Boinkie's Blog

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Are Charismatics Catholic?

A couple of centuries ago, a Madam Guyon wrote a popular book espousing pietism.

She emphasized a spirituality similar to that of Cassaude, but left out the part of the church: Both one's daily actions and the sacraments/mass were unimportant.

from wikipedia:

Guyon believed that we should pray all the time, whatever one was doing, to be also spending time with God. "Prayer is the key of perfection and of sovereign happiness; it is the efficacious means of getting rid of all vices and of acquiring all virtues; for the way to become perfect is to live in the presence of God. He tells us this Himself: "walk before me, and be thou perfect" Genesis 17:1

. Prayer alone can bring you into His presence, and keep you there continually."[1]

As she wrote in one of her poems: "There was a period when I chose, A time and place for prayer ... But now I seek that constant prayer, In inward stillness known ..."

... These righteous persons expect God to deliver and save them as payment for their good works. In contrast to the self–sufficient, righteous egoists, the sinners who have selflessly submitted to God "are carried swiftly by the wings of love and confidence into the arms of their Saviour, who gives them gratuitously what He has infinitely merited for them."[4] God's "bounties are effects of His will, and not the fruits of our merits."[5]



Her spirituality was condemned by the church, because she overstressed one aspect and ignoring a balance.

If one followed Guyon, one would end up sitting around, withdrawing from the world, and being useless to God and man, while one's pride would swell about how holy one was.

Reminds me of my husband's first wife who was so "religious" she once told him the reason the kids hadn't been fed was that she was busy praying, and apparantly she thought it was okay not to feed kids, because they needed to learn to fast and pray anyway.

Passive aggression, anyone? I'm holy, haha, and you just do "works" when you risk your life caring for the sick and poor instead of living a comfortable life praying.

(whoops, I shouldn't be sarcastic: I'm retired now).

Similarly, the Charismatic movement has problems.

By relying on the spirit, it ignores the intellect.

true, it's God's way to revive a church that has become dry and intellectual, but that doesn't mean we go overboard the other way.

A personal relationship with God is important, and being "born again" or receiving the Holy spirit is important. Benedict's encyclical on Love reminds us of this.

Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world. The Greeks—not unlike other cultures—considered eros principally as a kind of intoxication, the overpowering of reason by a “divine madness” which tears man away from his finite existence and enables him, in the very process of being overwhelmed by divine power, to experience supreme happiness.


Now, this can fuel a happy marriage, a love that enables one to live in times of trouble and pain.

Singer Ethel Waters in her autobiography, describes it as always having a warm loving presence with her during her life (she was an unloved child brought up in terrible poverty).

Similarly, Dr. Robert Coles in his books "Children of Crisis" includes the poor children in the Southern US. In one part, he talks to one of these poor mothers, who describes her hard life and how going to church and being filled with the spirit and renewed enables her to live in peace.

In summary, the gift of the Holy Spirit is something much needed by the intellectual western Church.

Yet it too has it's limitations.

By emphasizing spiritual gifts, often discernment is lacking. A good pastor will pray and discern the teaching, often checking if it goes along with the bible.

Similarly, a good pastor will follow Paul's advice not to let the speaking in tongues overwhelm the church service.

One danger for Catholics is just this: That they feel so uplifted spiritually after a charismatic/pentecostal service that they ignore the dryness felt in attending Mass. Yet we meet Jesus in Mass.

Without discernment, and without spiritual direction, they might think that this dryness means that the church/mass doesn't really "worship" God.

Yet this ignores that maybe the service is just not according to their personal tastes (one of the problems of the Latin Mass folks) or maybe because the post Vatican II emphasis on community is overdone (too many "modern" Catholics are poorly catechized to realize how holy the Mass should be) or maybe it's just the lousy singing (don't get me started).

Yet Catholics have long rejected the idea that the grace imparted by the Mass depends on the holiness of the priest or on one's emotional satisfaction from it.

I don't have the quote here, but Tolkien writes to his son that maybe attending a mass that doesn't please your tastes might be of more worth than going to one you enjoy...he hated the modern masses, but he emphasized having Christ in the Eucharist was the reason why attending mass was important.

I'm not saying only a pious Latin Mass or a loud and emotional charismatic mass should be shunned, only that the reason one goes to Mass is to meet Christ in the Eucharist.

