Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Is A Very Good Question

Given the number of Redemptoris Mater seminaries, the Neocats have done well strumming for dollars and conversions.



Why is it worth $70 million to ordain 58 priests?
Betty Clermont - Open Tabernacle - 2/27/2010

The Archdiocese of Denver recently ordained five new priests bringing the total to 58 men commissioned to serve in Northern Colorado who had been trained in its own two seminaries. Based upon the 2000 through 2009 annual reports and articles appearing in Archbishop Charles Chaput’s weekly newspaper, the Denver Catholic Register, over $70 million in donations has supported the two schools since they were opened in the late 1990s. Granted, more than half of that total is construction costs which will not be repeated again. There is an element of continuity, however, since $7.9 million has been spent on new building since 2008 and doubtless more improvements will be made in the future. On the other hand, there were no financial reports published for the seminaries until the year 2000, so the total of $33.5 million in contributions to operate the schools is missing several years. In any case, the point is that benefactors are willing to invest an enormous amount of money to maintain an all-male, ordained priesthood. Since so many deacons, religious brothers and sisters and members of laity are more than qualified to administer a parish or diocese, why are the US bishops’ supporters willing to shoulder such a financial burden to keep celibate clergy in control?........


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Good question Betty, why has 70 million been spent in one diocese to ordain 58 men in twelve years? This is about five men a year at a cost of about 1.2 million per priest. This brings up another question, why does the Archdiocese of Denver have two seminaries? After doing some research what I discovered is that the Archdiocese has two seminaries under the control of Archbishop Chaput. One seminary, Redemptoris Mater, is an international seminary under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way. It accepts candidates from any diocese in the world and can be assigned by Archbishop Chaput to his diocese or any other diocese in the global church. It is misisonary in it's outlook but technically ordains diocesan priests.

Redemptoris Mater seminaries are a project of John Paul II who dedicated the first one in Rome in 1987. The following is taken from Archdiocesan website and explains the reasoning behind Redemptoris Mater seminaries:

Cardinal Pio Laghi, then prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and head of the Vatican Interdicasterial Commission instituted by Pope John Paul II to study the grave scarcity of priests in some areas, acknowledged in the Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano, March 15, 1991:

"This idea of the Council (for international diocesan missionary seminaries) has been applied in the 'Redemptoris Mater' seminaries which prepare presbyters for the new evangelization . . this would realize a new form of ministry: the diocesan missionary."

There are currently somewhere around 70 Redemptoris Mater seminaries world wide and about one million Neocats. Like other 'ecclesial' movements such as Opus Dei and the Legionaires, the Neocat leadership is permanently in the hands of it's founders, the Spanish artist Kiko Arguello and Spanish theologian Carmen Hernandez, until their deaths. This link will take you to a positive review of the history and place of the movment in today's church.

Along with Focolare and Communion and Liberation, the Neocats have enjoyed the vociferous support of the papacies of the last thirty years and were especially favored by JPII and now Benedict. There are a number of reasons for this preferential treatment, but one of the biggest is they all place obedience to the Papacy as a primary tenant. This is obedience to the papacy and their own internal leadership, not the local bishop or parish priest. Another is they all tend to see sex, marriage, and family from the view of traditional sexual morality. In the case of the Neocats this has included advocating against any form of birth control, even NFP, and for Focolare, celibacy is the only way to go if one is seriously looking for a spiritual relationship.

And last, but not least, they all generate lots of money which is never subjected to any real accounting very much in the same vein as the Legion. In the case of the Neocats, their constitution states that all their assets are property of the Vatican and the Neocat movement itself has no property. It is pretty easy to see where the 70 million for Denver's two seminaries may have come from, but not necessarily who it came from. The money becomes sort of mind boggling when you consider the Neocat movement has 70+ seminaries with an estimated 2000 priests in formation.

I can easily see where these groups are incredibly attractive to the Vatican, but not so much on the local level---unless, like Archbishop Chaput, the local bishop is a participant in this particular Vatican loop. Then it appears it's a very lucrative and career advancing loop for a bishop and a certain dead end if a bishop works actively against any of them.

I encourage my readership to read the totality of Betty Clermont's post. Betty deals with the issue which is really at the heart of these fairly recent ecclesial movements and that's the money issue. While their numbers may still be somewhat insignificant in terms of the totality of the Catholic church, there influence is way beyond their actual numbers. That seems to be a consequence of the numbers of dollars and priests they generate. The exact same reasons the Vatican did not and has not disbanded the Legionaires or their leadership.

