Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The path that led to the archdiocese's serious move to "suppress" the group is disputed. Archdiocese officials said Brown resigned voluntarily after it raised issues with the way the group was being run. Brown claims she was forced out and escorted off the group's property by authorities.To religious scholars, the dispute typifies the fragile relationships between the mainline church and offshoot groups that take it in uncomfortable directions...
...Intercessors' 2008 tax return, filed last November, shows the group had almost $4 million in revenue, mostly from its retreats and conferences, and nearly $1.9 million in expenses. Its net assets at the end of 2008 was listed as more than $6 million.
Online records kept by the Douglas County property assessor show the Intercessors owns at least 86 acres in Ponca Hills that have been acquired piecemeal over the years. The records show the group bought or otherwise acquired at least $3.3 million in property since 1993. A few of the smaller properties near the main compound were recently put up for sale....
It appears Intercessors' recent attempt to expand its mission may have led to its fall from grace. Archdiocese spokesman Timothy McNeil says Brown met with Archbishop George J. Lucas when he was appointed last year to discuss the Intercessors' future. Lucas ordered a review of the group, which the archdiocese has said revealed poor leadership, poor financial decisions, disunity within the group and "use of intimidation tactics to secure obedience from members," among other things.
McNeil says Lucas told Brown in September that in order for the group to move forward, it would need new leadership, restructuring and a financial audit. That's when she resigned, McNeil says, but characterized Brown's departure as voluntary and meant to allow Lucas to make needed reforms.
Brown contends in her online letters that she was forced out and was ordered by sheriff's deputies to leave the Intercessors compound for a time.
Soon after her departure, the Intercessors civic board seized financial documents and computers and refused several opportunities to meet with Lucas, McNeil says.
"That was the downward spiral," he says.
McNeil says the Intercessors board showed little regard for the 50 or so members at the compound who were penniless and in need of food and clothes, so the archdiocese took them in.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Subtle pushing of death?
so I found a lot of nature specials now on Youtube, and downloaded some from the BBC.
Yet on watching one about the south Pacific, it was beautiful, but they were showing the "goonie birds" learning to fly. Alas, some of them crashlanded, only to be eaten by awaiting sharks.
so far so good. Usually one expects the nature show to show the nest, the care of the egg and then chick, and then the first attempts to fly. But in this show, these parts were quite short, but we saw, over and over again, the poor chicks being eaten by sharks in graphic footage. I counted five at which point I turned it off, (lolo having fallen asleep).
I then checked another part of the film, and a similar "over and over" again footage was seen, of sharks eating penguins or seals.
Why the stress on death?
Nature shows often have a background commentary about "global warming" (leaving out the part about the glaciers melting 20 thousand years ago, of course, or about the various "Medieval warming" or "little ice age" parts of the cycle). They also tend to lament "loss of habitat", meaning that poor people are moving their farms into these areas.
To me this is personal, since I worked in Africa. You know why these animal herds wander around? It's the tse tse fly. If you live there, you will die of sleeping sickness, so folks don't tend to settle there. If you rid these animal areas of the tse tse flies, you could farm there and feed the world, especially if you introduced modern hybrid seeds.
After all, America feeds the world with areas that once were populated with millions of Buffalo/bison.
Yet even here, as the Hopewell people and the Mississippian culture other modern archeology are digging up the past, there is a question if the prairie and buffalo were the result of human depopulation, starting when the climate changed before Columbus, and then accelerating after the various epidemics traveled north with the trade routes from the south) not "natural".
It was thanks to the Rinderpest, that lowered the wild animal population ,that allowed much of South Africa and parts of Zimbabwe to be tsetse fly free, and have such productive farm land. And the (white) farmers tended to shoot all those wild animals, to keep the population down so the fly couldn't come back, along with a fenced area to prevent migration south, which I wonder if it is still there.
But better starving Africans and ignore the wars of Central Africa, and continue to promote "tourism" and show all those shows lamenting the passing of the primitive lifestyle in which everyone was happy, including the women who did a lot of the work and faced a painful and dangerous childbirth every couple of years.
(when I watch these type shows, I remember even in Tolkien, that it was the Entwives who made gardens, but their men ents loved the wild woods...guess Edith didn't quite agree with him about no car and no modern appliences)
One rarely sees modern Africa in these films. People are not as important as animals, except for a few shows that lament that globalization is destroying these "primitive" tribes. Hell0! a lot of these tribes are the losers. Why glamourize poverty, and not show their fellow tribes men who became Muslim and left for the cities 400 years ago? These are, after all, Iron age tribes. (Yes, there are still "bushmen", but it should be noted that they are being resetttled on farms in Botswana, and even N!Xau of "the gods must be crazy" did a couple of hilarious Chinese movies to build a decent house for his family before dying of TB.