A second problem with the Charismatic/Pentecostal approach is that they make the Bible as if it were God.

Catholics don't believe God "wrote the bible" or even that he had it dictated (as Muslims claim for the Koran). But even if much of the Torah wasn't written down for 1000 years, we see God's hand behind the scholars who organized the stories, and chose which ones were best to emphasize God's relationship with man.

Similarly, a Catholic would say that God's hand guided the Septuagent , and the early church's use of that translation suggests he wanted the apocrapha to be part of his revealations, no matter what rabbis in 90 AD decided.

Finally, a lot of nonsense occurs when bible verses or stories are taken out of context to prove a point. Often two verses contradict each other (something that Jesus delighted to point out to those hypocrites trying to destroy him).

Without nuance, you have trouble.

Catholics rely on the magesterium of the church for guidence, and if some pastors or bishops get things wrong, we figure the Holy Spirit eventually will fix things.

On the other hand, the charismatic approach allows the pastor or prayer leader to become a mini pope, obeyed for his or her guidence, even though that person might not be well educated in scripture, but only rely on their favorite passages.

The danger of pride is high, needless to say, and the danger of degenerating into a cult is also high.

Yes, docs have a simlar problem, but enough of our patients die on us despite the correct treatment (or who get better despite our predictions they will die) that it keeps most of us humble about thinking we are God.

finally, A leader in a charismatic prayer group is in danger of blaming the victim.

One of my friends was deserted by an abusive husband who stole all her money, leaving her and the kids destitute.

She ended up with chronic back pain from a fall, and ended up on a narcotic contract to control her misery.
now, all docs know that back and neck pain get worse with psychological problems (no, it's not "in your head", but stress makes the muscles contract more, ergo more pain. Also the ability to tolerate pain goes down with depression. We often use anti depressents to help people tolerate their chronic pain).

Although not a Catholic, she went to a Catholic prayer group, and the "leader" assured her of healing. After several sessions, she was no better, so he told her that she must have a sin of unforgiveness blocking the cure. She left them in even more despair, since although an intelligent woman, she never had insight to see how depression was anger/unforgiveness turned inward, and made the pain worse.

So they were "right" but the egotism of the leader (disappointed at his lack of curing ability) blamed the victim, and left her in even more despair.

In contrast, another friend with a manipulative mother, did get healed by a Catholic prayer group. She now laughs when her mother tries to manipulate her with guilt; it no longer prevents her from moving on with her own life.

So spiritual healing too has good and bad points. It denies that sometimes God sends us a cross to carry, to see if we love him for Himself or for his "goodies".

In one of the epistles, there is a saying about when we suffer, we learn and then can help others who suffer.

I have found this in my life as a doc.

Suffering can lead to wisdom, patience, and understanding of others. Or it can lead to despair and bitterness. Often the difference is the "eros" or love of God inside of us.

A charismatic/pentecostal movement that insists on God's gifts of money or health ignores this if they stress physical healing over God's love.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Discussion blog on intercessors

check LINK

Discussion blog on intercessors

check LINK

excuse double posting

My keyboard has some keys sticking (Cat hair in the keyboard again)...sometimes makes the page disappear and it seems like I've double posted.

But I'm too lazy to edit, so just skip what I double posted.

Religion in history

I am downloading some lectures from youtube on history (which I will convert to MP3s and use to put me to sleep at night).

(yes, it's a joke...I often relisten to them during the day, but the dogs, the water pump, and the nearby street noise keep me awake, so I play lectures on my mp3 player as "white noise).

He is talking about religious changes in history, on how and why various populations change religion...

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cult or what

Cultish behavior overlaps with behavior control.

If you join the army, they teach you a new way to act. If you go to a good drug rehab program, they reteach you how to act.
If you joined an old fashioned Catholic order, they also taught a new way to act.

Often this training is associated with positive and negative feedback (including verbal or even physical punishment).

Are these organizations "cults" because they have some characteristics of cultic brain washing?


One problem in a "new" order is that the head often could get a "big head" or pride, and is so respected that no one says "no" or (as in the Legioneries of Christ) cover it up.

Another problem is that the head might be so beloved or charismatic that people don't want to say no. I always suspected Mother Angelica spent a lot of money building a big shrine in her last few years before her stroke because she had been right in the past, and no one could see that may be her cortisone (for her asthma), or multi mini strokes from her ageing brain might be affecting her judgement.