What bothers me the most about these groups is what they do under the guise of spirituality. It doesn't appear any of them actually foster an adult spirituality separate from the personality and thinking of the founder. In every single case, the teachings of Jesus are secondary to the founder's interpretation of those teachings. Too many times this is masked behind the facade of the founder's obedience to papal and magisterial authority. The truth in practice is that their obedience to magisterial authority is only extended to those bishops who invite them into their dioceses and go along with them.

All of this amounts to the Vatican fostering a parallel structure inside the Church itself which is well funded and quite capable of regenerating itself permanently through it's various seminary systems. No wonder Benedict is adamant about no changes in the priesthood. Serious changes would just mess with a good thing. It also makes me wonder if the Vatican really gives a damn if Catholicism mostly dies off in the West in terms of numbers. They may feel that they still control a huge chunk of the numbers which really count. Those would be dollars, something these new groups have proven they can evangelize. Which then leads to the real question, what makes them so attractive to big donors? I suppose we'll have to wait for the next big Vatican banking scandal to find out.


34 comments:

  1. I posted three long comments to the previous thread. I suspect they all relate to this one too - as they all relate to our topic of clericalism that we've been circling round and round of late. Each comment suggests a link or links that I think deepens our conversation here. I feel we're on the "trail" of something, following it ever deeper as it gets more disturbing and distressing.

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  2. How much did it cost to train JPII as a priest? Basically...nothing. As he studied in basements, rectories, & in the home of Archbishop Saphiea (sp?) of Krakow.

    If you actually visit & tour a seminary - just about any one - you will be amazed at the vast infrastructure. Tennis courts, bowling alleys, indoor pools. One could go on about the expense of building AND maintaining such pleasure palaces for the soon-to-be-ruling elites of the priestly caste.

    Yet Jesus owned only his clothes & sandals.......how exactly is this coherent?

    St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY - which serves the Archdiocese of NY - is literally a stone's throw from urban blight. Almost walking distance. Very close to heroin, hookers, & the extreme poverty of certain areas of Yonkers. Poor Blacks & Latinos from the Bronx have been moving up there for decades.

    ...scaring the living daylight out of the affluent honkeys in lower suburbia.

    What does that Seminary - or the rich & pompous Archdiocese actually DO for the poor up there? Ignore them.

    The same tale could be told of many other Seminaries in the US or Latin America. I found it somewhere between irony & pathos that Ratzinger's response to the Haiti quake was not the liquidation of vast assets to rebuild the nation.

    But instead, to pledge funds to build a new Seminary. Tell me now; can children eat a Seminary?

    Can you?

    Since 325AD when the Church married Mammon, it has done nothing BUT utterly disregard the Gospel Christ preached. And substitute their own false Gospel of OBEDIENCE.

    ...and greed for Mammon.


    Anon Y. Mouse

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  3. TheraP, I'm still getting through your links and thinking I might add another tab to the top of main page for links suggested by commenters. Hopefully this will work out better than my question thingy which even I can't get into to use.

    Mouse my shoulders just slumped when I read Benedict was contributing 250,000 to build a seminary in Haiti. This kind of prioritizing of resources makes such a truly ugly statement about the place of the poor in Benedict's Catholic world.

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  4. Great idea, Colleen!

    And the word is: cando.

    Sounds like the system is in favor and will assist! ;)

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  5. "What does that Seminary - or the rich & pompous Archdiocese actually DO for the poor up there? Ignore them."

    True. And they are closing all the Churches down in the inner cities and moving to the affluent suburbs.

    Colleen, I've been reading up on Pope Pius IX. The current papacy & JPII seems to be in "perfect" alignment in spirit & thought to his. He was the last "secular" Pope. He had his own Army. He did not believe in freedom of religion for anyone but himself. He's the one who convened VI and the awful idea that he was, and all succeeding Popes were to be labeled as "infallible."

    The Church under the guidance of Benedict is following the same sort of pattern as Pio IX. They seem to be one and the same person. Anti-Christ seems to be a good description.

