|One can imagine a conversation between Thomas Merton and Dalai Lama on the compatibility of resurrection and reincarnation.|
There really is a slew of interesting Catholic stories this Monday. Here are three of them.
As expected the Australian bishops have told us all that Rome was right and Bishop Morris was intransigent in his misguided understanding of the Catholic 'communion'. They will now commit themselves to fixing the disunity in Australian Catholicism so that no one can question whether Australian Catholics are in communion with Rome. Additionally they will offer their fraternal care to Bishop Morris:
"What was at stake was the church's unity in faith and the ecclesial communion between the pope and the other bishops in the College of Bishops," the statement said. "Eventually Bishop Morris was unable to agree to what this communion requires and at that point the pope acted as the successor of Peter, who has the task of deciding what constitutes unity and communion in the church."
The Australian bishops said they accept the pope's exercise of his ministry and they reaffirm their communion with him.
"We return to Australia determined to do whatever we can to heal any wounds of division, to extend our fraternal care to Bishop Morris and to strengthen the bonds of charity in the church in Australia," it said.
I suspect their attempts to heal the wounds of division have been thoroughly hamstrung by their obedient deference to Rome. The healing most likely will consist of giving the dissenters the option of leaving their parishes so the Temple Police can have their pews unpolluted by those who are not in full communion with Rome. Good Oh.
In other news, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has released a document on the current global financial mess. It calls for a global regulatory body which includes input from emerging countries. Fr Frederico Lombardi, papal spokesman, wanted us all to know this is not a document from Pope Benedict but from a Vatican agency and is there for not an authoritative expression of papal magisterium. Which I guess is Benedict's way of telling those mega wealthy devout members of Legatus that they can ignore the mere 'authoritative note of a Vatican agency'. Good Oh.
Finally, The National Catholic Reporter has an extensive series of articles based on the just released study of American Catholics under the direction of William V D'Antonio. This is some fascinating reading and some of it is quite surprising. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Michelle Dillon who was part of D'Antonio's research team. Her topic is Catholics and spirituality:
.....Additionally, large numbers of Catholics say that they believe in various aspects of New Age spirituality. Forty-two percent believe that there is spiritual energy located in physical things such as mountains, trees or crystals; over one-third (37 percent) believes in reincarnation; and just less than a third (32 percent) believes in yoga, not just as exercise, but as a spiritual practice (see Figure 8). Not surprisingly, highly committed Catholics are less likely than less committed Catholics to believe in spiritual energy, reincarnation, and yoga. It is noteworthy, nonetheless, that between one-fifth and one-third of highly committed Catholics express such beliefs.
The more striking variation comes from ethnicity. Hispanic Catholics are significantly more likely than non-Hispanic Catholics to believe in reincarnation (53 percent versus 29 percent), the presence of spiritual energy in physical things (52 percent versus 38 percent), and in yoga as a spiritual practice (42 percent versus 27 percent). Moreover, among Hispanic Catholics, the highly committed are almost as likely as their least committed peers to believe in reincarnation (43 percent versus 47 percent) and spiritual energy (46 percent versus 52 percent), though they are comparatively less likely to believe in yoga as a spiritual practice (33 percent versus 46 percent). Among non-Hispanic Catholics, women are more likely than men to believe in spiritual energy (44 percent versus 31 percent), and in yoga as a spiritual practice (31 percent versus 23 percent).
These numbers make me wonder why Cardinal Rode went after the LCWR for their 'new ageism' when the real problem appears to be with Hispanic Catholics, both devout and not so devout. No matter how one slices up these numbers, over half of Hispanic Catholics believe in reincarnation and spiritually energized physical things. I can get why the latter belief, blessed rosaries and medals and such, but the reincarnation thing is pretty amazing. There is a great deal I would like to know about how Hispanic Catholics see reincarnation and how they fit it into a Catholic tradition which has no such belief. I highly doubt it's all about some sort of vestigial pagan belief structure. In any event, these are fascinating statistics, and probably will induce some more heartburn in the USCCB. The New Evangelization it seems, will have more on it's plate than just selfish Western agnostic secularists. Good Oh.