near you.

H/T PMLfor the Hubbard interviews.

Photo:  Fern Ferder and John Heagle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This is almost as strange as the LA Religious Ed Congress: Pic de Bugarach...

The alien mountain in the French Pyrenees.

They call them hippies - and supposedly they are flocking to magic mountain to await the apocalypse expected on December 21, 2012 - because that's when the Aztec calendar runs out, you know.  Many say and believe aliens inhabit the interior of the mountain, and sometimes naked people climb the mountain - in your face nudity for the aliens is the way I see it - and you know what Bishop Sheen says about that: Love of nudity is one of the three signs of the diabolical.
'un garage à ovnis'

They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age. 
For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power. Often called the "upside-down mountain" – geologists think that it exploded after its formation and the top landed the wrong way up – it is thought to have inspired Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since the 1960s, it has attracted New Agers, who insist that it emits special magnetic waves.

Further, rumours persist that the country's late president François Mitterrand was transported by helicopter on to the peak, while the Nazis, and, later, Israel's Mossad, performed mysterious digs there. Now the nearby village is awash with New Agers, who have boosted the local economy, though their naked group climbs up to the peak have raised concerns as well as eyebrows. Among other oddities, some hikers have been spotted scaling the mountain carrying a ball with a golden ring, strung together by a single thread. - Read more.

And yet New Agers say Roman Catholics are nuts...  and they aren't talking about those who offered workshops this weekend at the LA Religious Ed Congress, or the get naked touch retreat at St. John's Abbey either.  (The retreat was cancelled BTW - I wonder why the LA Congress wasn't?)

Photo: Bob, the retreat master: "Ready for the climb."

Pic de Bougarach