I suspect that the major underlying issue which is spurring a lot of the Vatican angst lately is in the realm of Christology. The recent disciplining of Fr. Roger Haight is just another in a long salvo targeting theologians whose Christology tends to progress from the bottom up, meaning emphasising Christ's humanity, rather than from the top down, emphasizing Jesus's divinity.
It's a simple observation, but it has profound consequences, effecting virtually every aspect of Catholicism. Roman Catholic Christianity has progressed theologically on a top down Christology. This Christology underpins everything about the clerical caste, the sacramental system, and the laity's relationship with the Church. A bottom up kind of Christology not only threatens all of this, it doesn't support the current structure of the Church.
This link will take you to Archbishop Bathersby's response to St. Mary's South Brisbane and gives his take on whether or not St Mary's is in communion with the Church. The sections which I found most interesting are sections 3 and 5. Both of these sections deal with an apparently poor Christology which doesn't reflect the Church's theology of the Trinity, in that Jesus's divinity is de emphasised in favor of his human actions.
The Archbishop is correct in his assertion that it is difficult to maintain one is Roman Catholic without subscribing to a Top Down Jesus. Although he doesn't quite phrase it that way, this is essentially his message. It's the same message the Vatican has given Fr. Roger Haight and every other theologian who meditated on the divinity of Christ by starting with his humanity. In the Church's view you can not proceed to discuss divinity from a human starting point.
Guess what, human consciousness is evolving in the exact opposite direction. We are beginning to find God within the material universe and our own selves as loved and loving agents of God's plan. In the West humanity is moving away from a God who is up there and out there, and towards one who is right here, permeating all of the material creation. We are beginning to recapture a 'knowing' about God that imbues sacredness to all aspects of material reality. We are recapturing a sense of the feminine side of God and with it the knowledge that we are very close to destroying our Mother in our desecration and desacrilization of this planet. The more we discover a legitimate understanding of the Trinity in Bottom Up Jesus, the bigger a threat that becomes to existing religious structures who owe their existence to Top Down Jesus.
In one part of his response, Archbishop Bathersby states that St. Mary's appears to be in a time warp, rightly emphasizing social justice, but ignoring the theology it is based on. I'm thinking he's right about the time warp, but wrong about who is in it. Top Down Jesus represents the thinking caught in a time warp. Humanity can not solve it's current dilemmas from the kind of thinking which propagated them.
Many of us are coming to the conclusion that those solutions will be found only when the profane material world is once again accorded the innate sacredness God's living presence with in it demands. That living presence is as much female as it is male. Reality says there is nothing for the male agent to exert power over, unless the female agent creates that something. Power does not exist outside creation. Each is sacred and each must be in balance. That balance is not found in emphasizing a Divine power principle over the Divine creative principle. That balance is not found in Top Down Jesus precisely because it's a theology which over emphasizes power at the expense of creativity.
In my book, Jesus is the balance expressed in incarnate form between Power and Creativity. The Magisterium can continue to try to dominate the Creativity of the Holy Spirit using Top Down Jesus as the excuse, but it will be to no avail. The current Church can not stand under the Winds of Change which are blowing through the consciousness of humanity. Try as it might, even in conjunction with any other institutional ally, it won't be able to harness this wind.
It's a wind which is blowing simultaneously from all four directions and includes all of humanity. I suspect the Vatican senses this and this is why it has really come down on liberation theology. It has no vested interest in Bottom Up Jesus getting any more of a foothold in the very Latin American and African continents in which it sees it's future. Especially in view of the fact, ideas expressed in the theologies of Bottom Up Jesus are already an integral part of the indigenous spiritual cultures of these continents.
But it won't matter if the Vatican likes it, if Islamic jihadist's like it, if economic powers like it, if humanity in general likes it. As the Vatican itself is so fond of saying, this wind is not about democracy and it's not about opinion, it's about God's will. This change in humanity's consciousness is what the Church Triumphant is all about, and they are not denominational in their actions. They never have been. For my part, I say let the Winds blow. The time has come.
I just read about Fr Roger Haight and the reasons the Vatican gives to discipline him do not give him justice. I am glad that you have written about this here and I was wondering what you might have to say about it.ReplyDelete
Jesus said that the "Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The Church is to bring that Kingdom here on earth. Presently it is a top down approach, a tyrannical approach.
What Jesus said supports what you are saying here in that Jesus said "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" then that means His Kingdom is not that far from us or mediated by any particular denomination or sect or cult. Jesus in His divinity can be right there "with us" and His name, Jesus, means "God with us." His name does not mean, God through the mediation of a Pope or another father or another human being.
Thanks again Colleen for setting things right and explaining these dynamics in a clear and direct way.
More and more we are witnessing the RCC in direct opposition to the Church Triumphant. They cannot stop the Holy Spirit, the winds of change that are opening the hearts and minds of all peoples to love one another instead of lording it over one another.
Colleen, there continues to be a certain synchronicity between us. I read and responded to the article about Fr Haight yesterday, and decided it was time to stop being nice. (I think your daughter said that a while back) In my response, I came right out and said that far too many of the MA's are servants of satan and not God.ReplyDelete
BTW, this is a truth, and it can be proven scripturally. The tyrannical hypocrisy is part of that proof.
Jesus in His divinity can be right there "with us" and His name, Jesus, means "God with us." His name does not mean, God through the mediation of a Pope or another father or another human being.ReplyDelete
Great observation butterfly. The truth is, Jesus gave the apostles teaching authority. The Mediating authority he reserved to himself and the Holy Spirit, and we recieve the Holy Spirit by virtue of our baptism.
