Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are you Rohr-man Catholic?

Questions about Fr. Richard Rohr... again.

I know some California mystics and contemplatives in the Southwest, and probably many others in the business of religious education, spiritual formation and the retreat industry, love, love, love Fr. Richard Rohr.  I know!  That's cool.  It's a free country.

I've written about Rohr before - but who am I?  Nobody.

Which is why I'm grateful for this post from Dan Burke of Spiritual Direction blog:

Can I trust Richard Rohr?

Fr. Rohr is deeply involved in the New Age. On the website for his Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), a “training and formation center” based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that he founded in 1987, he says the purpose of his work is to provide “a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness” (whatever that means). 
The CAC was a well-known hub for the Church’s premier dissent group in the U.S., better known as Call to Action (endorses women’s ordination, homosexuality, goddess worship, etc.). 
Fr. Rohr has also been a long-time teacher of the Enneagram, an enormously popular New Age gimmick used for discerning one’s personality type. A specific warning against the use of the Enneagram for spiritual direction is included in the pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. - Spiritual Direction - Originally published by Women of Grace


  1. I shudder when I hear of New Age Catholicism. We need regular Catholicism. The only kind of bull we want is a papal bull.


  2. If you don't like him, perhaps he isn't for you.

    I really wish people would stop attacking those whom they don't see eye to eye with as heretical.

    You annihilate your credibility.

    (Not addressing that to you, Terry.)

    1. Kind of like Fr. Longenecker just yesterday.

    2. No one accused him of heresy.

    3. So it's ok to launch ad hominem attacks against a man because of his mere opinion about the nature of clericalism but it is not ok to offer a critique - which did not personally attack the one being critiqued - when what he teaches seems to seriously undermine the Faith that he is ordained to preach?

    4. Hyperbolic discourse FTW!

    5. Or self-referential hypocrisy.

  3. I read some of his books in my disoriented past years ago. I was introduced to him and "enneagram spirituality" by a friend years ago. Fr Richard "the boy always gets naked" Rohr's spirituality is New Age and definitely conducive to the "Dignity set". Personally, I don't think Fr Rohr is a good spiritual guide for Catholic men who happen to be same sex attracted are seeking to live lives faithful to the teaching magisterium of the Church. You'd be better served by St Claude Colombiere and the Cure of Ars if holiness is your goal.

  4. ATDP - I wonder if you aren't doing a lot of judging here yourself.

    1. Probably just as much as you, Terry.

    2. Everyone, it seems, is always "judging" when they don't cheer along with the crowd. Papal detractors are "judging" but ad hominem attacks against a priest who explains his view of clericalism is somehow righteous indignation.

      That's been the game on this blog for a while, no? The bloggers who accept donations get ridiculed, and then those who receive notoriety, but then it's explained away with the disingenuous "there's nothing wrong with that?". Both sides of the mouth. Is it envy? Scandal taken by offenses against poverty and humility and careerism? Who really knows.

      So much confusion, so many angles, all of us exercising our own insecurities and sins, our own divided hearts. We're all empty graves that we bait each other to stumble over. Nothing means anything when everything is just a "judgment". There is no more compass save the Holy Spirit and God's whispers in these times. May we have the purity of heart to seek Him and become just men.

  5. Servus - I'm not into that stuff, I know some priests who are - not sure why. Evidently people are helped along their journey.

    People have free will.

  6. Wow...Fr. Rohr is a flashback to the late 80's when he was all the rage here in L.A. I thought he was long gone or retired living a quiet monastic life somewhere.
    Unfortunately, he influenced many folks in the archdiocese. The yearly Religious Education Conference still has on its roster "new age type catholic" courses a la Rohr. I thought he was interesting when I first came back to the Church, but I started to sense his was not the road to take in seeking Christ...He was someone to steer clear of was what I sensed and have since.

    I give my own sense of what I discerned with regards to him, when I was in prayer. I make no judgment on him as I do not know him but can see results in so many of the once flourishing retreat houses, of certain orders, that now carry his stuff along with other new age teachers who offer entire weekend retreats on the "how to the enneagram." No Masses or adoration ever seem offered unless one is directed to a local Parish off the retreat compound.

    The only solid orthodox retreat house to be found in Los Angeles, these days, is home to the wonderful Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, CA.

    You won't find Father Rohr's works there.

    And yes, people do have free will...

  7. I'm always happy to use my seat of judgment. Rohr is, indeed, a heretic, the definition of which is to deny a dogma of the faith. We are not talking opinions about prudential judgments -- like how to best assist the poor. We are talking denial of basic truths of the faith. Los Peqhenos in Albuquerque has a dossier a mile long on Rohr's systematic dissent through his center. You can read it at Rohr has blessed homosexual unions which actually should be enough to get him suspended from the priesthood. His organization is notorious for promoting Call to Action, Soulforce, Starhawk, Matthew Fox, and other heretical groups. He denies the necessity of the crucifixion which is another heretical position.

    If you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Those who promote heretics are themselves heretics. Or if you prefer, we can use the word dissenters, but it's all the same when it's about basic doctrines.

  8. I have no time for that type of spirituality - I think some Catholics discern 'elements' of truth is such paths - but for me, I have always been attracted to Roman Catholic mystical tradition. even Eastern Orthodox hesychasm - akin to quietism - has never held my fascination.

    Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

  9. My husband started looking for another job the day his former boss emailed him a meditation from Fr. Rohr, with the note "You, your lovely wife, and your young friend Fr. M. might benefit from this meditation." It was all about how the brains of people in their twenties are not yet fully formed, and this is why we embrace the rigidity of the Latin Mass and traditional Catholicism. As we mature, we will throw off the shackles of adherence to rules and learn to embrace formlessness.

    I think that the man who sent us the meditation had forgotten that the "formlessness" he advocates is something he embraced when he was even younger than I am.

    1. Oh Jane that is so hilarious. I can actually hear someone say that to me. Speaking of Formlessness..... this is an EXCELLENT book one that the kind soul who emailed the meditation might do well to read:

  10. Jane - that is almost hysterical - LOL! It's actually kind of funny, but many old-timer-liberals seem to think things like that. They believe that after several years one will move beyond traditional Catholic spirituality. Though it is true one needs to be firmly grounded upon Christ and Catholic doctrine to avoid drifting into that stuff - one needs even more to fall in love and stay in love with Jesus Christ - to live in a state of communion or communication through authentic prayer. Whether one becomes ever more simple and little, or one soars to the heights of contemplation, Christ is the way, the truth and the life - through him, in him, and with him one experiences the ultimate freedom of spirit in union with the Blessed Trinity.

    The sense of freedom and elevation of consciousness in other spiritualities can be recognized as false as they diverge from Catholic teaching and mystical tradition. By their fruits you will know them... if they depart from the Way... Drug induced mysticism is similar - just as ascetic practices which 'suspend' the senses practiced by other religions.

    I think some of this involves what Pope Francis meant when he said right after his election that if a Christian prays to anyone else, he prays to the devil.

    People with more expertise than myself could better express the difficulties of these cults and nature based religious practices.

    That said, some who study or follow these spiritual paths often return to traditional Catholic mysticism. Some do not. God sees their hearts and understands the detours and so what can I say? I pray for those I know, and those Our Lady knows. Christ goes after the lost sheep.


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