Sunday, August 31, 2008

Papal Infallibility and Authentic Relationship

I've been thinking lately about the fallacies of the clerical caste system and it's relationship with the laity. In Paul's letter to the Galatians he makes the following point:
"Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed.

Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.

For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

The relationship between the clerical caste and the laity is based in separating male from female, ordained from laity, and demands slavish obedience rather than respecting free choice. It mandates a Catholic identity based on law observance rather than life in Christ. In short we are not one in Christ Jesus, we are two distinct classes, one sacred and one profane, one possessing truth and one transgressing truths, one spiritually dominant and one spiritually dependent.

The magisterium continues to promote this class distinction principally through the notions of Apostolic succession and Papal infallibility. The desperation to maintain this veneer of ordained sacred supremacy can be seen in the world wide unified response of secrecy and cover up with regards to clerical sexual abuse.

To me it is somewhat mind boggling that the Institutional Church has not been prosecuted as a criminal pedophile cartel, and this itself is probably indicative of just how ingrained obeisance to the Catholic hierarchy is in the West and the former colonies of the West. In the case of Interpol, this refusal to prosecute the Roman Catholic Church directly contradicts it's mission statement with regards to crimes against children. One cannot look at the response of the Institutional Church to pedophile priests in the last 70 or so years and not see a world wide criminal conspiracy based in secrecy and premeditated cover up orchestrated directly from the Vatican. The existence of the document Crimens Sollicitationes is all the evidence one needs, and it's most recent copy was issued by the hand of Cardinal Ratzinger. Any yet, the Institutional Church is untouched by secular criminal authorities. La Cosa Nostra must be green with jealousy.

Rosemary Ruether touches on these issues in her book Catholic Does Not Equal The Vatican.
She has the following to say about the notion of Papal infallibility: "A church that believes itself infallible in the pronouncements of it's monarchical ruler is a church that has encapsulated itself in its own apostasy and made that apostasy irredeemable. The mistaken claim of papal infallibility was imposed at a particularly bad moment in late-ninetheenth-century Italian Catholic history. In my view as a theologian, every other sin is forgivable except this sin of claiming to be infallible, because it is a sin against the Holy Spirit......The error of infallibility fixates all other errors, and to repent of it is also to liberate ourselves to be human, knowing ourselves to be finite, fallible, and able to see only in part, not absolutely or with final certainty. Knowing our fallibility liberates us to be Christian, to live by faith, repentance, and the grace of transformation, gifts of the Spirit without which we cannot be in authentic continuity with the new life in Christ and in authentic relationship with each other."

This notion of authentic relationship is for me, one of the primary concepts taught by Jesus. It's a concept I first came to really understand not through the Church, but through the writings of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Authentic relationships are grounded in the perceived equality between the participants. They also need grounding in an authentic relationship amongst the various aspects of ourselves. Not only must we see the life of Christ in others, we must see it in ourselves. As Paul writes, the authentic relationship, or authentic life in Christ, does not include arbitrary culturally defined subclasses like male to female, Jew to gentile, slave to master, or within ourselves, super ego to id, parent to child, or addiction over self autonomy.

All of these classes and distinctions must be exposed to the grace of transformation and the Gifts of the Spirit. This applies most especially to the Institutional Church and is most evidenced by the continuing pedophile cover up.

I've spent many hours in conversations with Native American spiritual leaders discussing the state of their respective reservation cultures. Addiction and child sexual abuse are escalating problems and to a person, these elders see these trends as evidence of a profound soul disconnection-sickness- amongst their people. I don't remember attending a sweat ceremony in which prayers weren't offered for the spiritual restoration of their people.

The Catholic clerical culture is facing the same soul sicknesses of addiction and child sexual abuse, but unlike Native elders, our clerical elders are wedded to a notion that directly prevents them from seeking the transformative restoration my Native friends are free to seek. That notion is Papal infallibility. This is not just a blasphemous sin against the action of the Holy Spirit it is also a vicious circular delusion which precludes any healing. Until more Bishops like Geofrey Robinsion and Tom Gumbleton can come foreward and question the delusion, real healing for institutional Catholicism is unlikely.

The laity can raise our voices all we want, but the sad thing is this clerical delusion does not allow for them to be heard. This is why it is imperative that more bishops speak out about the flaws in this system. Part of the delusion of the system is that bishops are more or less exempt from the inbuilt canonical expulsions with in the system. They can be and are, marginalized and ostracized, but that very process indicates their voices are being heard. They are the keys to unlocking the delusion and reopening the doors to the transformative action of the Spirit. I pray that more bishops continue to come forward, that those who are still genuinely open to the transformative action of the Spirit will not let themselves be silenced through fear or shouted down by the clerical fear mongers. That in the end the love they feel for the Church and the People of God will win out over the fear of Vatican power. I have hope that as more of them reach the age of retirement and the power of the delusion is seen for illusion, that more of them will finally speak out----but then maybe I'm delusional.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

More On The Pro Life Ticket

Conservative leaders react to McCain’s VP choice of pro-life Gov. Sarah Palin

Dayton, Aug 29, 2008 / 12:55 pm (CNA).- Sen. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin won praise from many commentators within the ambit of the Republican Party, but especially among pro-lifers. Praising Palin as “strongly pro-life,” speakers remarked that Palin’s decision to carry her Down’s syndrome child to term was an especially sharp contrast with Sen. Barack Obama’s opposition to legislation that would protect infants who survive abortions.
Sen. McCain announced the choice of Palin at a rally in Dayton, Ohio on Friday. McCain introduced her as someone "who can best help me shake up Washington and make it start working again for the people who are counting on us."

Palin was born in Idaho on February 11, 1964. According to a biography on Alaska’s official web site, Palin moved to Alaska with her family later that year. Her husband, Todd, is a production operator for BP and a champion snow machine racer. They have five children, with Palin recently having given birth to a son with Down’s syndrome in April.

She has also served as city councilman and mayor of Wasilla, a south-central Alaska town with a population of reportedly more than 6,000 people, and served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission, which regulates the state’s oil and gas resources.

Speaking in a phone press conference, several expert panelists with Republican sympathies praised the pick.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, lauded the decision.
"Sarah Palin is the whole package. There couldn't be a better vice-presidential pick," said Dannenfelser. "Women voters are electrified,” she continued, describing Palin as a “reform-minded woman” who is “truly in sync with the way real women think.” She will “give all Americans, born and unborn, the authentic leadership they deserve," she said.

Father Frank Pavone, President of Priests for Life, called Palin “strongly pro-life.”
Asked how the selection will be received by pro-life Catholics in particular, Father Pavone added, “It will no doubt be received very well.”

He noted that the pro-life community already was somewhat familiar with Palin because she recently gave birth to a baby with Down’s syndrome.

Father Pavone suggested Palin will bring more into play the “pro-life increment.” He explained that for the one-third or more of the electorate who consider the abortion issue in their votes, there is a two to one margin in favor of pro-life candidates.