When no longer offered film roles, he returned to his newly built brick house in Tsumkwe, and the familiarity of life as a herdsman, tending his cattle and raising pumpkins, corn and beans. He kept no more than 20 cattle at a time
Are live people allowed on stain glass?
Spiritdaily has a link to a controversy where a bishop included himself in a stain glass window.
I have no idea if the canon law still applies, but I know that in Oklahoma this stained glass window in our church had to be okayed by the vatican because it included some of the tribal elders, including several who were still living.
So I have no idea if including the bishop in a window is allowed or appropriate.
However, it's probably better that he be at the foot of the cross than placed in Hell, as Michelangelo did to one of those vatican officials who criticized his last judgement.
Monday, November 15, 2010
After prayerful reflection, the Holy Spirit has prompted me to release to all of you these thoughts and comments since the Suppression of the Hermit Association of the Intercessors of the Lamb one month ago. Hopefully the following will help to bring about a clarification of any misunderstandings which have come about as a result of these events.
Due to the statements released in the media, there is a perception that those former Hermits who relocated are the “obedient” ones and that those, including myself, who are currently here at Bellwether are the “disobedient” ones. I pray that the presentation of the following simple facts will help clarify for you that all of us former Hermits, both residing here at Bellwether, along with those who have relocated, have been obedient from the beginning up until today. I, myself, have never knowingly been disobedient to those in Church authority.
Uh, the bishop said jump, and many happily jumped. This suggests they agreed with him that there were problems.
Is the order a local order, whose head is the bishop? If so, Mother Nadine should have obeyed and left building owned by the lay board.
Yet one wonders why they were "ordered to leave", a major disruption. Usually if an order has problems, the heads are removed, often relocated to another convent, but the members (who are often innocent) stay put in buildings already owned and operated by their group. This presents disruption. One recent example is the Legionnaires of Christ scandal, and that involved a lot of lost money.
The fact that the bishop told them to leave buildings occupied by the group, yet the bishop not insisting they stop living in community (but kept them together elsewhere instead of sending them home) makes one suspicious of money disagreements with the lay board, and since money is involved, we will never really know.
Let us take a look at what began to unfold at 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of September 30, 2010 when I was called in and asked to resign both as General Director of the Hermit Association of the Intercessors of the Lamb along with also resigning as the President of the Board of the Intercessors of the Lamb, Inc., the civil corporation. Since I was under a Vow of Obedience,
I offered no resistance when I signed the prewritten statement of resignation presented to me, which gave absolutely no reasons for my resignation then, or up until this very day.
The very next morning, Friday, October 1, 2010 the Archbishop came to Bellwether to inform the entire Hermit community of my “resignation” and that he had placed a Trustee, Fr. Gregory Baxter in charge, who in turn announced new superiors of the men and women Hermits as well as a new General Council. Sunday evening, October 3, 2010, the formators of the women’s Novitiate and the women’s Juniorate were ordered out of their formation houses at Bellwether to the off-campus houses.
Fair enough, but as I noted above, why were they ordered out of the houses? Who owned the houses? Why not just tell Mother Nadine et al to leave, as was done with the Legionnaires and other similar groups?
and another question: Was Mother Nadine included in the order to move? it's not clear from her story. If she was told to leave, she was under obedience...
Their car keys were also removed.
And who owned the cars? individuals? The diocese? The order? the board?
They were initially only given an hour or two to vacate. Both (groups) complied with obedience to their new Superior. However, the male formators were not removed or asked to relocate from the two brothers’ formation houses. Shortly afterwards nine of the sisters and one of the brothers informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals.
Then at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, October 4, 2010, Fr. Joe Taphorn, accompanied by two Douglas County Sheriffs, came to Mary’s House to present a letter to me from the Archbishop stating I was to vacate the property by noon, three and one half hours later.
Sheriffs? that implies that the building was owned by the diocese, and they were evicting her. If the board owned the property, then the bishop has no civil legal authority to evict her.
Yes, he has the right to order her under her vow of obedience to vacate the premise, but LEGALLY he can't evict her using local sheriffs unless he actually owns the property, and the civil law is followed.