Finally, charismatic leaders might lack "common sense". Look at St Francis of Assisi. He was a great saint, but there is no way his original charism could have survived the practicalities of running a large order.
A similar problem was found with the founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a holy but uneducated woman, or even of saints like Bishop Newman of Philadelphia, who was so bad at money he required a fellow bishop to help him.

So was the Intercessors a cult?

No, but it did have a lot in common with cults.

As for visions of "snakes coming out of a head" when they prayed over someone, well, this is a cultural problem. One of my neighbor's moms had visions of the Virgin whenever she had problems. Here in the Philippines, visions are common, and in Africa, belief in devils is real. Is it "normal" for Americans? Actually, most of the stuff I saw Sister Nadine and her group do would be no more or less than that in many pentecostal churches (which is why their critics call them "holy rollers").

These type churches are prone to the problems of their leadership becoming too powerful, and one only has to look at all those "tv preachers" who got into trouble about money or power.

On the other hand, if I had an addict who needed spiritual help, (i.e. where I perceived a spiritual problem along with their depression or psychiatric problem) I'd probably refer him to the holy pastor of the assembly of God in our town, not the holy but naive priest at the Catholic church.

The most worrisome stories about Sister Nadine are recent, so I can't say anything about them.

Is this reliance on charismatic prayer compatible with Catholicism?

That I can't answer.

I do know that one of my African friends (a nun) joined a semi cloistered group whose charism was similarly pentecostal and who often associated with other Christians in prayer sessions. And they are in trouble too.

Intercessors: local news

I distrust the official releases from the two sides

so what's in the local paper?


Omaha World Herald - Intercessors gave haven to fugitive - 10.20.10

If you read the article, it not a usual criminal, but a wife who fled with her child after the father had been given custody. She feared he would take the child out of the country (A real fear...I've had patients with similar fear from Mexican, Arab, or Iranian husbands).


Indeed, anyone who has worked with abused women knows of women who fled abuse (and lost custody because they "abandoned" their children) or who were denied because of psychiatric or drug use (i.e. treating depression with medicine or street drugs, but not a usual addict, since the depression was situational).

There is actually an underground of feminists that help such women.

So if the bishop disbanned them for this "crime, I wonder why a certain big order of nuns wasn't disbanded in the 1970's when they were hiding one of their ex nuns after she vandalized a draft office...that was a real felony, not a fake one.


Omaha World Herald - Hermits put Faith in Future - 10.19.10

fluff piece. Not much dirt, but they do say things have gone down hill in the last two years (again I ask: Is Sister Nadine going senile? Paranoia, delusions, and poor judgement are often signs of early Alzheimers).

But what is most interesting is that the Sh.. really hit the fan in the last two weeks (after Mother Nadine resigned, but when the bishop started putting his foot down with the board who is in charge of all that property).


Omaha World Herald - Intercessors' neighbors relieved - 10.17.10

This goes into the "We are afraid of the...." and are happy they aren't here any more.

(put religion into the blank...Muslim mosque near ground zero...Muslim mosque in Tennesee...Baptist church...Orthodox monastery...Carmelite monastery in wyoming)...

“About time,” said Shawn McCartney, who grew up in the secluded Ponca Hills area and still lives there. “A cult is what I called it.”...

but again, there is a hint to the real problems:

Archbishop George J. Lucas hired a canon law professor in May to examine the group. The professor questioned the Intercessors' financial practices, found dissatisfaction with its leaders and discovered intimidation tactics.

McNeil said there were no findings of physical or sexual abuse.


Omaha World Herald - Intercessors of the Lamb closed - 10.16.10

Intercessors: Bishops link

LINK

Lucas suppressed the Catholic association after a majority of lay directors of the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., the association’s civil corporation, impeded him from exercising his legitimate governance of the association and providing pastoral solicitude for professed members. More information regarding the act of suppression can be found by following the links below.

translation: Follow the money.

Public worship and the celebration of the sacraments are prohibited on land owned by the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., a Nebraska corporation. Priests and deacons are forbidden from ministering at the property. Donors are advised that contributions to the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., will not go to support a Catholic organization. Moreover, the vows of former association members ceased at the moment of suppression. Catholics worldwide are encouraged to refrain from participating in Intercessors-sponsored activity.