Jill Stanek, a conservative journalist and blogger, asked the panel to contrast Palin’s decision to deliver her Down’s syndrome baby with Sen. Barack Obama’s opposition to legislation that would protect infants who survive abortion. (I sincerely hope the republican party does not make Palin's son Trig, a political football.)

Father Pavone replied, “the contrast between those two facts about the candidates is going to come out… we’re going to make sure that it comes out, it’s a very striking contrast.”

(Oh, I guess her son Trig is going to be made a political football. His birth has been mentioned about four times already in this article.)

Dannenfelser quoted Palin’s own comments when she discovered her unborn baby had Down’s syndrome: “We feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift.”

Dannenfelser remarked: “Contrast that with Sen. Obama’s approach to leaving born-alive babies left sitting there for dead, and also making the comment, if his daughter got pregnant, he would not ‘punish her with a baby.’ (Obama's daughter is twelve or thirteen, forcing her to have a baby at this age is punishing on the body.)

“It’s ‘punishment’ versus ‘privilege,’ that’s the contrast,” Dannenfelser asserted.
CNA asked the panel whether the Palin pick was a tacit acknowledgment of McCain’s weakness among pro-lifers.

Dannenfelser said that she believed people think McCain has genuine pro-life convictions, but suggested that anyone skeptical should see the Palin choice as a “perfect complement,” not as the filling of a weakness.

Father Pavone agreed, adding that the selection of Palin eliminates any concern about a possible pro-choice vice-presidential nominee.

“I think this will help us know he really does embrace this issue in political practice as well as in his voting record,” he stated.

Ken Blackwell, Vice-Chairman of the Republican National Committee’s platform committee, added his own comments.

He remarked that, as someone who guided the platform committee to the “most significant pro-life platform in the Republican Party’s history,” he thought John McCain’s “full embrace of the platform” is shown in the ticket. “This team does not reflect one iota of weakness. It is the strongest pro-life team with a pro-life platform in the history of the Republican Party.”

When CNA asked how McCain could be described as such a strong supporter of the platform in light of his endorsement of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Blackwell noted that McCain’s campaign has worked with the platform committee on the relevant language. Blackwell said he thought that McCain, if he recognizes that there have been breakthroughs in research that do not involve the destruction of embryos, “that [recognition] will make this argument… a non-starter.” (Yet, the fact still remains that McCain supported stem cell research. I seriously doubt the generosity being extended to McCain will be extended to any democratic candidate who voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research, even if they too 'recongnize' breakthroughs in adult stem cell research.)

Leaders of other interest groups in the GOP also praised McCain’s vice-presidential pick.
Sandra Froman, former National Rifle Association (NRA) president and current board member, called Palin, an NRA member, an “outstanding pick” who would “energize the gun rights community.”

“How can you go wrong with a moose burger-eating, fishing governor?” she asked in a delighted tone. (Ask Dick Cheney, another gun toting VP whose gun competency would up shooting his friend. Thank God Palin has other qualifications than moose burger eating and fishing.)

Grover Norquist, a prominent fiscal conservative who is president of Americans for Tax Reform, praised Palin as a “reformer” who improved government transparency by putting government financial records online.

Several panelists suggested that the pick would also appeal to Hillary Clinton supporters disaffected by an Obama candidacy and the prospect of a victorious Obama’s control of the Democratic Party. They also thought the choice courts “Reagan Democrats” who voted against Obama in the primaries.

Panelists argued that the choice of Palin, Alaska’s governor for only two years, would not eliminate Republican charges that Obama is inexperienced.

“When you compare her experience to Barack Obama’s experience, her executive experience, her experience as mayor, her experience as assistant governor, her experience as a reformer, her experience as an environmental activist,” Blackwell argued, “she is more prepared, more experienced to be president than the top of their ticket.” (I don't know how you can call her an environmental activist, unless one means opening up the environment to more exploitation. McCain is more of an environmental activist than Palin is.)

Elsewhere, social conservatives were enthusiastic about the Palin choice.
“What a remarkable pick,” Austin Ruse of C-FAM told CNA in a statement. “Social conservatives are dancing in the streets. This is smart and dare I say sexy pick. My wife Cathy and I are gushing.”


I'm flattered that Austin Ruse took the time to leave a comment on this blog. It's nice to know this backwater blog has garnered the interest of the President of C-FAM. I have to admit I had to google C-FAM and to find out what C-FAM is about, so it didn't really do much for my self hate.

C-FAM's Mission

To defend life and family at international institutions and to publicize the debate.

C-FAM's Vision

The preservation of international law by discrediting socially radical policies at the United Nations and other international institutions.

C-FAM's Core Values

Fidelity to the teachings of the Church
Truth telling

Austin Ruse, along with Robert Royal, is also on the board of directors of C-FAM. These are a couple of pretty heavy hitters in the realm of Catholic neo cons. It's not surprising then that Austin would welcome the selection of Gov Sarah Palin.

In reading the above article from CNA I truly did get queasy reading how many times the birth of her son Trig was mentioned. It seems to me that for a woman who is as pro life as she seems to be that the decision to go through with the pregnancy was a no brainer. She and her husband rolled the dice on a late life pregnancy and the dice came up Down's syndrome. That's part of the natural law of late life pregnancies and actually has more to do with the age of her husband's sperm than her eggs.

They appear to have the economic resources to provide a very good quality of life for their son and he truly will be a gift. I have far more respect for people on the economic edge of life who carry through with a Down's type of pregnancy. It's tough to have a special needs baby when the resources aren't there for the special needs. Maybe this vaunted pro life ticket can do something about insuring all Down's children's needs are met---especially when these children aren't children anymore.

The problem I have always had with pro lifers is their lack of interest in changing the social circumstances which lead women to choose abortion. It seems to me it would be a no brainer for both republicans and democrats to get together and pass decent legislation supporting women after delivery. If that safety net was in place, maybe there would be more deliveries and fewer abortions.

Legislating away Roe v Wade is not going to stop abortions. Ecuador still has a significant percentage of abortions in spite of the fact the sentences for this criminal act are unbelievable. A first trimester abortion carries a sentence of 2-8 years and later term abortions carry a sentence of 30-50 years. Providers can garner sentences of 6-12 years and those providing any assistance 2-5 years. The real injustice in this law is that rich women go out of country for their abortions, making this a law which unjustly falls on the poor. A typical example is a woman who was the sole support for three small children who unintentionally became pregnant with a fourth. She aborted, was caught and is now serving a thirty year sentence. So much for the needs of her three other children.

I've written this previously, but it needs repeating. Only in abortion and sexual morality has the Church taken an absolutist moral position. Any other moral situation is weighed through a consequence based position. Hence we have the just war doctrine, under which many innocent civilians have lost their lives, but those lives are juxtaposed against the reasons for the war. The use of two different moral approaches undercuts the seemlessness of any notions of the Church being pro life across the board from conception to natural death. It is dissembling to treat one end of the life spectrum in absolutist terms while not extending this thinking to life after birth. The fact is, in spite of Cardinal Weurl's assertion to the contrary, the absolute value of the unborn has never been the traditional church teaching.

