|OK OK, the individual ego does not exist for about a nano second but a person can stay enlightened for about a good ten minutes.|
At first I wasn't going to post another Bishop Morlino story, and this particular story has more to do with his Vicar for Clergy than it actually does Morlino. Granted it was passed on under Morlino's signature, but still it just seemed to be more of the same oh same oh. And then I read the linked material from NCR's report and just couldn't stop myself from writing. Here is an excerpt of the NCR article by Joshua McElwee:
Wisconsin bishop bans materials, speakers from interfaith centerBy Johsua McElwee - National Catholic Reporter - 12/11/2012
Madison, Wis., Bishop Robert Morlino has forbidden his diocese's parishes and schools from using materials /from an area interfaith spirituality center and banned the center's staff members, including two Catholic /sisters, from speaking at all diocesan events, according to a letter from the diocesan vicar general.
The blanket ban, first reported Tuesday by the Wisconsin State Journal, concerns Wisdom's Well Interfaith Spirituality Center, which provides workshops and overnight retreats for people seeking spiritual direction.
Msgr. James Bartylla, Madison's vicar general, states in a Nov. 27 letter to the diocese's priests that even the center's advertisements for centering prayer are no longer to be distributed on parish property.
"Centering Prayer," Bartylla writes, "is a type of contemplative prayer, yet contemplative prayer is a charism usually only given to those advanced in the spiritual life, and in the absence of sound spiritual direction accompanied by orthodox doctrine, attempting contemplative prayer can be counterproductive and even seriously harmful."
The letter, signed by Bartylla on Morlino's behalf, says the diocese's concern with the center is "evidenced mainly from its website" and is centered on fears that the center and its members "may espouse certain views flowing from New Ageism." The rest of the article can be read here.
I detect gnosticism coming from the chancery. How else to understand this sentence:
contemplative prayer is a charism usually only given to those advanced in the spiritual life, or this part of the same sentence:
attempting contemplative prayer can be counterproductive and even seriously harmful." Both of these sentiments most certainly imply there are levels of prayer for initiates and that spiritual gurus are needed to proceed, otherwise comtemplative prayer could be seriously harmful. I thought this levels and initiates kind of thinking was associated with gnosticism. The Church decided real early on that there were no hidden teachings of Jesus reserved for the more advanced. Maybe Morlino found some, or maybe he's afraid New Agers found some, or maybe he's just losing it.
I do remember watching an EWTN program where one of their collared talking heads started spouting that Centering prayer or other contemplative prayer could open one up to attack by demons. That was the last EWTN show I ever watched. I found that kind of suggestion utterly abusive and more than likely to cause great harm to naive suggestible pious Catholics. The placebo effect can work both for and against people and it can work much stronger when the suggestions are coming from ritual authority figures like EWTN priests.
Centering prayer has been a part of the Christian spiritual tool box for about fifty years and I don't know that I've ever read it harming anyone. I have read oodles about how it's helped millions of people. I have read the occasional orthodox cleric such as Msgr Bartylla imply it can harm people--of course, always without any proof. But then if you actually take the time to read the material on the Diocesan website it's pretty apparent the good monsignor more or less compared the Vatican's document on New Ageism with the website material of the Wisdom's Well Center and hi lighted every place he may have found 'New Age' talking points. I was shocked, utterly shocked, those words included 'quantum physics'. Oh my God, I better stop reading any quantum physics, and Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr and Thomas Keating and and almost every other thing on my bookshelves. It might be easier just to self excommunicate. Does anyone know the orthodox ritual for that?