Translation: No, you aren't supposed to pray in their places. Which means Sister Nadine's announcement might be direct disobedience (or maybe passive aggressive indirect disobedience) to the bishop.


The way it works with Catholics is that the bishop is always right when he has jurisdiction over a group. (I can think of several instances where the parish or order was not under the bishop, and legally disobeyed him, but even these places are often controversial).

Like the Army, you obey. Period.

So who is keeping all that expensive land?

Local news links for the Intercessors story

Omaha World Herald - Intercessors gave haven to fugitive - 10.20.10

WORLD-HERALD EXCLUSIVE
A Pennsylvania woman wanted on an FBI warrant for allegedly fleeing parental kidnapping charges lived for as long as two years with her daughter, under assumed names, with the Intercessors of the Lamb religious group in Omaha.

Without knowing the details, I won't add my two cents...I've known too many nasty cases where the wife lost custody to a manipulative husband with money...and in this case, she was worried the child would be taken to Iran. True or false? Who knows? I've also known women who accused their innocent ex husband of abuse, which may not have occured..but as a feminist I do know that there is an "underground" of such women fleeing similar situations...who are helped by other feminists...

So it's not as if they were hiding a bankrobber or murderer....

Omaha World Herald - Hermits put Faith in Future - 10.19.10

most of the article has no real details, just fluff. But then there is this:

The three said the climate in the faith community had deteriorated in recent years and had grown increasingly tense over the past two weeks.

The founder of the organization, Mother Nadine Brown, stepped down as its general director at Lucas' request. Archdiocesan officials said that happened because an official church inquiry found numerous changes that needed to be made.

Basically, two factions formed after that, Nolte said. The vast majority supported the archbishop's call for the group to make reforms so it could move ahead toward further church recognition, he said.

Note that

Omaha World Herald - Intercessors' neighbors relieved - 10.17.10

Omaha World Herald - Intercessors of the Lamb closed - 10.16.10


Intercessors take four

Mother Nadine has a long message HERE.

One charge against her is disobedeince, but she denies that...and then suggests how to disobey the bishop and still obey him.

Archbishop Lucas has stated in his news release of October 15, 2010 “Of course, Catholic faithful are always welcome, in virtue of their Baptism, to associate together and to pray. I would encourage those companions and associates to continue to pray for the former vowed members of the Intercessor community, for the Church, and for the needs of the world.” This means that your prayer groups are able to continue to gather together for intercession. Please let us know if you would like us to continue visitations to your groups.

She then goes on to explain how the board, which has disobeyed the bishop is a private corporation.

It is important to note that the civil corporation, which remains a non-profit corporation in the State of Nebraska, has been in existence since 1980, a full twelve years before the Hermits were recognized as a Private Association of the Faithful, and eighteen years before the Public Association of the Hermit Intercessors of the Lamb was erected by Archbishop Curtiss. Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., is a

501 (c)(3) (tax exempt) corporation, separate from the Catholic church. On page 2 of the original Form 1023 Application for Recognition of Exemption, it states, “The organization was formed in response to the need to call persons to the experience of prayer and contemplative solitude, in the midst of the complexities, haste, and multiple demands imposed upon the individual by contemporary society.” Since the mission remains the same as is stated in the original exempt application, all of your contributions to Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc. continue to be tax deductible.

translation: Send money.


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

prayer story of the day

it can take a baby 25 days to starve to death if denied food and water

saint and scholar

usually when we think of "saint and scholar" we think of Thomas More.

But in my studies about history and the history of ideas, I found Boethius was influential for over a thousand years. Both King Alfred the great and Queen Elizabeth made translations of his "consolations of philosophy".

Yet it wasn't until later I found he was a saint. LINK

a lot of "secular" writes insist that his most famous work is that of a pagan, but they miss the point: That medieval scholarship did not see pagan philosophy as the enemy, but as something to be admired, and even as a precursor to Christian belief.

we see a similar argument against Tolkien's work, which incorportates a lot of "pagan" ideas and doesn't include much about God. Some books/articles even critique him as ignoring his christian beliefs.