From Nebraska Eviction law:
Available Nebraska Termination Notices
A Nebraska landlord who wants to evict a tenant must first give notice that the lease is terminating. The type of notice a landlord must give depends on the type of tenancy at issue. If the lease is month-to-month, the landlord can terminate without reason by giving 30-days notice.
If a landlord wishes to end a term lease (1 year, 2 year) tenancy earlier, he or she may do so by serving the tenant with an appropriate notice. Nebraska allows for the following types of written termination notices:
3-day notice: : This notice is given for failure to pay rent and breach of the lease. The tenant has 3 days to pay the rent or fix the breach or the landlord can file for eviction.
Getting HelpEvictions in Nebraska are handled by the County Courts.
So if the bishop owned the house, he could evict her, but not without legal notice. And if he called in deputies to help evict her, it meant he must have had copies of the legal documents proving he owned the house, and proof he requested she leave, before he could use local law enforcement to evict her. (addendum: Were they local deputies, or private security guards, or is Mother making up the story?)
(addendum two: the only other reason for legally bringing deputies is if they thought the nun would resort to violence to herself or others).
If Mother Nadine's story is true, then the bishop could be sued for this in court. But since US bishops USUALLY follow lawyer's advice, the story suggests that more is going on than Mother Nadine (and the church) is willing to admit.
Again, follow the money.
It was also stated that I was not to leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without specific permission from the Archbishop.
Can the bishop do this? Who is her (canon) Lawyer? Who is her (legal) lawyer?
However, two minutes before noon, word came that I had an extension and could stay until 2:00 p.m. the next day, October 5, 2010. In obedience, I complied with this and left the property the next day via taxi. Because I was given no money and had no place to go, a friend provided accommodations in an Omaha motel.
She has plenty of friends, and didn't take the bishop's first offer to leave, so this implies she is twisting her side of the story.
Since the Archbishop indicated that I could not leave the Archdiocese of Omaha without his permission, I requested permission a week later to make a retreat elsewhere. I was denied the permission and consequently was obedient to this directive as well. Because the other nine sisters and the one brother had informed their Superiors that they were taking sabbaticals, they were free to go anywhere and they chose to join me. Consequently, there is no disobedience whatsoever on the part of these former sisters and brother.
That's parsing it closely. They are literally obedient to the bishop, but in reality they are disobeying the spirit behind his request.
Again, this is troubling and hints at pride, not humble submission that is the hallmark of holiness.
Then we come to the crux of the matter: money money money....
The board (do they own all this real estate)?When all of the events were unfolding, the Board had called a special meeting which required a seven day notice to the directors. This notice was delivered and the meeting was scheduled for Saturday, October 9th, 2010. At this meeting, a second meeting was scheduled for one week later, (again to fulfill the seven day notice requirement) to ratify its resolutions.
Consequently, the Board decided that it should only delay meeting with the Archbishop until after this second meeting which was certainly not a “refusal” to meet. As we all know, the Suppression happened on Friday, October 15, 2010 ... before the second Board meeting ever took place.
Foot dragging by insisting on the letter of the law? Was the bishop aware? What was the hurry in pushing all of this through? What does the disobedience of a lay board, that takes care of the money, with the congregation's spiritual problems of community life?
Plenty of orders have boards or superiors get into money problems without such a blowout. why the big problem here? Why the big hurry? It was almost as if the Bishop was afraid the lay board would empty the bank accounts and hightail it to Brazil with all the money. (Place conspiracy theory here. Given the money hijinks of the Vatican bank and in the LC scandal, one might suspect a coverup of money laundering or worse. Which is absurd.)
So whose name is on the bank account that holds the order's money?
Since the Bishop presumably has canon lawyers and legal advisors, we are missing part of the story here.
The cause of the Suppression seems to have been placed mainly on the Board, but the Board did not interfere with the governance of the Hermit Association in any way. It was a separate entity.
Yes, something is being hidden.
If some of her followers have complained about her, if she is a humble leader, she should be aware of their unhappiness and complaints before it happened. No organization is without problems, and Satan can use the disgruntled, the unstable, or even holy folks who get hurt to turn against and try to destroy such a group. (look at what happened to Teresa of Avila when she tried to form a strict version of Carmel).
Yet St Teresa was obedient, even to the point of going back to her old convent as superior,( and reforming the less strict Carmelite orders),
yet even Teresa wrote a biography to defend herself.
Two days later, after the Decree of Suppression was announced, the ten former Hermits and myself returned to Bellwether to resume our mission of contemplative, intercessory and spiritual warfare prayer in union with Jesus the Lamb-Who-was slain. (etc. etc. etc.)