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  6. The corruption gets deeper and deeper and harder for all but the totally blind to ignore.
    And the pace of revelations is getting faster and faster.
    And now the use of Canon 515 says that a parish can be opened or closed if it is in the best interests of the diocese.
    Our parish community was suppressed and 6 parishes combined into 1 so called parish. Lay pastoral associates were let go and the new hires from out of state have no memory or knowledge of the community's history. We will be "educated". If not we will be closed.
    "Jesus wept."

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  7. coolmom the comments you post here really hilight what happens in a diocese with a bishop who is bound and determined to move up the ladder.

    Reading the NCR piece it's hard to see where Canon 515 allows for any check on a bishop. It looks to me like the consultation requirement with the diocesan priests synod is virtually meaningless. These latest pronouncements are truly centering the local church in the diocese and not the parish.

    I can see where closing some parishes because they aren't able to sustain themselves is the way it is, but there is no excuse for closing parishes for lack of priests. The Vatican should have relaxed the celibacy requirement thirty five years ago when the handwriting was really on the wall.

    I'm curious as to just who these out of state folks are because I bet they are affiliated in one way or another with one of these evangelizing 'ecclesial' movements.

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  8. coolmom, it just occurred to me that the kind of disruption that occurs when many parishes are combined like that fosters the increased power of the clergy and hierarchy. For it disrupts lay connections and roles, shaking up the People of God, making them that much more helpless and frustrated - making them all the easier to "control".

    Interesting too how only the bishop is "ordained" to know the "best interests" of the diocese. Hmmmmm... Back to the idea of the father "owning" the rest of the family, like chattel.

    It's all of a piece! (And yet you have all these evangelicals converting to RC - which, unfortunately, has got to feed the egos of these bishops and on up. Evangelicals who often convert looking for certainty and thus welcome the hierarchy thinking for them.)

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  9. Mrs. p2p and I have had quite a discussion about your post Colleen.

    Mrs. p2p feels the upfront investment is worth the "free" services that the Church will receive from the priests over their lifetime. I do not.

    Let's look at the operating costs of about $3.5 m per year for ten years. How many seminarians are there altogether? It seems to me that there can't be more than 10 or so per class/year of the seminary. A few would be expected to drop out before ordination. I'm guessing that they spend about $150 k per seminarian for about 4 years of training each. That's excessive.

    How many more seminaries are virtually empty, like Chaput's?

    @TheraP

    Regarding the discretionary powers of bishops: Our church roof leaked and we paid for many inadequate repairs that never quite solved the problem. For more than 10 years there was a double collection to pay for the roof. Unfortunately the original structure was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The parish council had only one request about the design for the new church, that the roof not leak. The archbishop appointed an architect who came up with a roof design that had about 25 facets. The parish council protested the roof design worried about potential leaks. We got the virtual finger from the archbishop because we got the 25 facet roof and not a year later we had leaks and water damage from that crummy design. The parish still has a double collection for "maintenance of the church". I'm still mad about this.

    There isn't a parishioner here who doesn't have a weekly visible reminder of the power of the bishop over the will of the people. You can see the water damage on the exterior and the interior of the building.

    p2p

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  10. p2p (& Mrs. p2p):

    Talk about abuse!

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  11. To those parishes which have suffered from abusive Bishops who loot vast sums of $$$ - and then arbitrarily close or merge them at whim.....my sympathies.

    Christ foretold the crucifixion of the physical/material manifestation of His Mystical Body on earth. That is what you are experiencing. We know that the good AND bad all are chastised together. A read of the 10 plagues upon Egypt is suggested. Obviously not ALL Egyptians were evil or cruel to the Hebrews. BUT all suffered for the sins of the leader whom they supported: Pharoah.

    Catholic are now suffering for their support of Pharoah.....his modern equivalent(s). Even those of us who do NOT give him/them $$ are affected, one way or the other.

    The entire Church structure as you know it is being (intentionally) dismantled.


    Anon Y. Mouse

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  12. Those who are aware of the details of the (organized) agenda of Bishops to shut down the parishes should note some Incoherence:

    1) What happened to all the $$ donated over decades by parishioers? Including parish church or school endowments? They vanish.......
    2) Pastors have been sent in - Conservative AND 'Liberal' who are under orders to facilitate long range agendas designed to make ppl leave the pews.

    THINK...about that carefully....

    3) Critical maintenance is NOT done; for years or decades. Intentionally. The agenda is either:

    a) the parish is marked for closing, LONG in advance (by decades).

    b) the parish is marked for a 'restoration by the radiant new priests'...of Opus Dei or the LC. The 'conservatives to the rescue!!!'.