Shippey's book on Tolkien notes his approach to evil is both Boethian ( that all things work for the good when seen through the eyes of eternity) yet also includes the idea that we are part of the fight against evil, and our choices matter quite a bit.

yet the background is Catholicism, that accepts all that is good in every belief system, not a narrowminded "you're wrong in some things so I won't admit you have some good ideas".

for a long discussion of Tolkien's works, LINK

for Boethius, check out the lectures at Kreeft's site, but I really don't remember which lectures he mentions the value of Boethius to open the eyes of our clueless modern students.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interceessors part 4

from TeDeum blog

Oh boy, here are some nuts and bolts from the news release:

McNeil said Lucas received the consent of the association’s internal governing council before suppressing the association. He further stated that Lucas’ decision was also influenced by Conn’s findings, which reflected negatively on Brown’s leadership. Conn’s findings included: errors in governing documents; serious disunity within the community; widespread dissatisfaction with leadership; lack of safe environment policies; questionable financial practices; violation of its own proper law; use of intimidation tactics to secure obedience from members; inability of members to articulate the Intercessors’ charism; lack of financial transparency; violating norms governing alienation and acts of extraordinary administration; a flawed understanding of prayer and spiritual discernment; absence of good human resources; confusion and violation of internal forum and external forum in formation and governance; absence of adequate economic stewardship; illegitimate and irreverent custody of the Blessed Sacrament; and confusion over the administration of Mass offerings...


sounds about right...it's the money...and the tendency of such groups to become cultish.




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Intercessors of the Lamb, take three

One problem that the Intecessors had faced was opposition by the locals.
Check Jan 2009 article.

Suttle said the Intercessors are thumbing their noses at several of the 18 conditions the Omaha City Council imposed on the property's use when it approved expansion in the rolling, scenic hills north of Omaha. "I really, really thought we were finally going to get peace in the hills and get everybody together," Suttle said Friday.

"It hasn't happened."
Longtime neighbors in the area of 40th Street and North Post Road say it hasn't happened because the Intercessors and their founder, Mother Nadine Brown, refuse to follow the rules or meet with neighborhood leaders -- one of the key conditions the City Council imposed.

Meanwhile, the Intercessors say the city is picking on them by requiring them to "jump through hoops" not imposed on other property owners. Gerard Forget, a Ponca Hills resident and the attorney for the Intercessors, says in court documents the city is discriminating against this "seemingly controversial religious assembly" because of its beliefs.

The Intercessors objected to the quarterly meetings with neighbors -- and objected to the City Council's designation of a planning official to handle complaints from neighbors.

and then, we have neighbors threatened by the "strange looking" folks who live there.

Neighbors long have been perplexed by the teal-colored-robe-wearing brothers and sisters of the group. The Intercessors, who live as hermits but in clusters, smile but rarely speak as they stroll the neighborhood. They live in at least 15 homes in the neighborhood -- yet no neighbors know where they've come from or their full names. Neighbors have fought some of the group's developments, including the tax-exempt status of several houses.

Well, yes. Those scary looking folks.

I'm not saying that cults can't be threatening to neighbors. Years ago, I had relatives living near MOVE in Philadelphia, and they were threatened with violence by the group while merely walking down the street.

And I know of neighborhoods who rejected assisted living homes for the retarded or mentally ill, out of fear that their kids might see these strange people; and there is a lot of fear about halfway houses for criminals who seek rehabilitation.

But there are a lot of local groups opposing minority religious houses of worship. The most famous is the "Ground Zero mosque", but cases against church expansion are a dime a dozen.

LINK LINK LINK LINK and probably lots more if you check local papers.


That is why the US Congress passed a law allowing places of worship to be built despite local zoning laws...

The real question from a legal standpoint is if there are questions of abuse or criminal behavior by the hermits. Just not being sociable isn't enough. That is not against the law.

And the other complaints, about building permits, about dust and traffic, are those often used to prevent a lot of churches and non profit schools from being established in neighborhoods.

It's almost as if churches now will be stuck away from where people live, in a "red line" district.

And the "tax exempt" argument is merely a part of anti religious rhetoric.

It ignores that originally taxes were only for the rich, not everyone.

It ignores that the government recognizes the idea that "the power to tax is the power to destroy"

and that in the US, churches are seen as a community good, since most church members tend to be law abiding, not drug addicts etc.

Yet time after time we read the same thing: neighbors are suing, or using local zoning laws to stop churches from building or expanding or readjusting their use of buildings.

Yet it makes one wonder: Where do these folks get money to sue? This suit has cost "three neighbors" $200 thousand in legal fees.
presumably this means the church has similar fees, depleting their savings that could be used better elsewhere.

