Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Holy Spirit Plants Some Seeds

I finally have some time to get back to blogging. I'm just having a hard time readjusting to my usual reality. I decided to catch up on all things Catholic and Anglican before I posted this morning. This meant World Youth Day and the Lambeth conference, but I found myself floundering around, unable to get my head around the fact that the topics which are front and center in Christianity are all matters of legalistic thinking whose various interpretations can only cause disunity. Where as I had just spent four days wrapped in an entirely different world view and way of thinking, this jarring difference kept coloring my reading.

As I read the various articles I kept thinking where's the love? It's hard to find. You can glimpse it in the faces of the pilgrims in Sydney, but not in the faces of Cardinal Pell and Archbishop Rowan Williams. These are two faces which are starting to reflect the stress of their particular situations.

Cardinal Pell's publicity problems with his handling of the Australian sexual abuse crisis is getting worse. The Foster's story is heart wrenching, and the legal battle they had to fight with the Melbourne Diocese to get any real meaningful compensation took eight years and ended in an out of court settlement. Mr. Foster is going very public with his family's story because he feels way too many victims are not in the position he was to wage such a long and costly battle for justice. The Church's strategy has been to force people to take compensation the Church determines is equitable, with the price being the victim's silence. This effectively keeps victims separated from each other, unable to compare notes, unable to tell their stories, unable to bond with other victims. The benefit to the Church is obvious, smaller payouts, no scrutiny, no publicity and all the leverage in the world with regards to the victims. Oh, by the way, in the Towards Healing process victims are not allowed their own legal representation nor are they allowed to be accompanied by any advocates of any sort---especially the sort represented by Broken Rites, Australia's version of SNAP. It's a cushy deal for the Church supported by secular law. Mr. Foster hopes the publicity he can generate will force an end to this cushy deal.

Archbishop Rowan Williams on the other hand, has a different set of legal issues. His involve bishops of all kinds. Gay bishops, women bishops, schismatic bishops of the right and left, and the Catholic Bishop of Rome. It appears the Benedict XVI will not welcome the dissenting Anglican Catholics with open arms. He is supporting Rowan William's efforts to keep the Anglican communion more or less in tact. He says he does not want Catholicism to contribute to the break up of a sister denomination.

It's more likely he doesn't want to import Anglican problems into the body of the Roman Catholic Church, whose apparent unity is a carefully maintained artificial construct held in place by the centralized speaking authority of the Vatican. Unlike the situation with Rowan Williams, the Vatican still controls most of the dialogue and dutiful Catholic bishops will react en masse against the rare courageous upstart like Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

In Rowan Williams case, he's not dealing with a rare courageous individual, but with whole constituencies. Rumor has it the American Episcopal Church is set to consecrate upwards of half a dozen more gay bishops right after the Lambeth conference. It appears the other Bishop Robinson will no longer be an isolated rare case. He will be part of a statement, albeit a statement quite the opposite of the entire GAFCON contingency. No wonder Rowan Williams looks a little stressed. The only love he's getting is coming from his friend in Rome.

And speaking of his friend in Rome, currently in an Opus Dei compound in Australia, Benedict is getting his love from 150,000 screaming youthful pilgrims and one small kitten named Bella. The Vatican press people are denying the kitten story. Apparently Popes aren't allowed to be thought of as pet persons. I guess they're supposed to be beyond such unlofty attachments. Inciting the Catholic youth of the world to a kind of mass hysteria is more papal. Personally I prefer the kitten story to the mass hysteria.

In any event, all the above quite literally saddens me. Leon Secatero is talking about setting the calendar for the next 500 years in a quantum matrix of hope and peace, and the representatives of the world's 1 billion Christians are mired in gender, sexual abuse, and sexual orientation quagmires. 1 billion people is a lot of quantum matrix. Catholics would call this quantum matrix the Mystical Body of Christ. It looks to me like the leaders of the quantum matrix called the Mystical Body of Christ need to get their collective acts together on issues of sex and power. Until they do Peace and Hope are out of their reach and the Christian contribution to the other spiritual systems which will participate in the setting of Leon's calendar will be crippled.

It's no accident that right now in both Australia and England the two largest Christian denominations are being forced to deal with their respective demons in the context of their biggest world events. The Holy Spirit is moving with gale force through courageous individuals in the spotlight of massive press coverage. Leon Secatero would say all one needs is one corn seed and when planted in the right soil the ears of corn from that one seed can nourish the future survival of a tribe. The Navajo never travel any where without at least one corn seed in their pocket, because you just never know. It looks to me like there are some seeds starting to sprout in Australia and England. Apparently the Holy Spirit doesn't travel without her seeds as well, and She knows exactly where to plant them.

Tomorrow I'll go into more detail about what Leon taught on the weekend. I'll give you a bit of a teaser. In Leon's teachings he frequently mentions metaphysics. What he means by this is that the Navajo spiritual system is also their science and vice versa. The Navajo have understood this quantum physics thing a long time, for centuries and centuries, and not only that, they have actively worked with the principles of quantum physics to consciously bend reality. The calendar that Leon speaks of is not a metaphor. It's the use of time to set the prevailing consciousness of the future. Until tomorrow.