    You will find both to be true in urban areas as well as exurbia. The 'marked' parish need not be in a ghetto war zone. Often it is in an area teeming with residents. With neighboring parishes doing well....

    I am personally aware, via sources, that such extreme long range planning is real. What you see today is the result of plans laid some 30 years ago.

    The goal is not $$ from the sale of church properties....alone. That is a byproduct. The goal is to destroy Faith.

    It is also probable that the average parish priest is unaware of this goal. As he has been so mind altered & manipulated that Coherent thought is dangerous to him. As it conflicts with OBEDIENCE.

    As to the sustainability of small parishes, riddle me this:

    HOW is it that the average Protestant church, having Sunday attendance of 100 or less (and NO endowment), can survive? And pay even part-time pastors a $35K + housing/benefits salary? And pay their bills & ordinary repair expenses? On annual budgets of $150K...or less?

    Easy: the Pastor has NO ACCESS to the $$. And there is no Diocese siphoning it off weekly.

    Anon Y. Mouse

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  13. So now that we know how bad the structure and the people running the structure are, why not find a more positive way to live as Christians. To me small groups of prayerful people have seemed to be a better answer. Call yourself Catholic but never again Roman Catholic! Let each of us live a life of prayerful action but let's not waste our time with people so conflicted and so duplicitous as the RCC Bishops. Don't worry, even with all their plans of takeover, the RCC is imploding there is no stopping it now.

    I think this study group should move on to do well for themselves and others. Sometimes divorce IS the only answer because the situation is too abusive to do anything else. dennis

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  14. Off Topic ( a little bit anyway)

    Gee Colleen I love to bring shiny objects back to the nest but I don't know way other than to put it in a comment in the most current thread.

    Vatican City, July 27 - Tourists and Romans clad in scanty summer clothing were being told to cover up before entering the Vatican City on Tuesday. Long-standing rules on modest dress, previously applicable only to those visiting St Peter's Basilica, appear to have been extended throughout the tiny walled state. Swiss Guard officers manning the official customs point between Rome and the Vatican City began pulling aside members of the public dressed in 'inappropriate' clothing early in the morning. Men in shorts and women with exposed knees or uncovered shoulders were all stopped by the officers, who asked them if they knew "how things worked here". Bewildered locals, accustomed to treating the Vatican much like any other part of Rome, initially assumed a new bureaucratic procedure was in force. Prescriptions, letters and shopping permits were hastily produced as evidence of plans to use the Vatican's pharmacy, post office and shop.

    Crackdown! That's the way to show those damn secularists. The world's foremost theocratic state, Saudi Arabia, shows the Vatican the way again.

    http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/english/2010/07/27/visualizza_new.html_1876075942.html

    They are using symbolic exclusion here. How long will it be before the chancel (rood) screen [iconostasis in the Eastern Orthodox] reappears to separate the people from the altar? They seem to want to draw the curtains on a lot of things these days.

    p2p

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  15. Yes Dennis!

    Mouse: As for the Vatican "dress code" - why not floor length dresses (no pants!) for the women and head-coverings? Or why not burkas? They could put stalls at all the entrances and simply force women to buy burkas. That should make up for the Sunday collections!

    Men should wear suits! 3-piece suits!

    And the clergy, at the very least long black dresses! Dresses with surplices! And maybe a fancy stole as well.

    But no cameras. Cameras are modern. No cell phones. Cell phones should be banned at Vatican City!

    Other suggestions?

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  16. Dennis, I'm still trying to take the other side of your argument, that the church is worth saving. I certainly understand, appreciate, and even laud your call to divorce. It's foreign to the catholic tradition, but if the tradition has become uncatholic, I see it.

    I just had this discussion with a good friend. He said he felt he owed it to centuries of people who had saved and grown the church for him. He feels part of that vast assembly before the Lord. I find it amusing and right that the idea of the communion of saints is used so often to argue for regressive policy, when instead he sees it as a clarion call to advance in love.

    I've said this before. St Catherine of Siena, in delineating what is from God and what is from the devil, makes a wonderful statement. She says that when the devil is leading you, you will become content. God leads you to virtue, defined elsewhere as service. I'm still watching for that today. It seems to me that you call for exactly that as well.

