Friday, May 7, 2010

I wonder if Cardinal Newman lived today if the above wouldn't also include his adopted Church.

Church factions in theological battle for soul of Cardinal Newman
Ruth Gledhill, Times UK - 5/7/2010

On the surface, all is Christian love and fellowship. But beneath the surface rages a theological battle for the soul of Cardinal John Henry Newman and of the Roman Catholic Church itself.
At the high point of his four-day state visit to Britain in September, the Pope will preside at the beatification of Newman, putting him on course to become England’s first non-martyr saint since the Reformation.

On one side of the pulpit are modernising liberals. On the other are the Ultramontane-style conservatives who reject any compromise with modern society. Newman is considered a personal hero of Pope Benedict, who has studied his writings. He is also revered by many Anglicans: he was, after all, a convert to Catholicism.

Jack Valero, of the conservative Opus Dei group, who is in charge of publicity for the beatification, said that Newman was the “hero” of all types of Catholics and many Anglicans.
Roman Catholic conservatives hail Newman as one of them because of what they see as his attachment to dogma and tradition and his criticisms of liberalism and relativism. They are passionate about the Tridentine Latin Mass; they endorse papal infallibility and resist any latitude on issues such as celibacy and contraception.

Yet liberals say that Newman is one of them because he gave primacy to conscience, even saying famously that he would drink a toast “to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards”.

The gay community also claim Newman as one of their own because he was buried with his lifelong companion Father Ambrose St John. Of Father Ambrose, Newman wrote: “From the first he loved me with an intensity of love, which was unaccountable.” He later added: “As far as this world was concerned, I was his first and last . . . he was my earthly light.’” Peter Tatchell, the gay rights campaigner, has criticised attempts to portray Newman as a celibate heterosexual.

Tatchell said: “Many of these platonic relationships were, in fact, expressions of latent homosexuality which never found physical expression because the men concerned lived in a homophobic culture where they either had no conception of the possibility of same-sex love or, for religious reasons, dared not express this love sexually.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been invited to attend the beatification ceremony at Coventry airport in September to elevate the Church of England’s most famous convert to Roman Catholicism.

Dr Williams has not yet decided whether he will go, and his office said yesterday that he may send a representative. The Archbishop is faced with his own Newman-style troubles. As the General Synod prepares to debate legislation in July to allow women bishops, he is facing contemporary conversions to Rome by three Anglo-Catholic bishops and their retinues of clergy and laity under the new ordinariate structure begun by the Pope for disaffected Anglicans.

Next week, the Pope will be accused by the author John Cornwell of attempting to hijack the legacy of Cardinal Newman to prop up the conservative Catholic cause. Cornwell is a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and a former seminarian who wrote Hitler’s Pope, a critique of the leadership of Pope Pius XII during the Nazi era, In a new book, Newman’s Unquiet Grave, Cornwell argues that the “Catholic pin-up boy” would have regarded his sainthood an “ossifying tragedy”. (Especially since this whole campaign has literally ripped him out of the earth from his "earthly light".)

Cornwell also accuses the Pope of “distorting” Newman. “He is trying to draw people towards his vision of a magisterial Church dominated by the Vatican and the papacy. He is turning Newman on his head, as if Newman really meant loyalty to the Pope came first and conscience second.”

But Mr Valero said: “This is really a picture of what the Church is like today. It is a battle about what the Church is and how it should work. The Pope is trying to bring all these people together under Newman. The Pope is supposed to be the man who unites the Church.” (Technically Benedict is trying to unite the Church under his understanding (spin) of Cardinal Newman's writings.)

After beatification, but before Newman can be canonised, evidence is required of another miracle through his intercession. If the factions scrapping over his legacy make peace, that might just be the miracle required. (That would be a heck of a miracle and would qualify in my book.)

Life and tracts for the times

• Born in 1801 Cardinal Newman made an enduring mark on the Church of England by helping to establish the Oxford Movement, an attempt to restore it to its Catholic roots

• He attended Great Ealing School in London, where he preferred the Bible to sport. The titular King of France, Louis-Philippe, taught maths and geography there while in exile in the early 19th century

• Newman became a Calvinist after his father’s bank went under in the financial crash of 1816

• He went to Trinity, Oxford, became a Fellow of Oriel and was ordained into the Church of England in 1824

• He wrote a series of influential essays, Tracts for the Times. Members of his movement were known as Tractarians

• Newman was received into the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained a priest in Rome

• He wrote thousands of letters, reams of sermons, essays, books and poetry, and an autobiographical novel. Idea of a University is studied by educators today. His autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, published in 1864, is still regarded as a spiritual classic

•Newman wrote: “I have no tendency to be a saint — it is a sad thing to say so. Saints are not literary men” (Apparently Benedict disagrees.)