Things have certainly gotten messed up between then and now.
Carl, Jesus said it in so many ways it boggles my mind that people don't get this.ReplyDelete
Real power is reserved for true servants of the servants. The kind of power which transcends this reality is not given to people who use power to control others.
Personally, I'd take Benedict more seriously if he actually healed somebody---before he dies.
Colleen i agree with you. . .The "powers that be" have much at stake in maintaining top down Christianity (power of the few over power of the many)ReplyDelete
Perhaps one of the ways the power is maintained in the hands of the few is because of their control of the language. . .I remember a title of a book a few years back; Reinventing the Enemies Language. It is a collection of Native American women trying to bring forth the sacredness of the Earth and their souls through a language that is so very inadequate to express their experience of sacred and sustainable life reality . .
It seems to me an awful lot of time and energy goes into meticulously defining the dogmas and acceptable beliefs. . .He who owns the beliefs and language has the power. . .
Unless the ruling 'cult'ures can program the definitions for "Jesus" and "the Church". . . in the minds of those whom are suppose to be subordinate then both Jesus and the Church will climb out of the boxes for they will never be contained in any one form or institution. . .
For me. . . the life of Jesus is an externalization of the internal process, step by step, which conveys the process of awakening and universal consciousness that is available for all. . .
i would venture to guess that much of the dynamics is about a select few wanting to maintain power under the umbrella of "specialness". . .
But i am heartened that so many are beginning to claim the most precious gift knowable to mankind. . the direct and personal relationship with the divine. . .
Colleen i think your voice and the sorting through all of this is an important work for you and others. . .
Be blessed aand keep safe. . .
"He who owns the beliefs and language has the power"ReplyDelete
That is so true. It's one of the reasons I think Fr. Haight got into so much disfavor. He spent too much time explaining the power of symbols, and language is the most powerful symbol of all.
Hierarchical insistence on the use of latin underscores this very power of language and symbol. Having what amounts to their own private language gives them a lot of power.
Colleen thought you might like this little story by Paulo Coelho:ReplyDelete
Story - I want to find God
The man arrived at the monastery exhausted:
- I have been looking for God for so long - he said. - Perhaps you can teach me the right way of finding Him.
- Enter and see our convent - said the priest, taking him by the hand and leading him to the chapel. - Here are some fine works of art of the 16th century, which portray the life of the Lord, and His glory among men.
The man waited, while the priest explained each one of the beautiful paintings and sculptures which adorned the chapel. Afterwards, he repeated the question:
- Everything you showed me is very beautiful. But I'd like to learn the best way to find God.
- God! - replied the priest. - You said exactly that: God!
And he took the man to the refectory, where supper was being prepared for the monks.
- Look around: soon supper will be served, and your are invited to dine with us. You will be able to listen to the Scriptures, while you satisfy your hunger.
- I am not hungry, and I have already read the entire Scriptures - insisted the man. - I wish to learn. I have come here to find God.
Again the priest took the stranger by the hand and they began walking around the cloisters which encircled a lovely garden.
- I ask my monks to always keep the grass cut, and to remove the dry leaves from the fountain you see over there in the middle. I think this must be the best kept monastery in the whole region.
The stranger walked with the priest a short way, then excused himself, saying he must be leaving.
- Won't you stay for supper? asked the priest.
As he mounted his horse, the stranger spoke:
- Congratulations on your fine church, your welcoming refectory and the perfectly clean courtyard. But I have journeyed many leagues just in order to learn to find God, and not to marvel at efficiency, comfort and discipline.
A flash of lightening struck, the horse reared up and the earth shook. Suddenly, the strange man removed his disguise, and the priest saw that it was Jesus.
- God is wherever He is invited in - said Jesus. - But you have closed the doors of this monastery to Him, with rules, pride, wealth, ostentation. The next time a stranger comes asking to find God, do not show him what you have managed in His name: listen to the question, and try to answer with love, charity and simplicity.
And so saying, He disappeared.
River, that is a wonderful and timely story. It's most hard to find God when one is constantly being told by someone else what God is.ReplyDelete
God is not a noun, that much I know for sure.
The power of the vatican exists only so long as the laityis uneducated. That is why they appear to be so strong in the 3rd world. The majority of the pupulace is uneducated. The vatican is powerless in the enlightenment of education, hence the crumbing of the catholic church in the west. Hence the intense reaction to anyone who attempts to educate the masses in the truth instead of the manmade rhetoric the vatican has been force feeding the church for far too long.ReplyDelete
The educated masses can read and understand the scriptures. When they do understand, the vatican resorts to superflous rhetoric in a vain attempt to confuse the masses and to maintain power. The more eductated the masses, the more ineffective this technique is.
When all else fails, there is always lying. With global communication, the internet, same minute video feeds, lies are exposed very quickly for everyone to see.
Where is Jesus in all of this? Good question. Obviously, NOT guiding the leadership. He is in the hearts of each us who choose to follow His teachings.
Mt 6:24 -
"No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
If there is ever any doubt which master the Magisterial Authority serves, tell them to give up their mansions, their mercedes, their magmas, AND their status and listen to the reaction.
It is a new year, an 11 year numerologically. The pace of spiritual transformation is quickening. The releasing of the old is happening faster than ever. The antics of the vatican are the antics of a child, a child throwing a temper tantrum because he cant have the toy he wants. Nothing more.
Each time we reaffirm in a prayer of faith that the vatican is impotent and powerless, they truly are. Christ is the power, the only power now.