    One more thing. I think I've learned to let go the idea that my parish has to nurture me. If it is aimed at growing others, so be it. However, things can turn quickly to stasis, to malicious slander, to keeping good people from growing because they just don't do things the right way (why can't women be priests? Of course they can't. Female priests are evil. Why can't homosexuals love and live as a family? Evil -- ask anyone.) If you and I aren't there to counter that, to reflect Christ's love as we've learned it, then what? I fear the force of such people unchecked.

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  17. If the Church as an institution has gone fascist and will not listen to anyone, even the Holy Spirit, it is time to get out and move on. The Eastern Orthodox Church is looking mighty good right now and it would make perfect sense to join forces with them.

    To stay in the Roman Catholic Church after realizing all that is being done to destroy it, is like staying with the Nazis in WWII, in my opinion. Joining the real Catholic Church would definitely relieve a lot of the tension now.

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  18. 1) "Cell phones should be banned at Vatican City!"

    Not bloody likely, as Vatican City staff is all Blackerry enabled. As to banning other electronic devices, one needs to consider that:

    a) the Vatican is one of the founding members of CERN
    b) both in light of this, & in addition to it, the Vatican has had an Internet presence since....1985.

    Long before most mere mortals eve knew what that was. The Vatican was key to the development of RIPE, and thus to the development of the Internet in Europe.

    Here endeth the lesson:)

    But indeed, any mere externals of a 'Burqa" nature are useful as mediums of control.

    I am sure there are enough folks old enough to recall both grown women & school girls being forced to pin a hankie....or Kleenex...on their heads, as they forgot to wear a Chapel Veil (i.e. the Catholic Burqa).

    I have entered Orthodox synagoges & been handed a Yarmulka to wear, from a supply the sexton kept in the lobby. I did not mind observing their custom, nor did I find this in any way demeaning.

    If it is the custom for women to cover their heads in a Catholic Church, so be it. But DO NOT humiliate them by turning them away. Or forcing them to wear Kleenex on their heads!!!

    (N.B. I am NOT in favor of the 'Catholic Burqa'!)

    Anon Y. Mouse

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  19. mjc-

    Be careful whom you quote. It was St. Catherine of Siena who openly referred to the Pope as:

    "the sweet Christ on earth".

    That line has since become the rallying cry of the Fanatical Catholic Right. Including Opus Dei, LC/RC et.al. They & their many ancillaries have used this phrase as if spoken by Christ himself!

    She was neither the first nor the last of posit the Pope as Divine...or at least of demi-god status.

    It is key to point out that when Mary, in delivering messages from God, has referred to this or that pope as 'the Vicar of my Son", she is NOT affirming Catherine of Siena!

    Rather, that phrase is a means of identification. Referencing the self-assumed title & attributes of the Pope & Papacy. In context with the balance of Mary's words, it serves as an indicator that God is not pleased with him/them.

    In plain English, we could restate it this way: "OK....you wanna call yourself that? Fine. Thus you will be judged by God in light of your self-assumed 'authority' & all that you dare to speak, do & allow;'in MY Name'".

    To me, this is VERY clear.

    Anon Y. Mouse

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  20. Mouse, in my opinion they will be insisting women wear a veil and they will say the reason is to show respect. The real reason is about controlling women.

    Why stay in a Church like that?

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  21. Butterfly -

    Agreed!

    To abstract.....and in the completely theoretical, I think that when one enters ANY house of worship, that some basic decorum in manners & dress is simply "good manners". To wear a Yarmulka in a synagogue, or remove my shoes in a Mosque. It is their long standing tradition in those faiths, which I should respect out of ....basic human respect for others.

    To abstract further - for the Vatican or a metropolitan Cathedral to post simple 'good manners in church' is not unreasonable.

    But we are not living in a vacuum.....or the hypothetical.

    NYC's St. Patrick's Cathedral had a similar dress code posted prominently at the entrances during the tenure of its former rector, Msgr. Eugene Clark.

    Clark was forced to resign in disgrace over an alleged affair with his married secretary. This seems to ring dangerously close to the current status of the Vatican & child sex abuse, their in-house gay escort service, Vatican employees partying at gay night clubs.....

    Since Clark's departure the 'dress code' signs have gone. But the security has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. A midweek visitor recently counted no fewer the 12 uniformed security guards. That is NOT counting the plainclothes & uniformed NYPD officers assigned there daily. Plus more security cams then one could count.

    As with the Vatican, the atmosphere is 'oppressive'. It was noted the the number of tourists seemed greatly diminished.....