Then there is the argument using "historic districts" as an excuse to stop churches from building.

Even that "mystic monk coffee" monastery is getting sued by local ranchers who object that...hell, I don't know. Maybe their singing will upset the steers.

The proposal triggered a clash between ranchers who live miles apart, trying to protect their quiet, rural open spaces, and the hermit monks who live a secluded, Spartan life of prayer and meditation and are looking for more room to meet their expanding order and maintain their privacy.

Most Americans would agree with this:

Ranch owner Dave Grabbert, whose family has held the property since 1938, has agreed to sell to the religious order, and he describes the two monks he has met as personable, intelligent and "just decent guys."

"I don't care if they're Hindus, Buddhists or what they are, but being decent people, that's really a plus in this day and age," Grabbert said. "Not everyone is."


Yet his common sense isn't that of all who live there:

Some of his neighbors object to the sale, citing concerns about traffic, wildlife, water – and questioning whether the massive stone structure fits with the rural landscape.

"The plans look like someone took an old cathedral and just dropped it onto our beautiful landscape," Mary Elliott, who lives about 15 miles from the site, wrote to the Planning and Zoning Commission. She noted the religious order wouldn't be paying property taxes.

"As their contribution to this community will be prayer rather than property taxes the town will take a large loss on the currently paid property taxes," Elliott wrote.."

ah yes, she lives 15 miles away but objects to....what? Can she even see the place?


Of course, this isn't just a Catholic thing: San Diego neighbors don't like the Buddhists for the same reason:

BONSALL – About 200 residents have signed petitions against a Buddhist monastery and meditation center proposed for a hillside above the San Luis Rey Downs Country Club.

Opponents say the Asian-style temple would be architecturally inappropriate for the rural atmosphere embraced by Bonsall residents and would attract more traffic and put a strain on infrastructure.

"Neighbors" also opposed a Jain Temple in Ohio,

This "Hindu" temple had to keep finding sites that they could use before they found one that was approved. (it is not clear if this is the same group as the above...Hindus and Jains are not the same).

if you read the article, you will find stuff like "sewage" and water (appropriate) but also things like telling them how many trees they have to plant and insisting that the building be harmonious. Again, we hear dislike of lighting, traffic, and noise being voiced, and we hear about "property values" going down (although I suspect the presence of the Temple would encourage their members to buy local houses).

And of course, the Mormons (LDS) are used to this type of problem. I lived out west, and know that there is an anti Mormon bias among many "gentiles", mainly because the LDS tend to shop in LDS owned stores and help each other's businesses. And if you push them, they bring up the "Mountain Meadow Massacre" to imply that you must fear your local LDS neighbors, never mind that that was a personal feud by a few hot heads.

Catholics have the Inquistion and Gallileo, the LDS have the MMM, as if these historical aberations were the norm. Sigh.

In other words, there are a lot of anti religious folks out there who will fear those of another religion and use lame excuses, and much of this opposition is against Christian churches of the stricter sort, not just against Mosques.

-------------
so what does this have to do with the IOTL?

It's just that, as I said in part one, that these "hermits" seemed to pick comfortable surroundings and attract a lot of money, something that disturbed me, since as an ex missionary I wonder about "religious" folks who over do these things. Was there irregularity in the funding? Was the order shut down because the Bishop was feuding over the control of the funding/buildings with the lay board (as opposed to the order)?

The latest article suggests it was that Mother Nadine seemed to have gone bonkers (e.g.overdoing it) in the last few years, increasing the cult like atmosphere in the group.

The three said the climate in the faith community had deteriorated in recent years and had grown increasingly tense over the past two weeks.

The founder of the organization, Mother Nadine Brown, stepped down as its general director at Lucas' request. Archdiocesan officials said that happened because an official church inquiry found numerous changes that needed to be made.

Basically, two factions formed after that, Nolte said. The vast majority supported the archbishop's call for the group to make reforms so it could move ahead toward further church recognition, he said.

Check her for early Alzheimer's please before deciding she is a heretic. (I will discuss some of the problems in later posts, since I found a discussion group about them on the internet)..

But if the bishop shut down the IOTL because of their feud with the neighbors, then I wonder. Such opposition seems to be widespread.

And maybe that is why the lay board sees the bishop's interference as a grab for the order's holdings, as a way to increase the income/liquidity of the diocese.