There is a whole series of prior teachings which did not consider the fetus to be a full human person entitled to either baptism or burial in consecrated ground. In previous generations the question was one of ensoulment. Quickening (or about the end of the second trimester) was considered the bench mark for ensoulment. This actually makes some sense given what we are able to do with neo natal intensive care. Only in the last four decades, mostly as the result of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops becoming politically vocal on the abortion issue, has ensoulment considered to have occurred at conception. This notion flys in the face of actual biology since many fetuses do not implant in the uterus and are therefore not viable as potential life. It may be that thinkers like Thomas Aquinas who promoted the quickening concept are closer to the truth.

The other reason I dislike this absolutist position is because it is based strictly in biology. Mankind is not just a product of a set of biological principles. Mankind is also the product of an eternal spiritual identity. Abortion does not kill the spiritual identity. That unique spiritual identity is free to try again, even with in the same family at a later date.

God, through the auspices of the Archangel Gabriel, most certainly gave Mary a choice. God affirmed that pregnancy should be a freely made choice---one not forced on the woman. Had she said no, it wouldn't necessarily have precluded Jesus incarnating at another time or in another woman. A no would have effected His material biology, but not His spiritual identity.

I really hope that the selection of Sarah Palin is not indicative of another election being sidetracked by the absolutist abortion position. There are other issues and many of them, such as universal health care, could have far more positive consequences on the number of abortions than the repeal of Roe v Wade.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Some Thoughts On Sarah Palin As McCain's VP

I am somewhat shocked with McCain's choice for VP. Sarah Palin has done some things in Alaska which bear watching, but the thought of this basically inexperienced woman as a potential president is terrifying. The following is an editorial from Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press. It's worth reading.

This is why people don’t like politics. And this is why people so deeply distrust politicians.

For months, the Republican party and its presidential nominee, John McCain, have been absolutely hammering Democratic nominee Barack Obama as inexperienced, and unready to be president.

The theme at their counter-convention tent in Denver last week, where the Democrats nominated Obama, was “A Mile High, an Inch Deep,” a clever but nasty allusion to the idea that Obama’s scant government experience is not sufficient to be commander in chief. But now comes Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice presidential choice. Sarah Palin? For 20 months, she has been governor of a state whose population is smaller than the City of Detroit’s. Prior to that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town whose population is about 8,500 — about two-thirds the size of Berkley, Mich. Before that, she was on the city council in Wasilla for four years. That’s it.

On what planet is this pick not an example of a stunning — and galling — hypocrisy? By McCain’s own terms, Palin is an indefensible choice. And this is the problem with modern politics. Politicians say what they think they need to say to win votes, exploiting any advantage they can in the polls, and then they turn around and do exactly the thing they’ve criticized others for doing if it works, again, to their political advantage.

I’ve long said you wouldn’t take that kind of disingenuous kind of behavior from a friend, or an employee, or even from a dog; why on earth ought we to accept it from those who would lead us — into war, into the financial abyss, into the future?

The most disappointing aspect of this is that it comes from John McCain, whose reputation over three decades in Washington has been that of a straight shooter, someone who says what he means, and does what he says. Some are saying his choice of Palin shows boldness, and exemplifies his streak for doing what he thinks is best, regardless of what others might believe, or tell him. But if this is how that streak manifests itself, in a decision that makes no sense by the very criteria McCain set for himself, and the country, to judge his opponent, then perhaps his independence is more reckless than what we can afford in the Oval Office.

Perhaps his judgment suffers when confronted with political opportunity. That’s not to say that Palin, herself, won’t impress along the campaign trail. By all accounts (and there aren’t very many intimate ones, given the remoteness of her political career) she is smart, tough, and something of a maverick herself. They say she has stood up for ethics reform in Alaska, which is a political backwater whose corruption rivals Louisiana’s, and that she was committed to energy independence way before gas hit $4 per gallon. That’s all fine. It’s also fine that the political calculations — the need to woo Hillary Clinton supporters, the appeal to the far right wing that is gained by adding Palin’s strong pro-life credentials to the ticket — cut strongly in Palin’s favor. But you could say the same thing about Barack Obama, that his other qualities shine brighter than the shadow of his inexperience; Republicans have been telling us for months that argument doesn’t wash. Now, with Palin, what are they saying?

On principle, this pick is a slap in voters’ faces. It either assumes their stupidity, or exposes a disturbing lack of integrity on McCain’s part. Maybe both. That’s worth remembering in November.


Placing Sarah Palin's legitimate credentials for a Vice Presidential candidate up against Joe Biden's is almost ludicrous. How stupid does McCain think Hillary supporters are? I have gotten into my share of arguments with Hillary supporters, but I can't think of one of them who would vote for McCain on the basis of Sarah Palin being on the ticket. If anything this would be considered a blatant political move having no basis in any appreciation of Palin's abilities. Most of the Hillary supporters I know weren't completely about Hillary being a woman, but about the Clinton legacy and her legitimate experience. They saw her as a VALID female candidate in her own right, not a token bone in a lost election ala Geraldine Ferraro.

To be honest, I'm actually stunned with this choice. Does McCain have any integrity left?

"I Will Give You The Keys To The Kingdom Of Heaven"

This morning I was reading Bishop Tom Gumbleton's latest sermon on the National Catholic Reporter website and was fascinated with his interpretation of Mathew Chapter 16 and Mathew Chapter 18:

"We've come to accept that, that it's Peter, now the successor of Peter, the pope, who has ultimate authority in the church, and especially since the first Vatican Council, which ended in the year 1870, so over 100 years ago, but still dominant in our church, we have ascribed to the pope, total power and authority in the church.

"To you I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." The pope, according to this interpretation, has total authority, total power within our church. We've come to be very used to that and have accepted that this is the interpretation of this gospel passage.

But in fact, that interpretation did not become part of the church's tradition until the fourth century, when Constantine (the Roman emperor) had been baptized and the church began to exist with freedom in the Roman Empire. It began to take on some of the traits of that empire -- power, prestige, wealth -- so this interpretation of this passage developed in that fourth century.
Before that, in the earliest tradition, the passage was interpreted as Peter being a type, an image of all the disciples. So Jesus is saying then, "It is on all my believing disciples that I build my church. To all my disciples I give the power to bind or to loose." That's the earliest interpretation and that's reinforced, actually, when you go just a little bit further into Matthew's gospel in the 18th chapter, and Jesus is speaking, not to Peter, but to all the disciples, the whole community. "I say to you, whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound."

So it wasn't Peter, and now the pope, that has the full authority and power within the church, it's the whole community, the church. That's what Jesus said to his disciples and that was the earliest interpretation of this passage."


