Saturday, September 06, 2014

Saturday Detention: Alright students, today we'll pick on another 'heretic', Richard Rhor.

Of course, he may not be a formal heretic...

And when we finish here you will all go back 
to the laundries and wash your uniforms.

An emerging church movement.

Personally I have never been attracted to the spirituality of Richard Rohr and his Center for Action and Contemplation.  I have no interest in New Age spirituality - I left that stuff behind when I returned to the Church and sacraments in 1972.  Back then it was better known as the occult or Gnosticism - or more popularly, the Age of Aquarius.  I'm generalizing of course, but it seems to me this is pretty much part of the mystical cocktail involved in the CAC brand of contemplation.  Rohr's center perhaps being the most successful of all the new contemplative movements from the past 40 years.  If you click here, you can see what I've written on Rohr and associates in the past.

I have of course friends and acquaintances who love Richard Rohr and follow the Enneagram and like to get naked and jump over camp fires, but who am I to judge?  To each his own.  There are 'elements' of truth within these strains of spirituality, but that's the nature of heresy - it is always an admixture of the truth.

I'm happy to note that there are others posting cautions regarding the spirituality promoted by Rohr and similar New Age Catholic gurus.  Such cautions always bear repeating.  Dan Burke of Spiritual Direction blog recently posted on Rohr and the spirituality promoted at CAC:
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
Another area where he is heavily involved is in the Emerging Church Movement, which consists of a diverse group of people who identify with Christianity but think its beliefs and teachings need to be “updated” to better conform to modern society (read compromise the faith). 
Fr. Rohr participates in Emerging Church conferences and workshops alongside the leaders of this movement, such as Brian McClaren, a “theologian” who thinks the current version of Christianity only partially reflects the truth. Another player, Phyllis Tickle, recently told an audience that “By eating the body and blood of our God, we are feeding the god within us . . .” - Dan Burke
I'm always happy when someone with credentials addresses these things.  This type of spirituality has very much permeated cloisters, religious communities, catechetical programs in parishes and schools, and many retreat centers.  The influence is annually apparent at the LA Religious Ed. Congress.  Even Jesuits have been known to write glowingly on the merits of The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics.  

Barking up the wrong tree.



  1. For my money, Msgr. Pope and Dan Burke have the most credibility amongst all the Catholic media apologists. They've put on the mind of the whole Christ, and not merely a left or right-leaning version.

    1. I agree. I like Father Robert Barron as well.

      I live in Los Angeles and for the longest time, I have always wondered why the Religious Congress event has not been overhauled to reflect the truths of Catholicism. Instead, those who attend are continued to be fed watered down banality.

      I have never attended nor plan to as long as the stuff that's promoted "as Catholic" is pushed on unsuspecting folks...but that's an excuse in this day and age of computers and internet news outlets.

      I have found the SCRC conventions to be so much more orthodox in their teaching. I had the great pleasure of hearing many time, dear Father Groushel (sic) speak at SCRC as well as watch John Michael Talbot perform.

      I always remember too, the beautiful blessed Sacrament Chapel that is set up the entire weekend by the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

    2. Fr. Barron's talk at the LA Religious Ed. conference this year was dynamite. He couldn't have given that talk without the ordinary's approval, and so at least your bishop is trying to clean things up. Bless them.

    3. So I heard. A small and very blessed step in the right direction.

      Archbishop Gomez has his hands full. ^^

    4. I laughed at the reference to "a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness". Isn't watered-down New Age bilge the "dominant consciousness"?


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