• It is said to be impossible to understand 19th-century Britain, or indeed the Church of England or Catholic Church as it was then or is in England today, without some knowledge of Newman

• He died in 1890 and was declared “venerable” in 1991, the first step towards sainthood


I suppose the truth is that in today's Church Cardinal Newman would be in some serious trouble over his relationship with Fr. Ambrose--platonic or not. I often wonder if Newman lived today how he would respond to the Church's current stance on same sex partnerships. What ever anyone believes about the sexual nature of his relationship with Ambrose, it does most definitely qualify as a life long passionate same sex partnership. Would Newman agree that his relationship was the greatest threat to the cultural stability of mankind? Would his individual conscience, in it's recognition of his love for Ambrose, compel him to be an outspoken critic of the official teaching?

Somewhat as England's Thomas More is the layman for all seasons, Cardinal Newman is becoming the theologian for all reasons. Perhaps if he lived today he would have been that hybrid of all hybrids--a Latin Mass liberal. Catholicism actually use to have those before liturgy got all mixed up with politics, amongst other things.

I am not the least bit surprised that Opus Dei is in charge of the 'publicity' surrounding Cardinal Newman's beatification. Spinning Newman's views on personal conscience, and papal infallibility is critical if Newman is to have any real use in attracting dissenting Anglicans to Benedict's church or defusing the theological bomb of a man who placed the sensus fidelium equal to or ahead of the magesterium in developing doctrine.

But wait, could that be part of OD's strategy, making it appear that a small minority of the sensus fidelium is the majority, and that Newman's theology actually supports their notion of an infallible papacy and magesterium? This kind of thing seems to be working for the tea partiers, at least in the Republican party. Hopefully it won't work in Catholicism.


  1. Colleen, a note of congratulations to you for your recent listing as one of the 50 best Catholic blogs--I've posted about this on my blog today. Thank you for all you do on this wonderful blog, and congratulations on your well-earned recognition.

  2. And to readers who may be directed here via Bill's blog or the list itself, there is interesting commentary, which actually pertains to this very post, in comments to the prior post of this blog - comments near the end.

    For clearly this is an epic battle which is shaping up. And conscience versus the pope is one way to describe it.

    Great post, Colleen! Back we go again to the 19th century! Quite a ride we're on here. ;)

  3. Newman is important to the church as a figure of veneration for those who, like him, would leave the C of E for Catholicism.
    That's coupled with the fact that he's been almost universally revered by priests for years, often seen as the overlooked candidate to be not only a saint but a doctor of the church.
    The bright side to this is that rome can't cover up newman's statments. This is a modern person who is a very clear writer and whose statements are preserved. This is not some guy from the murky annals of history whose legacy the church can spin without inviting fact checking.
    There will be protests in England when the pope visits brum to make all this official. Newman's statemens will be on placards--especially his wish to rest in peace with his longtime companion--you can bet on that.
    Maybe this is all a good thing. The church hasn't beatified a gay man in a while. They won't touch Henri Nouwen or Mychal Judge, but they have a use for Newman--and by using him they open up a discussion on homosexuality that they don't want opened. They've taken a calculated risk. This is all very interesting.

  4. This too pertains. Powerful plea for "conscience" based on Vatican II and an explanation for one man's exit amidst sadness from the "church":

    From a TPM blogger I regard highly. A blog I previously referenced here.

  5. In all honesty Bill when I got up this morning and read your post I about fell over.

    The recognition is a spirit booster fer sure, but my real interest in maintaining the blog is the comments section. I still miss the old NCR cafe---and I still religiously use my NCRcafe coffee cup. No one is allowed to touch that baby.

    TheraP, you are so right about the conversation going on the previous blog. It's a challenging set of comments.

  6. Matt, I agree one hundred percent. Newman is a calculated risk. When I do the calculations I come up with more risk than reward--unless you are gay and believe in the primacy of individual conscience. Well, and maybe traditional liturgy.

  7. Woohoo! Congratulations Colleen!! In my book, your blog is the #1 blog, and not just for Catholics.

    I am always learning something new here. Like, for example "sensus fidelium" What the heck is that I asked myself. I've heard of it before & perhaps even looked it up before. Had to look it up again. Sometimes I have to look things up several times before I know what it means. I often have to look things up because I just don't have all of the terms in Latin that are used in Catholicism in my head.

    Now that I know what sensus fidelium means I can comment about it.