Bishop Gumbleton's whole sermon is worth reading, but these few paragraphs struck a chord with in me. Sometimes just for fun, I'll take out a thesaurus and see if another use of a word might have a profound impact in interpreting the whole. Bishop Gumbleton tripped this process in me this morning and I chose the word KEYS in the quote from Jesus cited in the title to this post.

What if we interpret the word 'keys' not in it's literal sense, but as a synonym for the word "concept". In this sense the quote would read "I will give you the concepts to the kingdom of heaven." One of those concepts then becomes: "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." As Bishop Gumble goes on to point out, in Mathew 18:18, Jesus extends this concept to all of His disciples, not just Peter. Jesus also goes on to give another concept or key in verses 19 and 20: Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Another interesting thing to me about Chapter 18 is the verses directly following the above deal with another critical concept or key, and the discourse on this concept is initiated by Peter:

"Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.

When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.

Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'

Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.

When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.'

Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.

His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.

Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?'

Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.

So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart."

The keys Jesus gives in this story are the importance of forgiveness, compassion, and a very direct application of binding and loosening: as you treat others, so shall the kingdom of heaven manifest for you. This is a warning about the law of reciprocity, about binding and loosening. In other words, this is how the reality of the Kingdom works, and forgiveness, infinitely patient forgiveness (70x7) is in your own best interests.

As all of this percolated in my head, I couldn't help but wonder how different the Church would be today if this one word 'KEYS' had been translated as 'CONCEPTS'. Peter's faith would have been identified as a key concept necessary for the manifestation of the Kingdom. It wasn't Peter's personal authority that motivated Jesus to call him the rock, it was his steadfast Faith in the person of Jesus. Peter, more than any other disciple, needed the lesson about the immensity of the Father's capacity to forgive and the importance of imitating that forgiveness. Of all the disciples Peter was most prone to personal failure, and had the biggest issues with jealousy, but he was also the most faithful in his understanding of who Jesus was, if not necessarily what He taught. I don't believe Peter was ever intended to be the first pope, at least not in the sense we currently think of a pope. I think he was singled out for exhibiting the first key concept about the Kingdom of heaven-- the necessity for unwavering faith in it's existence and in the authority of Christ to manifest it's truth as the Son of God.

It really is mind boggling to think what could have been had this one passage in Mathew been interpreted differently. Instead of a monarchical papacy with all power and authority vested in one specially ordained man, we might have had millions and millions of disciples demonstrating the inherent truths of the Kingdom, by using the gifts and concepts of the Spirit just as Jesus lived, taught, and used these concepts----these keys.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Biden And The Bishops

Catholic leaders react to Biden pick; Bishops say he should refrain from Communion

The selection of Sen. Joseph Biden as Barack Obama’s running mate is drawing a chorus of disapproval from Catholic intellectual and pro-life leaders because of Biden’s longstanding support for abortion.

Most recently, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has said that Biden should refrain from Communion.
Over the weekend, CNA spoke with several prominent Catholics regarding Biden’s nomination for the Democratic vice-presidential slot.

The well-known Catholic intellectual and author George Weigel explained to CNA that Obama’s choice was expected. “Barack Obama is a pro-abortion radical, so there's nothing surprising about his choosing a pro-abortion running mate,” said Weigel.

According to Weigel, an Obama-Biden ticket is “deeply disturbing” because “neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden seems to have taken Catholic arguments about the first principles of justice seriously.” (I suspect both Biden and Obama have taken the Catholic position an abortion very seriously, they just don't agree with it.)

“The Church's pro-life position is not ‘sectarian;’ it can be engaged by anyone willing to work through a serious philosophical argument,” Weigel asserted. “Neither Obama nor Biden seems willing to do that -- which casts a rather large shadow over their claims to be the ticket of thoughtfulness and intellectual seriousness.” (Sounds like one can only be thoughtful and intellectual when they agree with Weigel.)

Weigel predicts that the choice of Biden will present the public with the sight of "‘Catholics for Obama’ tying themselves into even tighter theological pretzels, as they try to justify a vote for what seems likely to be the most radically pro-abortion ticket in American history.” (I'm not nearly as worried about tying myself into a theological pretzel over abortion as I am the over all future of this country.)

Deal Hudson, a Catholic political analyst, commented to CNA that the selection of Sen. Biden by Obama “has underscored his abortion extremism.” On the other hand, the tapping of the senator from Delaware may have some positive implications for Obama as well, noted Hudson, who called him “an affable, veteran politician who is unlikely to repeat the 2004 mistakes of Sen. John Kerry by overselling his ‘Catholic’ credentials.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, took a broader view of Barack Obama’s vice presidential selection, calling it “a wake-up call to the Church (clergy and laity alike).”

Among the steps that the Church needs to take, said Fr. Pavone, are: to “improve the way we hand on the Faith, be willing to exercise the spiritual work of mercy of admonishing the sinner, and to keep politically active so that such people are voted out of office.” (Personally I hope the Church keeps up with the 'spiritual work of mercy of admonishing the sinner'. The more the bishops do this the more their hypocrisy and power agenda is there for all to see.)

Politicians, Fr. Pavone underscored, are engaged in publicly expressing “their support for keeping abortion legal” while at the same time consistently refusing to admit what abortion is. He added, “if a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how is he supposed to respect yours and mine?” (It's entirely possible that some politicians are making a distinction between potential life, and actual life; and have decided actual life should take precedence over potential life.)

Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, reacted to the news of Sen. Biden’s selection by saying, “The Democrats are slapping faithful Catholics right in the face. First, they will nominate the most pro-abortion candidate in history. Then they refuse to invite the beloved Archbishop of Denver even to offer a prayer at their convention. And now they nominate a pro-abortion Catholic as vice-president. Only self-hating Catholics could vote for this ticket.” (That's an interesting statement. I didn't know a Catholic who had concerns for more than one issue was involved in self hate. Glad that was cleared up for me. I'll have to work on my self hate.)

The president of the national Catholic advocacy group Fidelis, Brian Burch, interpreted the Biden pick as having “re-opened a wound among American Catholics.” He added that, “the American bishops have made clear that Catholic political leaders must defend the dignity of every human person, including the unborn. Sadly, Joe Biden's tenure in the United States Senate has been marked by steadfast support for legal abortion." (Maybe it was only a steadfast support for a woman's right to choose. Kind of like McCain's steadfast support to send troops to Iraq who had no choice--like Biden's son.)

Burch also highlighted the fact that, “Biden's own bishop, Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, Del., has said that the issues pertaining to the sanctity of human life are the ‘great civil rights issues of this generation’.”

Bishop Saltarelli denounced the notion that politicians can 'personally oppose' abortion, but refuse to pass laws protecting the unborn. In fact, Bishop Saltarelli has made clear that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should refrain from receiving the Eucharist. (This is another interesting intellectual challenge. Why isn't it extended to Catholic politicians who personally oppose the death penalty or the Iraq war and then vote for them anyway?)