I would love to know the real dirt behind all of this, but alas I suspect we won't really know.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

losing our moral vocabulary

Years ago, I wrote a lot of "letters to the editor" complaining that in medical ethics we were losing our moral vocabulary, unable to distinguish, for example, deliberate killing of the sick handicapped and dying with treating pain or terminal sedation to relieve the pain of a dying person.

That confusion is now extended to an entire generation of multicultural kids..

Read Archbishop Chaput.

“Sometime in the mid-1990s, however, reactions began to change,” he said.
(i.e. to a story about ritual sacrifice of a victim to get a good harvest).

“Haugaard described one classroom discussion that – to me – was more disturbing than the story itself. The students had nothing to say except that the story bored them. So Haugaard asked them what they thought about the villagers ritually sacrificing one of their own for the sake of the harvest.”

“One student, speaking in quite rational tones, argued that many cultures have traditions of human sacrifice,” the archbishop continued. “Another said that the stoning might have been part of ‘a religion of long standing,’ and therefore acceptable and understandable.”

Another student brought up the idea of “multicultural sensitivity,” saying she learned in school that if “it’s a part of a person’s culture, we are taught not to judge.”

“I thought of Haugaard’s experience with 'The Lottery' as I got ready for this brief talk,” the prelate explained.

“Our culture is doing catechesis every day. It works like water dripping on a stone, eroding people’s moral and religious sensibilities, and leaving a hole where their convictions used to be.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Intercessors of the lamb, take two

Michael Brown has a longer report HERE.

Seems a bit sudden, and ironic, isn't it, that liberal nuns can attend "women priest" conferences with the approval of their order, and teach our children in the US heresy, but no one even blinks?

If I knew any bishops here in the Philippines, I'd invite Mother nadine or "MS" Brown to come here and stay.

The money thing also seems absurd, although as I wrote earlier, they were too eager to spend it building. Given the millions paid out to the victims of pedophiles and the suspicion that reports of embezzlement of church funds by pastors or lay groups is usually never even reported to cops, one has to wonder about it here.

but since I haven't been with the group for 20 years, I am not up on the matter.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thought for the day

from first things blog:

I’ve tried to follow St. Bernard by encouraging theologians to return to biblical commentary—for example, the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series.

But as I’ve thought more about St. Bernard and Abelard, I can see that perhaps I haven’t really understood the deeper issue, which is the relation of spiritual discipline to intellectual discipline. Reading St. Bernard, one can see that his deepest commitment is to the priority of spiritual discipline. Our love, for St. Bernard (following St. Augustine) is our weight, our center of gravity. And our love is not formed, shaped, and guided by syllogisms—at least not reliably, not consistently.

There is, I think, a larger truth here. The wise are not always clever, nor are the clever always wise. Wisdom has to do with a feel for life—its fragility, its possibilities, its integrity. This is especially true for theological wisdom, which concerns God, a fullness of truth at once far more alien than what is known by natural wisdom, and at the same time far more searching, more personal, and more penetrating. To receive divine truth the soul must be carefully cultivated with instruments of prayer and spiritual discipline that are more powerful than the intellectual tools of analysis and argument.

Friday, October 15, 2010

killing the imperfect

Susan Boyle reveals her mum was told to abort her, and after she was born, the docs said she'd never amount to anything.

Andrea Bocelli's mom was told the same thing.

this is at a time when the UK has some of their bigshot media folks saying one should smother disabled kids.

And of course, when it is now known that half of folks diagnosed with "Persistent vegetative state" are aware of what's going on (earlier studies suggested only 30 percent, so this is not exactly a new finding), this is not being spun to suggest we treat these people with loving concern instead of writing them off as useless vegetables and starving them to death, but to justify starving them to death if they "ASK" for it.

we indeed live in a culture of death.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Intercessors the the Lamb

The latest news is that the Vatican, responding to complaints, is investigating the Intercessors of the Lamb.
Although the liberal US newspapers seem to think a Vatican investigation of the liberal anti Catholic nuns is a form of "persecuting", it must be said that conservative orders also are often investigated (EWTN's convent for example had a visitation in the 1990's).

There have been complaints of the IOTL for their cult like activities, which is not surprising. This may have been why Mother Nadine has resigned. There is a fine line between charismatic leadership and cultish following, which is why so many founders of orders (some of whom later were declared saints) have been removed as the head of the order. If the work is of God, the order will thrive, but if the order is only based on adoration of the leader instead of God, it will disappear.