    Anon Y. Mouse

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  22. "they will be insisting women wear a veil and they will say the reason is to show respect."

    Respect...for WHO? For God? The God who made us & caused us to be born naked? No....the Vatican Administrators want us to respect THEM. "God" is merely a useful tool to them.

    Look....you can pray to God while wearing a bathrobe....in bed.....wherever & whenever. He is not interested in what you are wearing, but what is in your heart.

    Some years back I got mailings from some family-run Catholic book seller. All ultra Traddie stuff. What I found most disturbing was a group photo of the family.

    They had something like 10 kids, ranging from toddlers to 17. The boys were wearing ill fitting suits from the 70s. The girls were wearing these Amish-like dresses which did not even show their wrists. The expressions on their faces ranged from blank, to unhappy, to a goofy & obviously mind controlled type of smile. I wish I had saved the picture,it was SO pathetic!

    THAT is what the Vatican wants us to be. Not the free, thinking & loving persons God created us to be.

    Anon Y. Mouse

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  23. Paranoia is running rampant, Mouse.
    That is a great deal of security. One wonders if they have legitimate security threats or large insecurity issues.

    mjc I happen to agree with your friend for reasons of my own.

    Let's assume the Communion of Saints and Angels has a much better grip on Christian reality than we do. After all they are reputed to be much closer to the source. It is inconcievable to me that they would ever ever reinforce a form of Catholicism which is purposely moving itself further and further from the actual teachings of Jesus. And in point of fact they don't.

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  24. Mouse, I know the conservatives are fighting a war, and they'll use anything they can get their hands on. Catherine's Dialogues are interesting but dated to me, and I can cherry pick as well as anyone. I look at her call to obedience in light of her criticism of clergy and ability to admonish the pope. Some lady, huh? I bet she would have loved blogging.

    In terms of staying in the church, it remains difficult at best. My best church days seem to position me as a mole for the loyal opposition. I look to Richard Rohr, Richard McBrien, Charles Curran, Rosemary Reuther, and here(!) among more for nourishment. I try to retain hope that I'm doing something, and not doing nothing. I guess that's faith.

    To return to the original post, I'll place this in the same category as Communist rule in Russia. The ruling body looks large and ruthless, but lies are lies and this thing is going to crumble. The millions of dollars, the few automaton clergy produced, the abridged Luddite Christianity being sold cannot withstand light.

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  25. Mouse, I get the picture already. I know very well what they are after. They are after the dismantling of freedom itself.

    Also, your first comment in this thread mentions a Seminary, St. Joseph's in Yonkers, NY "literally a stone's throw from urban blight." As well, Washington, DC is filled with poor people and all the wealthy power brokers are there wheeling and dealing in the shadows of blight and hardship for decades. I've heard that Rome has its areas. Lots of pick-pockets and con artist that mirror the spirit that is all around them and probably all they know. Very clear to me that the elitist in the Curia have other priorities on their agenda of which has been uncovered, revealed and testified as truth. The hierarchy are not actually helping to bring the Lord's Gospel into the world. The Lord's Gospels are liberating to anyone and everyone who is open to receive the light of the Holy Spirit. They would not be able to control us if we were liberated by the Holy Spirit.

    I hope I am making sense. It is getting late and I am getting so tired and just need to pray.

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  26. PS Eugene Kennedy weighs in on leaving or staying in the dysfunctional church in NCR today.

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  27. butterfly, yes, come join the Orthodox!

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  28. The British writer Gordon Urquhart wrote about his experiences with Focolare and similar experiences he had heard of with members of Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenate Why. See his book "The Pope's Armada" (Prometheus Books, 1995.) Urquhart has noticed these types of groups appeal to the Pope because of their professedly strict obedience to the governing structure of the church, and he also points out the much like Opus Dei and Legionaries of Christ, these cults tend to coalesce around a spiritual leader. Before Chiara Lubich died, she was the center of Focolare and ran the group on her own initiative. Arguello and Fernandez have done the same with the Neocatechumenate way. The cultish behavior of these groups appears to me to induce a great deal of spiritual abuse and extreme submission to the leader of the group. The leaders don't encourage critical thinking.

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  29. On the outward appearance and the inner truth:

    I have no objection to modest dress. Mouse makes the point that it is appropriate to dress for the occasion and that might mean wearing something different to church than leisure. Social and cultural norms determine the "dress for success".