On Monday morning in Denver, where the Democratic National Convention is underway, Archbishop Charles Chaput told the Associated Press that because of support for abortion, Biden should refrain from taking Communion.

During his tenure in the senate, Joe Biden has voted numerous times in support of abortion and has characterized himself as a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade.

Biden also revealed at a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas last November that his criteria for selecting nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court would include a pro-Roe test.

“I would not appoint anyone who did not understand that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and the Liberty Clause of the 14th Amendment provided a right to privacy,” Biden said. “That's the question I'd ask them. If that is answered correctly, that that is the case, then it answers the question, which means they would support Roe v. Wade."


Personally I think Barak Obama made a great choice in Senator Biden. Rather than seeing Biden's selection for VP as a slap in the face to Catholics, I tend to see it as a statement to Catholic Bishops. If the Democrats really felt the bishops had as much power as the bishops think they do, the democrats would never have selected Joe Biden. I suspect Obama understands that deep down inside most Catholics will start really thinking of who they want as president when they are at the gas station. The hope must be that they will start asking questions like "what kind of future are we really bequeathing to the unborn when our country is on the brink of an ecological and economic melt down."

If the issue is about potential life and protecting it, one would think the first and foremost priority should be about leaving a potential future in which to nurture that life. Unfortunately the pro life movement seems to be very strong on opposing Roe v Wade and very weak on providing any kind of environment for that potential life when it becomes actual life. Future and potential thinking is so much easier than dealing with actual reality. Dealing with actual reality is never so black and white as the fantasy thinking about potential and futures.

Catholic ethicist Christine Gudorf wrote a succinct and insightful piece back in 1988 about the Hierarchy and it's 'consistent life ethic'. She stated that while the Vatican uses an ABSOLUTIST version of Natural Law when it comes to abortion and birth control, calling both intrinsically evil and brooking no discussion; when it comes to matters of war, it shifts to a CONSEQUENCE based ethic that carefully balances conflicting values and allows for discussion from many quarters. In matters of war the Vatican relies on persuasion, not legal sanctions, ultimately leaving the question to the minds of individual consciences.

Where as members of the hierarchy feel free to deny communion to pro choice politicians and even threaten excommunication, none has ever denied Communion to a pilot who has bombed innocent civilians, or a scientist who is engaged in nuclear armaments research, or an executioner who administered a lethal injection. Where as the Church has strongly pressed for criminal sanctions against women who have abortions and abortion providers--Ecuador is the prime example--the same bishops have been busy dodging criminal prosecution for pedophile clergy and waving the flag of patriotism for the war in Iraq.

Being the self hating Catholic I guess I am, I can't help but notice that the absolutist Natural Law positions are taken with women's issues and gay (effeminate) men. George Weigel is undoubtedly using Catholicism to promote the neo con agenda, but the bishops are underscoring their authority on the backs of women and gays.

Rosemary Ruetherford makes the point that this attempt to shore up their authority on issues pertaining to women and gays is really about a recidivist attempt to keep the male prerogative in the dominant position by forcing the submission of women to this male prerogative and their masculine definition of God. It's hard to dispute her contention when one looks at how deferential and wishy-washy the hierarchy is when it comes to issues of male power and choice, like war and economic exploitation. I guess this is why it's acceptable for men to pop Viagra but women can't pop birth control pills, amongst other issues separating the sexes in the minds of the bishops.

I pray that as this campaign gets into full swing, and more bishops come out swinging against Joe Biden, that Catholics take a real look at what this posturing is really about. It has nothing to do with the Good News, and everything to do with maintaining the position of women relative to men. The complementarity of the sexes is just spin for the submission of women to the function of their wombs, leaving men free to choose to kill the fruits of those wombs with highly suspect moral justifications for wars and economic exploitation. Kind of like what happened to the Fruit of Mary's womb. It's sad to think the Church which establishes it's moral authority on the teachings of Christ has apparently missed the point of those teachings. But then it's not really about Jesus at all, at it's core it's about using Jesus to maintain male power over self defined 'others'.

Hopefully, Obama and Biden may rerpesent a sign that this system of male dominance is finally changing. For millenia all it's given us is war, exploitation of one group at the expense of another, more war, domination of the many by the few, more war, huge levels of poverty, and more war. It really is time for a change before it's ecologically too late to make a difference.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Personal Musings

Still having computer problems, and have reached the point where I am going to run out to the computer store and replace my PC. I'd rather replace it that delete the entire hard drive to rework my Windows program. Seems I picked up a trojan virus in Explorer and my McAfee program can't delete it or isolate it and so as this virus wormed it's way through my browser I eventually reached the point where I couldn't even access the internet.

My trials and tribulations with my lap top have been hysterical. I have been using an ergonomic keyoard on my PC which for technical reasons I can't connect to my laptop and still be on the internet. The USB ports are too close together. In the meantime I have been making mistakes with the laptop keyboard by the millions. I've managed to delete three posts on the NCR so far this morning by accidently hitting the back button. Even though I've done it already on this post, Blogger auto saves every 10 seconds or so. It's funny how one can get habituated to using something and then be completely worthless when one doesn't have that something anymore. I'll muddle through for today and hopefully tomorrow things will return to normal.

I don't know if I've written this before, but I've been given an advanced copy of Rosemary Radford Ruether's latest book for review. It's entitled Catholicism Does Not Equal The Vatican. It's described as a manifesto for progressive Catholics and that it surely is. I've always appreciated the preciseness of Rosemary's writing and this book is no exception. I was reading a few really powerful passages to my daughter last night and she was suitabely impressed, now wanting to read it after I'm through with it. That was exciting for me as my daughter had intended to double major in theology and theatre, but dropped the theology major as one professor after another left her Catholic college for the mandatum free pastures of protestant schools. This brain drain is one of the points Rosemary articulates in her book and something she herself just recently experienced with the University of San Diego.

I sat back last night and it struck me that being given this book to review at this time was truly a gift of the Spirit. To be honest, like some of the frequent commentors on this site, I was running out of gas with battling for the progressive view in the Church. I decided I would take all these computer problems as a sign I needed a break. The break has given me the time to read both Rosemary's book and Anne Rice's books and I can feel the batteries recharging. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the most important spiritual contribution God has given the West, and something the Institutional Church is corrupting almost beyond recognition for their own self preservation. This is a battle worth staying in, even if it's outcome is beyond my own life--if only for the really brilliant kids in the generations following me.

So I'll put the old PC on a shelf in a closet, and someday my daughter will find it, and being the curious kid she is, she will be compelled to see just what is was her mother was about in these last six years. I hope she realizes I wasn't just about computer games.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just a quick update to let you know I have had serious computer problems which effected my internet modem. It negated my ability to connect with the internet from both my PC and my laptop. We seem to have the modem fixed, but the PC is a horse of a different color.