20 Years ago, I attended a training session on spiritual warfare, and found it good. It was more about praying and putting our self in the service of God, and learning to listen to his voice, than it was about exorcism, yet her involvement with prayer groups that prayed over folks would make some less enthusiastic theologians shudder.

I didn't work with such prayer groups, but I have a relative who was cured of her hatred of her mother's manipulating spirit, and who is now a joyful Christian.

Yet I have another patient who was burdened with chronic back pain and depression. She had been divorced, and as a doc I figured a lot of her back pain/depression was made worse by her failure to forgive the SOB who abused her.

Alas, she went to a Charismatic prayer group, who "guaranteed" she would be cured (in her words) but when it didn't work, they told her she must have some unforgiven sin or some lack of forgiveness that was standing in the way of her cure. This made her even more depressed, (even though it was in some ways true) because she interpreted it as the pain was her own fault.

In other words, although I recognize spiritual warfare is sometimes needed, and there have been a few times when I prayed silently about a patient who seemed to need it, or who seemed to be under a "demonic" type attack. I remember one teenager who was full of rage at her second unplanned pregnancy who swore she would go right out and abort it even though her grandmother was a good Catholic and opposed this. (She ended up having the child, and post partum we found cancer, making further pregnancies impossible. If she aborted, she would never have had it diagnosed).

another patient was one depressed woman whose prozac wasn't working...turns out she couldn't forgive God for her mother's painful death...no, I didn' t pray with her, but I did discuss this as a spiritual matter, and since I had been a missionary, I had the "credentials" to assure her it was okay to "hate" God.



(No I do not pray "with" the patient....and I hate praying in a public prayer group where you face each other as one big happy family, even in my own family dinner. I object to such as lowering the barriers to my personal life...and when , in medical school, we had secular versions of this as "encounter groups", I either lied about personal information or arranged for the nurses on the floor to page me out for an emergency)

So on the spiritual level, the "spiritual warfare" part seemed okay, especially since Mother Nadine seemed to work with docs and psychologists in the bad cases.

Yet her charismatic personality attracted a few with the "blank eyes" of the cult follower...at least among the lay followers, but again no more or less than in other prayer groups e.g. Medjugorje followers. (maybe 5 to 10 percent).

Among those in her order, they all seemed to be level headed, and no blank stares, so I didn't worry too much.

My main worry, however, was that these "hermits" lived in a big house. Yes, I know: these huge "white elephants" are hard to sell and cheap, and the hermits and her prayer groups tended to fix them up and raise the money.

But I am an Ex missionary, and seeing the posh "guest house" with it's expensive carpet I almost walked out in rage. A local woman followed me, and assured me that this was "nice" for her guests, and not the area of the hermits, which was simpler.

Yet this is an ongoing problem for me.

I objected to Mother Angelica's huge shrine, and I object to the "Mystic coffee" order's plan to build a huge monastery out west. Yes, I know: A beautiful church will attract pilgrims and be a core for the area's religion.

When they are closing Catholic schools, when Catholic hospitals are merging, when Catholics in the third world are poor, one wonders: Yes, build a nice church, but why overdo it into a palace?

So I am happy the Vatican is putting it's two cents into the group. I figure they will not have to be dismembered but come out stronger (and alas they are in a diocese that suffered greatly from liberalism, and which can use their prayers).

I should mention that they have a prayer group in Manila too.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

culture of death

one commenter during the Pope's visit to the UK mentioned that it was the epicenter of the culture of death.
Maybe or maybe not.

But their elites are pushing it there.

From Secondhand smoke:
links to the UK news columnists saying they think they have the right to kill their kids.

And then he links to the Belgium experience on euthanasia.

and, of course, it is no coincidence that this is at a time when the Nobel prize was given to the doc who started the testtube baby fad, with it's millions of embryos left unwanted in fridges.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

st Francis of Assisi

in a lot of churches, they bless pets (including in Manila here) in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

He is best known for his cheerfulness, and his love of animals.

And for this poem:
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

There are several movies on line about him, but alas I hate the portrayal in "brother sun sister moon" because it makes him out as Schizophrenic.

Factoid: He was a POW and the turn to God from his father's wealthy lifestyle might have been a way for him to cope with PTSS.
GKChesterton's biography can be bought HERE.