    To a certain extent we are all influenced by what we wear. Putting on the uniform is part of preparation for the game and identification with the team. Police, military, nurses, doctors, bakers, chefs and painters all have readily identifiable clothes that are useful reminders to both the wearers and others that there's a profession and a standard being represented. Kilts, tartans, turbans, wooden shoes, lace and other accessories to national dress are still worn to remind us of our roots.

    When it comes to religion I have mixed feelings. Sure clerics do have their ministerial robes but what is the expected dress for members of a Universal church?

    Others have commented on the meaning of a church veil or head covering as a sign of submission to the church hierarchy and/or respect for the practice of the religion. I don't suppose we want to enter the burka, niquab debate here. But is uniformity of dress an attempt to squelch individuality? Is it necessary to advance one's inner religious life?

    However this area is fraught with peril. A thirteen-year-old girl we know told us that she and her friends call the sort of religious modest wear promoted by the Legion of Christ (Pure Fashion) and other Catholic orders as "Texas Polygamist Dresses". That's not quite the sort of values intended, eh?

    We're all too aware how the nun's habit and the Catholic schoolgirl's uniform have become fetish objects for some perverts, too bad a few of them are in the leadership of the church.

    p2p

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  30. Has anyone hear ever attended a Profession of Final Vows in a traditional religious order? I do not literally mean 'traditionalist', but one of the more long-standing communities.

    What I am going to say is relevant to what some have mentioned in re Focolare, Communion & Liberation, LC, &OD, etc. And this will be observed in everything from strict enclosure monastaries, to Benedict Groeschel's Opus Dei backed order(s).

    The ceremony takes places in the church/chapel/public oratory of the order. The person to be professed kneels before the Abbot, Abbess or sometimes a Bishop. And pronounces the formulary of the Final Vows of the order.

    Then the Abbot, Abbess, Superior, Bishop, or Mullah (lol) will typically respond in words which include something like the following:

    "....if you faithfully & obediently live the Rule of this Order, in obedience to your Superiors, I promise you Eternal Life..."

    I am NOT making this up! I have both read this & personally witnessed it more then once. And have had it confirmed by others who have witnessed the same.

    Now while I am not privy to the texts of the forms of'profession' of lay (or clerical) members of these 'radiant new groups', but I am aware (via sources) that they DO include some verbiage like the above. If nothing else, the official books of Opus Dei & the Legion of Christ basically affirm what is said in the above quote.

    The last time I checked, Jesus alone is 'The Way, the Truth, & the Life'. The only sure 'doorway' to salvation.

    So, somebody is lying here. And it is not Christ.


    Anon Y. Mouse

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  31. p2p -

    "the sort of religious modest wear promoted by the Legion of Christ (Pure Fashion) and other Catholic orders as "Texas Polygamist Dresses""

    AHA!!! Thank you!!! For the life of me I could not recall the name of that group/modality/'apostolate' (Pure Fashion). Merci!

    "Texas Polygamist Dresses"...indeed! Thanks for that, as I could visualize the look, but could not think of a name for it:)

    Oddly, there is a trio of teen girls who sing on EWTN who wear just that. You will see them singing in short segments used as fillers between shows.

    I have rarely seen such unhappy looking young girls.....I can only imagine what their home life is like.

    Anon Y. Mouse

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  32. Yes, there's a certain conservative element, often home-schooling the kids, who believe little girls in long dresses with big sleeves are somehow protected in terms of their long term purity. I've seen a few families like this at rest stops. And yes, the kids know they look different from other kids and seem introverted and isolated in such a setting. Other kids run and play and make friends. These kids kind of stick close to the picnic table area.

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  33. TheraP

    The ironic humor in my make me think that it would be far more efficient for 'Pure Fashion' to simply make the kids wear burlap sacks.

    If kids are forced to wear clothes which make them stick out like sore thumbs, it is a type of emotional/psychological abuse. Not only will others view them as 'odd', but the kids will develop a greatly diminished sense of self-worth. If not a lack of positive self-image. It would seem obvious to me that this would only lead to other personal issues, as time goes by.

    It is simply not fair to the kid. A child can dress in a 'non-slutty' mode, and still be socially accepted by their peers.

    Dress a kid like a weirdo.....and you make a little weirdo. A self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Anon Y.Mouse

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  34. So true, Mouse.... So sad....

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