In the meantime I have been reading Anne Rice's two volume series on the life of Christ. She's done a fabulous job of making Jesus human and making the Jewish culture in which he lived come alive. It's well worth the read. This Jesus is not the vampire Lestat.

In the meantime here's hoping the laptop keeps working.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

VOTF Speaks Out

VOTF Asks Cardinal George To Resign

The recently revealed deposition by Cardinal Francis George is a clear indictment of his pastoring skills and his inability to lead the people of Chicago. His repeated failures in both the Bennett and McCormack cases indicate a trend to disregard advice from outside clerical circles and continue to follow precedents of deceit, cover-ups and secrecy (imbedded in the clerical culture) in lieu of protecting innocent children from irreparable harm.

Voice of the Faithful, reviewing the concrete revelations in the deposition, has no choice but to ask the Cardinal to step down. We call for his resignation.

We also call for a criminal investigation of the actions within the Archdiocese revealed in this deposition. (325 IL. Comp. Stat. Ann.5/4 (West, WESTLAW through 2003 Reg. Sess.))
We ask, “Where is the criminal justice system in light of demonstrated criminal failings repeated across the country, diocese after diocese? When will Catholic citizens demand morality and justice in our own Church?” (That's a very good question. One I've had for quite some time now.)

We have seen bishops and other diocesan officials who aided cover-ups and enabled abusers rewarded with greater responsibilities and titles rather than being held accountable for their misdeeds. Does this system of rewards for failure encourage additional cover-ups?
Insincere apologies and large financial settlements are “street theater” whether the apologies come from Cardinal George, his brother bishops or the Pope himself. If no consequences accrue to those engaged in committing, perpetuating, or hiding crimes from Catholic congregations, the behavior continues. (This is another very good question. It seems to be the case with Archbishop Wilton Gregory.)

We believe that as Catholics we must exercise our baptismal rights and responsibilities, which include calling for our bishops to be accountable to the people they serve.

With evidence of this latest transgression, and reports of the settlements made in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and so many other dioceses, we have no trust in promises made by the hierarchy who created this breach of confidence. (We also note that Cardinal George was one of the authors of the bishops’ Charter to Protect Young Children, which his deposition indicates he then violated.) (Unfortunately the charter doesn't extend to bishops, just priests.)

Words of regret and apology, and promises of “unequivocal condemnation,” mean little if they are not supported by action.


This release is short and to the point. There really isn't much sense in mincing words. Cardinal George simply did as Cardinal George wanted to do, and then gave the obligatory empty apology for the fact he let Fr. McCormak loose to abuse more kids. Good job Cardinal George. I'm sure Rome will find a spot for you too. Nice way to pad your resume, using the backs of kids while you protect the brethren. Maybe you and Law and Burke can write a book: The Fast Track To A Vatican Appointment.

I don't have much more to say either. Good luck VOTF, I appreciate the effort very much, but we all know how this comes out. On the other hand, it's just one more nail in the ecclesiastical coffin. Maybe some day one of these enabling perpetrators will actually wind up behind bars.
In the meantime the voice of the laity is getting louder and louder.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trans Dimensional Cities Of Light

One of the strangest visions I have ever had in meditation happened two summers ago. I found myself in an extraordinary city of light, and knew somehow, that this city was above the one I live in. In the same vision I was shown a map of the United States where similar cities apparently existed. I was able to identify the area in which some of these cities would manifest.
One was in Colorado, one was in New Mexico, one was in California/Oregon area, one was on the Western Illinois border, and was on the Eastern slope of the Continental divide encompassing the Helena valley. There are others which I wasn't shown. It is to be a world wide phenomenon.
I was made to understand that their presence in these areas is due to certain magnetic and other geophysical properties. They lay on the intersections of lay lines, or energy lines which form a grid over the planet. People have used GPS to map the intersections of famous spiritual sites and you can see that the intersections of these lines form a pattern. This geophysical/spiritual energy operates on an intuitive level, and it's why some spiritual sites have had numerous historical spiritualities use the same location. Christianity for instance, has frequently built Churches and Cathedrals on the Sacred sites of previous spiritual systems. It's seem to be about the energy.
Shortly after I came out of this meditation I was called by a friend of mine who was extremely excited. By shortly I mean less than twenty minutes. She told me she had seen a beautiful crystal city manifest itself over Helena and so had her husband. This was in broad daylight and she and her husband were fully awake. I was speechless. In this case confirmation for my meditative vision came very quickly and I knew this was a big deal. We had to figure out what this was about. We still haven't really figured it out, but neither has anyone else.
Subsequently we have found that other psychics and spiritual people have seen the same thing and we all talk about the magnificence of these cities. When Leon was here, out of the blue he started talking about the visions he had had of the one in New Mexico. He also spoke of the one in Colorado. Needless to say I took notes. I don't think he came all the way to Helena by accident. None of us really have a handle on what this means because although we've seen it, concrete information is coming in dribbles.
Some internet sites talk about these cities being the New Jerusalem, others talk about humans developing the capacity to move between those cities and our reality. Some sites write that these are safe havens for people during a future Armageddon from which the inhabitants will return and repopulate the earth. I fall more in line with the thinking that humans will develop the capacity and trans dimensional physicality to live in both the new cities and the old Earth. I no longer believe the Armageddon scenario is our future. I think our future lies in becoming that trans dimensional being which can live in both realities.
It was a beautiful vision. These cities don't resemble earth cities, and yet they do. They are a combination of the best of our historic architecture and architecture I can't describe. Buildings serve different functions and the over all sense of peace, love, and joy is profound. There are many kinds of entities, but I got the sense that all were involved in the evolution of creation and all understood themselves as pieces of the the Creator, all united in that basic Divine energy.
Entrance into these cities is not a reward in the classical Christian sense. There were people from all spiritualities. If anything it was the end result of a long process of remembering the truth of who we are as humans. We are eternal. We are part of the Divine. We do have a part to play in the Divine plan. We have an important part actually. Bringing in the Kingdom as Christ spoke of it, will have profound effects on the rest of the created material universe. Earth is not some accident of creation with no purpose. It has a huge purpose. Earth is in some senses a test of free will. Can beings who are essentially light beings and eternal, incarnate in a denser physics, which by the very nature of the laws of that physics blinds them to their truth? Can they find the truth of themselves with in that reality? Will they learn to come back home to God and in doing so bring the Light of the Creator into denser material reality?
Jesus taught the path back in the most concrete terms of any of the great spiritual masters. He was the first of us who really understood His divinity and the importance of us understanding our Divinity. It is important not to forget that He was brought to His knowledge by other beings who are every bit as invested in our success as we should be. I wish I could write to you that I saw Jesus in this city, but the fact is I was so overwhelmed I didn't even think to look. I'm sure His energy is there though, like it is everywhere else in this reality, even in the very air we breathe.
I've stated this before, but I'll state it again. It was very apparent to me that to gain entrance into these cities one needs to lead a clean life. One dedicated to finding God and losing the enculturated ego. A life dedicated to recognizing the Divine within each person you meet, even when those people give you heart burn. One needs to get past the heartburn and think trans dimensionally in order to see the connections we all have with each other and our parts in the Divine plan.
In my case that would be Fred Phelps, amongst others. Fred has been to Helena when the legislature was debating equal rights for gays. I had to develop the capacity to turn the negative into a positive lesson. So far with Fred I'm thankful that my life is not overwhelmed with the incredible amount of hate his seems to be. This has freed me to see that Fred has a lot of issues which preclude him from gaining access to these cities. I have a lot of compassion for him. It saddens me to think that people, will by their very fears, stop themselves from experiencing these incredible trans dimensional realities--at least in this lifetime.
On the other hand, I can take great comfort in the fact the Fred is so over the top, that he's forcing a lot of luke warm people to take a stand, to make a choice. That's what this life is all about, so in the final analysis I can see that Fred is actually part of the Divine will, and laugh a little knowing that his part in the Divine plan isn't quite what he thinks it is. When you can learn to think past your own hurt, you find that there is a lot of humor in this universe. It's transcending the hurt and betrayal that gives one access to the trans dimensional. It's what Jesus learned in the Garden of Gethsemane. There's no short cut. You need to work through these hurts, pains, and betrayals because in the end it's worth it. Jesus showed us that too.
I have no idea when these cities will begin to manifest. I think it maybe with in the next decade or so, others think fifty years or more, Leon thought seventy years. I'm always the optimist. I was a sprinter, not a long distance runner. If it takes seventy years, I'm going to be way past my prime. :) In the meantime, I'm starting to get in shape. Who wants a fat, out of shape, trans dimensional body?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catholics and Alien Life Forms. It's OK To Believe In Aliens

