Yesterdays Vatican announcement concerning 'rooting out' of fraudulent visionaries is not just another step in Benedict's campaign to rein in rambunctious elements of Catholicism. In as much as it has opened the Church to more ridicule, and painted a picture of Benedict as an illiterate believer in silly debunked medieval myth, it was a dangerous step for him to take.
It completely undercuts his 'faith grounded in reason' commentary, and his carefully styled persona of highly cultured benign intellectual professor. This new initiative never needed to be publicised. Catholicism is a highly secretive hierarchical structure which could easily have kept this in house. So why do it? Before I get into my reasons for why I think Benedict took this self destructive step, I offer the following thread from another of my NCR Cafe family.
Dennis is an impassioned advocate for the People of God as a model of Church, and equally impassioned about how the current model can not possibly reflect the Church Jesus may or may not have intended to start. The following is an extract of a longer reflection, but is really timely in the aspects I will hi light below. The bold sections indicate some of my suspicions concerning the coming guidelines for visionaries.
Protect the faith, retreat to the basics (interpreted as dogma or as biblical literalism, simply and rigidly held and enforced); ostracize and demean the intellectual independents; exclude the seekers and the searchers; sanctify compliance; resurrect and idolize the symbols and trappings of the age of obeisance; redefine dialogue as negotiation; redefine terms of convenience like natural “law” to absolute; reintroduce fear as a teaching instrument (excommunication/dismemberment or “left behind”) for high and low; reward medievalism (plenary indulgences “advertised” for the year of St. Paul). These are the tactics, the politics, the strategies of fear, of dislike, of desperation - retreat behind the walls that are crumbling in the deception of strength and in the vain hope that the cavalry will come
What has all this to do with Christmas? I almost forgot. Over the season, I thought often about Mary. A teenager vulnerable in so many ways, pregnant by someone other than her husband, away from home about to give birth for the first time without medical or experienced family or community support, most likely without much more than a penny to her name; at the mercy of strangers, weather and so on and so on.... So small, having so little, being so insignificant yet burdened by and acceding to “voices” who challenged her to be the mother of someone who would be so significant that she couldn't imagine. I have no idea what she might have or have not comprehended about her son and the more immediate political/religious swirl that they would be embroiled into within weeks of giving birth. Is she our exemplar? Is she the Church's exemplar?
Did she flee into the temple or find a fortress or crawl into a hole; did she ring herself with guards, did she even lock the door? Did she insist that the “voices” protect her privacy, keep strangers away and guard her from whatever? Quite the contrary they blabbed it to anyone who was up and about that night and she welcomed these as well as real strangers who, we are led to believe, might have been Arabic? Was she so certain, so absolute in her son, her role, her significance her responsibility that she defined the events and directed their playing out? Did she define the terms of the strangers access to the child (other than maybe “don't wake the baby”)? Maybe the story is embellished but it seems to me that she remained open, offered herself and her Son, as Jesus would ultimately offer Himself, in the fullness, the simplicity and the realism, the potential of His message, His person and the perversity as well as the goodness of his community, of his history. She taught Him well.
Dear God, I love that woman. (Me too, Dennis)
When I was reading through Dennis's post the first time, I couldn't help myself from thinking about the consequences which would have ensued for Mary, had she been subjected to the Vatican's new guidelines. She would have been in big trouble for not controlling the 'voices' who surrounded her, making her an instant fraud. Instead of being visited by Magi bearing gifts who refused to do Herod's bidding, it would have been exorcists and temple priests visiting to do precisely Herod's bidding.
And poor Jesus, even He was unable to shut up the people he healed, or stop inner dimensional things from happening around Him, and a great deal of what he taught would not pass the doctrinal and dogmatic mustard demanded by the Vatican. He was after all, crucified for blasphemy. The only thing that would be different for Him now, is the public crucifixion part. Modern zealots prefer the assassination route. His resurrection, now that might become big news, as most of His disciples would probably have cameras on their cell phones. It would be hard for the Vatican to deal with that kind of publicity.
All joking and sarcastic speculation aside, see Huffington Post, the guidelines may indicate something else about Vatican fears. There are some very important things going on in scientific disciplines which have some serious consequences for Catholic theology and our understanding of human consciousness and the universe we live in.
The first is the concept of observer effect in quantum physics. This states that the behavior of sub atomic particles will reflect the observer's point of reference. To put it simply, the observer observes what he/she expects. This seems to imply that intentional thought impacts the organization of matter at the quantum level. In a very real sense we do create our reality. It is not all about a creator God who sits up somewhere pulling all the strings. We seem to be string pullers ourselves. This does not support notions of our powerlessness in the face of sin.
The second concept comes from String Theory, which theorizes that our universe may be entangled with up to 11 other universes. In this theory, those universes may also contain other sentient life forms whose consciousness is not necessarily expressed in the three dimensional matter of our experience. Can anyone read angels here? I keep going back to the first time Michael actually spoke to me. He defined himself not as an angel, but as a non organic sentient being. He was the one who forced me into attempting to gain what limited understanding I have of string theory. (OOPS, I have now admitted violating the education clause in the new guidelines.)
Michael's insistence on upgrading my understanding of quantum theory had another point. If it's true our universe is entangled with others, the reverse is also true. They are entangled with ours and have a vested interest in upgrading our understanding of our own consciousness and it's impact on the much greater creation. It's why they have been communicating with all kinds of human spiritualities in all kinds of manifestations for a long long time. (See Nativity of Jesus.)
The third concept which may also cause some angst in the Vatican, is the work of Masamura Emoto. Work I have mentioned more than once. His work seems to show the power of love on the quantum level. This is not romantic love, which is essentially selfish in nature and biologically driven, but the love Christ taught, which is unconditional and ego less. This love is driven from a maturing spirituality/consciousness and is subsequently felt in a bilogical sense. In this love, consciousness drives the biological expression, not the other way around.
Masmura Emoto's work plainly shows this process of consciousness driving molecular organization. Romantic love is more or less a product of molecular organization driving conscious perception. Until the Church processes these understandings, John Paul's Theology of the Body is mixing apples and oranges and calling it natural law. For instance, in my thinking, celibacy is not a gift from God, it's a product of maturing in consciousness and spirituality. (OOPS, I just failed the dogma/doctrine test. OK this isn't the first time.)
The kind of love Jesus spoke about has real power to effect real change. It orders matter to a higher level of organization and beauty. It's God's gift to creation and the life blood on which it operates. Exactly what Jesus taught. Love, freely chosen, makes the world go where God wants it too (the Kingdom come), not obedience. Exactly what Jesus meant when He spoke about the spirit of the law taking precedence over the letter of the law. Obedience is about the Newtonian reality, unconditional love is about the quantum reality.
Finally, messages from other dimensions are not about validating specific religious doctrine, they are about moving mankind forward in conciousness and awareness, in knowledge about just how innerconnected we are with ourselves and other universes. Michael once told me the thing which is most unique about Earth is that we were placed in a material matrix in which we can freely choose to be driven by our percieved reality and biology, or we can choose to work the Newtonian reality the other way around, letting our sentient conciousness create our reality from the quantum level.
This last is where mankind is being guided. If we get there, the change in the over all quantum picture will be vast. Earth really is important, and not because God got pissed at us because we messed up with our free choice. It's important because it's about concsious sentient beings discovering the vastness of God and His plan, and freely choosing to further it. Mary got this, it's why I love her.