  1. Colleen, wonderful summary, and a wonderful line: "Leon Secatero is talking about setting the calendar for the next 500 years in a quantum matrix of hope and peace, and the representatives of the world's 1 billion Christians are mired in gender, sexual abuse, and sexual orientation quagmires."

    Like you, I'm saddened by the same disparity of focus!

    I'm tempted to come to the conclusion, as I watch the papal dance over prospective Anglicans swimming the Tiber, to think that the rulers of the church--of whatever stripe the church is--really care a lot more about the wealthy and the powerful than about ordinary parishioners.

    While Rome and the U.S. bishops have offered the laity cold comfort (and stones instead of bread) for a long time, they appear willing to welcome a bunch of homophobic and misogynistic "converts" who will underscore their claims to power and privilege.


  2. Hi Colleen, I can relate to your statement "but I found myself floundering around, unable to get my head around the fact that the topics which are front and center in Christianity are all matters of legalistic thinking whose various interpretations can only cause disunity. Whereas I had just spent four days wrapped in an entirely different world view and way of thinking, this jarring difference kept coloring my reading."

    The legalistic thinking has got to be a left brained thing and Leon a right brain event. I hate it when I have to shift over from right to left brain thinking or activities. It takes a lot of energy to make the shift and one is pulled to go back to the right brain activity, because it is so good for the soul and one is starving to feed that part of the soul or receive a message that is good for the soul and others.

    I often experience this "jarring difference" after reading Thomas Merton or the Gospels or praying, contemplation, composing music, being grateful for life itself and what a wonderful gift it is and too short to squander on disunity. In recognizing disunity we can realize there is another side to the coin; a very positive one.

    So sorry to hear about the Foster's. Victims need to reach out to each other, they should not be silenced or made to be silenced and there should be a conscious effort by the Church to minister to them and their families. This is a family affair. It doesn't get much closer than this in how we treat one another and act in ways that say we truly care about the victims and each other. The Holy Spirit is definitely saying a lot here through the Foster's and what should be done in the name of Jesus Christ. These people have lost their two daughters in this sexual and hierarchal nightmare. The Church is responsible and should come to terms with this not as Pharisees or Romans, but as Christians. We know this, but it is about time they knew it and acted on it.

  3. Bill, I saw to today on clericalwhispers where there are conflicting reports on what the Vatican is up to with regards to an Anglican Rite. I suspect the reports that they are reworking things to make it easier for Anglican Rite parishes to switch in the US, will accelerate if the Episcopal church really does go forward on the rumors about elevating more openly gay bishops.

    Everytime I think about his concept of 'openly' I cringe. Let's punish honesty and truth, in favor of deception and dishonesty when it comes to gay clergy. It's not about Jesus, it's about image. In that context all the hoopla down under makes perfect sense. How dare Pell talk about 'big fat egos'. Contrived Image is the province of 'big fat egos'.

  4. Butterfly, your so right about the energy one uses to switch back and forth between modes of thought. I was exhausted yesterday and went to bed really early. Today I feel a little more centered.

    I loved your analysis about sexual abuse. It should be a family affair, and in one respect it is a family affair, with in the clergy and hierarchy. They have bent over backwards to protect that 'family' at the expense of the greater family, but then that's the problem with our notion of priesthood as some elevated class of male humanity as a subset of the elevated status of all male humanity.

    Here's another story about sexual abuse that involves an 11 year old Romanian girl and illustrates the above point. She was raped by her cousin and became pregnant. Romania has very stringent abortion laws--no abortion for any reason past 14 weeks. That's two and a half months. By the time they recognized she was pregnant they were forced to seek an abortion in England. In this case we are talking both rape and incest and an 11 year old girl.

    Romanian authorities said after the fact, that in this special case the parents may have been able to procur an abortion in Romania. That is Romanian secular authorities said that, not Church authorities. Only in a screwed up male dominated church could a full term pregnancy by incestual rape be held as the greater good than ending the pregnancy. It seems that women, even 11 year old girls, serve their highest calling as incubators for sperm. And that can only happen when a 21st Century church is still vainly trying to elevate 13th century understanding of reproduction to Universal truth. A time when theologians like Acquinas really did think women were nothing more than ovens, and contributed nothing in any ontological sense to the child. Now that we know better, apparently we're to believe we don't. More sexual deception and more dishonesty and women around the world pay the price.

  5. I wanted to scream when I first read the Bishop's comments on Clerical Whispers. Then I felt powerless: "they'll never change anyway". Then I switched off my left brain, and turned on my right brain : "Just trust in God".

    So here we have two children, the Foster sisters, who were raped by a priest. Years later, one commits suicide and the other becomes an alcoholic who dies in a car accident.

    And Bishop Fisher has nothing better to say than, "I think most of Australia is enjoying, delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people (at WYD) . . . rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds," he said, referring to the Fosters.

    (ie: The Fosters are just "cranks". Ignore them and ignore our crimes ! The Roman circus is in town !)

    Bishop Fisher's callousness is beyond outrageous. But it's no surprise that for many a Roman sycophant, the glories of Rome come first; Christ's compassionate Heart second.

    John McNeill may be on to something when he says that all this Roman abuse is a blessing of the Holy Spirit in disguise . . . that God wants us to turn to HIM and turn to Him DIRECTLY without the used-car salesman in between.

    "Just trust in God. He'll let you know what to do next" (Mychal).

    -- John K