Most religious believers don’t think discovery of alien life would threaten their faith.

Berkeley, Aug 19, 2008 / 04:00 am (CNA).- While some news writers and commentators from scientific backgrounds presume that the discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI) would undermine religion and religious belief, a new study reports that most religious believers do not think such a novel discovery would shake their faith. One mainline Protestant respondent to the survey even commented “Hey! I'll share my pew with an extraterrestrial any day.”
(I'll believe this one when I see it.)

The findings come from the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey, conducted by Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at both Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley California. Also written by research assistant Julie Froehlig, the survey notes several prominent commentators who hold that the discovery of ETI would shake religious belief.

“It might be the case that aliens had discarded theology and religious practice long ago as primitive superstition and would rapidly convince us to do the same,” Arizona State University physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies has said, according to the survey report. “Alternatively, if they retained a spiritual aspect to their existence, we would have to concede that it was likely to have developed to a degree far ahead of our own. If they practiced anything remotely like a religion, we should surely soon wish to abandon our own and be converted to theirs.” (Or at the very least update the book of Genesis and admit it's metaphor.)

However, the responses given to the Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey show few religious believers say that the discovery of alien intelligence would affect their religious beliefs.
The survey report summarizes the hypothesis it is testing as: “upon confirmation of contact between earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.”

The survey reports that the evidence gathered “tends to disconfirm this hypothesis.”
Surveying 1,325 persons from around the world, the researchers categorized respondents’ religious beliefs as non-religious, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, evangelical Protestant, Jewish and Buddhist. Categories with a sample size of less than 35 were not used in the survey.
The researchers asked respondents whether the confirmed discovery of intelligent beings living on another world “would so undercut my beliefs that my beliefs would face a crisis.”

Less than ten percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, excepting Jews, who agreed or strongly agreed at a rate slightly over ten percent. While about ten percent or less neither agreed nor disagreed, 89 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. (I suspect the truth of this would strongly depend on just what kind of aliens we are talking about,)

Among Catholics, eight percent agreed or strongly agreed while 82 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. (Even the Vatican has come out and said it's OK to believe in the existence of aliens.)

One Catholic survey respondent commented, “I believe that Christ became incarnate (human) in order to redeem humanity and atone for the original sin of Adam and Eve. Could there be a world of extraterrestrials? Maybe. It doesn’t change what Christ did.” (Actually, if one is forced to throw out the book of Genesis, it dramatically changes our understanding of what Christ was about.)

“Within the scope of Christian theology, it appears that little if any beliefs preclude the existence of extraterrestrial beings,” the survey report says. “Their presence would at most widen the scope of one’s understanding of creation and create some puzzles for how Christians understand the work of salvation.” (Duh.)

When asked whether they believed the confirmed discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence would throw their religious tradition into a crisis, 78 percent of all respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed, with only 11 percent being in agreement or strong agreement.
Catholics disagreed or strongly disagreed at a combined total rate of 66 percent, while 22 percent agreed or strongly agreed.

Curiously, the non-religious respondents composed the group most confident that the discovery of extra-terrestrial intelligence would undermine traditional beliefs and cause a crisis in religion. While only 20 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed, 70 percent were in agreement or strong agreement with such a statement.

Trying to explain the disparity between religious and non-religious respondents’ estimates of the fragility of religion, the report writers said “it appears that people who embrace a traditional religious belief system do not fear for their own personal belief; nor are they particularly worried about their own respective religious tradition. A shred of evidence suggests that believers in one religious tradition might be more inclined to impute fragility to other religions to which they do not subscribe or about which they know little.”

“Non-religious people seem to know too little about religious people, because they are mistaken in their assessment of the fragility of religious beliefs. (Non-religious people may be mistaken with regards to a hypothetical survey, they may be dead on if we encounter the reality.)

The report writes that the survey does not confirm the hypothesis that “the major religious traditions of our world will confront a crisis let alone a collapse” in the event of the discovery of alien intelligent life “Furthermore, it appears that non-religious persons are much more likely to deem religion fragile and crisis prone that those who hold religious beliefs,” it says.