Right. Spread it with a knife, as the saying goes. They are now "lay people" and on a leave of absence, so not disobeying the bishop.
The rest of the post is full of religious sweety nicey stuff about how they will continue to pray.
But again I ask: Who owns Bellweather, and who is paying their bills?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Scalia outlined a long list of Christian beliefs that he said are greeted with derision by the worldly — dogmas including Christ’s divinity, the virgin birth and Christ’s resurrection.
“Surely those who adhere to all or most of these traditional Christian beliefs are regarded in the educated circles that you and I travel in as, well, simple-minded,” Scalia asserted.
The Catholic justice cited a story in The Washington Post that described Christian fundamentalists as “poorly educated and easily led.”
“The same attitude applies, of course, to traditional Catholics,” Scalia said, “who do such positively peasantlike things as saying the rosary, kneeling in adoration before the Eucharist, going on pilgrimages to Lourdes or Medjugorje and — worst of all — following indiscriminately, rather than in smorgasbord fashion, the teachings of the pope.”...
“Assuredly, a faith that has no rational basis is a false faith,” Scalia said...
It isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles, Scalia said.
“What is irrational,” he said, “is to reject a priori, with no investigation, the possibility of miracles in general and of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in particular — which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do.”
Scalia cited the 10-year-old case of a priest in the Washington archdiocese who was said to have the stigmata. Statues of Mary and the saints appeared to weep in his presence. Reporters for The Washington Post did a story and were unable to find an explanation for the strange phenomena.
“Why wasn’t that church absolutely packed with nonbelievers,” Scalia asked, “seeking to determine if there might be something to this?”
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Good news: But it probably saved lives.
I already discussed this issue, at BNN, from two points of view: What would you do if it saved your child's life, and what would you do if you were a true Christian who seeks to obey God's law.
This question is easy for those who never were in such a situation, and there is simply no easy answer. However there is a right answer: Follow God's law.
and as I wrote earlier:
The naive say: no torture, because we can get confessions without it. Alas, often this is not so.
The pragmatic will say: No, we need to save innocent lives. Alas, often the innocent are tortured, and the police end up corrupted.
But the Christian says: we are only responsible for our own deeds, not the deeds of others. We may not do a bad deed even if we are fairly sure that good will come of it. So we cannot abort a child whose mother is in distress, nor can we steal because we are hungry, nor can we harm a prisoners who is helpless.
We will act ethically, knowing that even if short term harm comes from someone else’s deeds, because the first rule is to obey God. God is the one in charge, not us.
So if the Filipino police had acted as better Christians, and not used torture, perhaps the suspect would have confessed.
But there is another problem with using torture: people lie. They will confess to anything, and victims are known to make up wild stories to stop the pain. The US security system, knowing the Filipino police used torture, did not take the evidence seriously. The plot uncovered was so grandiose that the US security establishment assumed that the suspect had made it up under torture…
So although the information which was shared with the American government, it was ignored…until the second plane hit the World Trade Towers…
The ultimate irony…
Right now, I'm reading the part of Tom Shippey's book on Tolkien that discusses the way evil is portrayed in Lord of the Rings which often refers back to Boethius' book on the Consolation of Philosophy. The Tolkien professor's lectures and college course often brings up the same thing: the idea that nothing is evil in the long run, since God will arrange for good to come out of it.
In the west, folks think they have everything under control, but in the east, there is a deeper reality, and so we think "behala na" or "Inshalla".
But pre Enlightenment Christians understood this too.
Pope Leo the Great wrote:
That thought could be written by Boethius, or Buddha.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
a movie about St Rita on YOUTUBE...better than it sounds.:
Friday, November 05, 2010
But Father Ho has an essay at the link.
‘The Big Silence’ – produced by Tiger Aspect and broadcast on BBC 2 – was an opportunity for five people, from very different backgrounds, to step back from their hectic lives and experience silence. By sharing with the Benedictine community in Worth Abbey and then spending eight days at a Jesuit retreat centre in North Wales, they took part in a moving spiritual journey and shared their stories, their challenges and their frustrations with us. The final stage was to try to carry something of what they had experienced in their own silence back into their busy lives.
One model for these deals is Coventry Health Care's purchases in 2010 of two Midwestern plans owned by small Catholic hospital systems. Analysts said that while the Coventry deals were not expressly driven by health reform, they are indicative of how mergers will go.mainly book marked for later reading.