I find the low key, but somewhat persistent raising of the alien question in Catholic circles fascinating. This is a new phenomenon. I was thunderstruck when La Osservatore Romano quoted a Vatican astronomer as saying it was OK for Catholics to believe in aliens. That sort of came right out of the blue.
I've wondered just how much the Vatican actually knows about the presence of aliens (or lack there of) as they certainly are well connected in intelligence services. There's a plethora of articles on the Internet about alien encounters with governments. Those don't interest me so much as verifying data is hard to come by. However I am aware of one purported alien interference story which I did have verified.
It involved a mysterious blob of light energy which appeared outside two Montana based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile sites. The energy ball completely disrupted all electrical communications within the base command site, leaving the military personnel without power or communications. The balls stayed for 12 hours and then disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared. I was first made aware of this when I saw a Discovery Channel program which interviewed the two commanders of the sites. The interesting thing was each commander thought his was the only missile site this had happened with as the Air Force had done a masterful job of isolating the members of each command from the other.
This whole thing was verified for me by an acquaintance who was a Colonel in Air Force Intelligence assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base at the time of these events. He was part of the debriefing team for one of the missile sites. He was stunned when I told him there were two incidents and that I had seen it on the Discovery Channel. He couldn't believe this incident had been declassified and he couldn't believe he didn't know about the other missile site. Apparently the compartmentalization extended well up the chain of command. For those who are interested the phenomenon also happened to the Soviet Union. Perhaps someone was sending a message.
The verification for this story and the secrecy surrounding it said an awful lot to me. It convinced me there is far more to this alien thing than we have been led to believe. Maybe the alien abduction folks aren't as off the wall as we would want to think. Shutting down nuclear missile sites is quite the message.
Native Americans take this phenomenon very seriously and so does the National Security Administration. When Leon Secaterro wasn't teaching us, he was regaling us with stories of alien intervention and alien inner dimensional sites within the Navajo reservation. He freely admitted he had seen the greys and that they were not friendly. He and other members of the tribe spoke of the continual surveillance by solid black helicopters. They also spoke to the use of dimensional portals by aliens to give them messages, which probably has something to do with the presence of all the solid black helicopters. That and the reservation's proximity to certain secretive government bases having to do with weapons technology.
He spoke of at least three other alien races besides the Greys and repeatedly made the point that humanity descended from Star Nations and not Adam and Eve. The Navajo cosmology contains numerous references to Star Nation peoples which is the basis for the Star quilts. This cosmology of an alien ancestry is germane to almost all indigenous tribes and their understanding of mankind's origins.
Sometimes it gets confusing when Native spiritual people talk about the Holy Ones or the Other Side Camp or their Ancestors. These are not the same things. Ancestors can refer to both dead relatives or their original alien races depending on the context. Holy Ones can be considered Angelic type beings or transcendent inner deminsional aliens or both at the same time. The Other Side Camp can contain them all. Their understanding of demonology is just the same. They don't have a concept of a fallen angel and his hosts of demons. Their understanding of malevolent influence is either the spirits of dead humans or the result of inner demensional alien interference from beings who feast off of the worst of our emotional energy. Leon speculates that the Greys might actually be our future selves from a ecologically destroyed earth and instead of being carbon based, had to become silicon based.
These late night talks got mind boggling and the speculation most interesting. Almost as interesting as speculating why the Vatican is all of a sudden interested in letting us know that believing in aliens is OK.
For some interesting discussion on this topic of aliens and Catholicism:

Monday, August 18, 2008

8 for 8 and Mind Blowing Great

Michael Phelps and Usain 'lightening' Bolt

Usain Bolt trots home in world record time
Michael Phelps on his way to eight.

I made a promise that I wouldn't get involved in the Olympics this year, that I wouldn't spend hours in front of the TV, that I wouldn't get caught up in all the hype. Then a small little voice said I needed to do just that, that I would see things which were truly transcendent.
I have seen things that have left my jaw in my lap. I watched Jason Lezak swim an incomprehensible last leg in the 4x100 freestyle relay and overtake the French world champion at the wall. Lezak's singular best performance was the critical lynch pin in Phelp's march to the Great Eight. Then I watched Michael Phelps himself defy space and time and win the 200 meter butterfly by .o1 second. I have studied the photo frames of this finish from Sports Illustrated, and it confirmed what I saw with my own eyes on live TV. Somehow Phelps jerked to the wall in the last three or four feet. In the photos this move is not captured. In the first photo he's about three feet away and somehow in 1/10,00oth of a second he's at the wall. You can see these photos here:
If that wasn't enough befuddlement for one day, I watched Usain Bolt blow away the men's 100 meter final and virtually trot through the finish line in world record time. Half way through the race he seemed to be shot forward, pulling away with east, and coasted home. I was like, "What just happened. Nobody does that to a world class field. Nobody coasts home to a world record in the men's hundred. How fast could he have gone?" Some commentators think he was at a pace which would have reduced the world's record by more the two tenths of a second. That is crazy stuff for a record which is usually reduced by hundredths of a second. It's the mathematical difference between 10 miles an hour and a hundred miles an hour.
For me what's been as interesting as their performances, have been their comments. When Phelps was asked about his eight for eight performance, he attributed it to the strength of his imagination and the fact that Mark Spitz had set the dream in place. It looks to me like Michael Phelp's imagination created a reality in which Michael Phelps winning his eight medals was a done deal, a forgone prophetic conclusion and everyone around him assented to that reality. His teammates swum one personal best after another in the team events, Lezak's just being the most glaringly obvious and Phelp's unworldly finish in the 200 butterfly is just one more piece of evidence.
As for Usain Bolt, when asked about coasting to the end and not really lowering the record, Bolt responded that he already had the world record. He came to the olympics to get the gold medal, and once he knew he had it, he celebrated. Did he ever.
Except to most professionals, there was something wrong about celebrating this event before one crossed the line. He gave up shattering the world record, and settled for just lowering it. I think the commentators are missing Bolt's point. His imagination was set on winning the gold, not lowering the world record. That he did both was an accident of doing the first. When he sets his imagination on shattering the world record, he will shatter the world record. He's only 21. He's got plenty of time. What he may wind up missing is the other competitors necessary to fuel the dream. Unlike Phelps who had some serious competition, this young man seems to be in a class of his own--like Tiger Woods.
And like Tiger Woods, who has admitted to 'willing the ball in the hole', these two young men have discovered the very reality changing potency of focused imagination. They are fore runners in one sense to the new version of humanity. Both Phelps and Bolt are members of a generation of young adults the New Ager's call the Crystals. These young adults are wired differently and have access to different mental and physical talents. ADD and ADHD are common amongst the Crystals. Phelps freely admits to ADHD, and the way Bolt celebrates makes one wonder.
Crystals have the capacity to change the way we view human potential, but they also don't view the world in the way older generations do. Bolt not caring about the world record is pretty typical. It's about the moment, not the future. It's about the main dream, not any other consequences. Employers for these reasons, amongst others, have real troubles with the Crystal kids. Once they've accomplished a given goal, they tend to move on. When they get captivated by a dream, such as Michael Phelps, they don't just move on, they shatter old perceptions.
It will be interesting to see how things move culturally once the Crystals get into politics and such. Catching a dream and shattering old perceptions is just what the culture needs--especially the Catholic culture. I think a number of Catholic Crystals have caught the Latin dream, but just wait, once they realize it's not that great a dream they may be the impetus for shattering some old perceptions. Besides, behind the Crystals come the Indigos and even more change in base humanity. The Indigos are even more difficult to fathom, as many of them are truly physically compromised. They seem to sacrifice physical competency for mental and psychic competency, but that's a different topic.
In any event Phelps and Bolt are two extraordinarily gifted athletes, blessed with potent imaginations. They also share one other common trait, an unfailing love for their single mothers. Wonder what that's about? It maybe that nurturing gifted Crystals is best left in the hands of female energy because real Crystals don't fit well in their peer groups or normal society. Training them for competition is a different story.