    In your last paragraph you said:

    "But wait, could that be part of OD's strategy, making it appear that a small minority of the sensus fidelium is the majority, and that Newman's theology actually supports their notion of an infallible papacy and magesterium? "

    As I understand, the problem with Opus Dei and Pope Benedict is their insistence in denying millions of Catholics a voice and freedom of conscience. Your blog and the NCR hears the vast voices of the sensus fidelium, and surely, are a part of the sensus fidelium. The Vatican seems to think that they and only priest are the sensus fidelium.

    When they pushed through a theology against birth control, they went against the sensus fidelium. When Hans Kung was told he could not teach anymore, they denied the sensus fidelium. When they gave liberation theologians the boot they refused to acknowledge there really is a sensus fidelium. When they deny women the priesthood or diaconate they are denying the sensus fidelium.

    The meaning of sensus fidelium is lost to them because they have narcissistically slammed the door shut on the concept altogether. Such is the way of fascism's central control.

    It really would be a miracle if the opposing voices would be unified by the Holy Spirit via Newman. It seems though that OD also denies the Holy Spirit. They are also denying Newman's last request to be buried with or alongside his "earthly light." It is a cruel attempt to negate what Newman considered his earthly light. They are trying to bury this fact, much as they do with other facts and influence of light upon the earth and within individuals.

    They deny the Holy Spirit obstinately, yet they call views that are transcendent and truly inspired as being politically motivated because they are politically motivated first and are not spiritually motivated first. That perhaps is the result of their being too protective of what they deem to be "Catholic." Hence, their extremism in acts of violence against themselves with ritual self-flogging and that gives rise to a tyrannical & selfish nature of their being. IMHO.

  8. PS - You know, I could have gone on and on with examples of the Magisterium's and the Pope's and OD's denial of the sensus fidelium concept. Also, their denial of the humanity and relationships of gay persons.

  9. Butterfly, your commment inspired me because I went back to an old post to add a new comment and found this from an anonymous commenter explaining Vatican I's concept of infallibility.

    Ummm......Vatican I infallibly declared via the ex cathedra proclaimation of the (new) 'Doctrine' of Infallibility that the Church was Infallible when it claimed to be speaking Infallibly, by virtue of the Doctrine of Infallibility, which it had Infallibly proclaimed."

    No wonder Cardinal Newman may have had some issues with Vatican I.

  10. Bearing in mind that I have never read Newman's writings (and could care less....), and this may be overstating the obvious:

    Yes, I agree that the use of Newman IS a calculated risk for Opus Dei, which now has firm control over the Vatican (and most dioceses, literally or vicariously). He is important to them for his defenses of the Papacy & Vatican 'authority uber alles'.

    In light of that, it becomes irrelevant what he actually meant & intended by such writings. If it is one thing that Opus folks know, it is 'SPIN'. They are masters of this. So, Newman is useful to them.

    As to the (very obvious...) perceived homosexuality of Newman, one should recall that there seems to have been some grave robbing afoot.

    Do you recall that Newman wanted to be buried with his beloved companion? And that it was known they were in fact interred in the same grave?

    Well, if you may recall.....when they had the official opening of his grave as part of the potential canonization inquiry, nothing was there. Not two bodies; not one; not even one bone.

    Unless the laws of science have been magically altered for Newman, bones & wood coffins do not vanish. Fragments or at least the evidence of rotted wood remains, as do bones. Or do we need a lesson in archeology?

    Or am I to assume that Newman & his companion were assumed into Greenwich Village?

    Oh come now! Either Nosferatu got himself a shovel.....or somebody Opus related caused a potentially scandalous looking burial arrangement to simply.....vanish.

    But if I am a pious Catholic, I must also believe that JPII wrote ALL those things he is alleged to have wrote.......while violently shaking from Parkinson's & a complete cripple, totally dependent on others to dress, bathe, & wipe his behind.

    "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"

    Anon Y. Mouse

  11. Bill, it was good of you to point out how good and thoughtful Colleen's blogs are. They provoke thought and help one bring together tangent ideas. Colleen, you are to be congratulated for all your good work. I remember your recent sabbatical and was glad it was not a long one. The comments section has been extremely useful to further bring things together. I participated only in the last months of the NCR cafe and was dismayed to see what happened with that. What is interesting to me know is the censorship on comments made to John Allen's blogs. I think this is becoming a pattern once again in a ODC that believes that they can keep offensive ideas in a box or that they can pretend that new ideas do not exist. I hope you can keep up the good work, Colleen! dennis

  12. Ummm......Vatican I infallibly declared via the ex cathedra proclaimation of the (new) 'Doctrine' of Infallibility that the Church was Infallible when it claimed to be speaking Infallibly, by virtue of the Doctrine of Infallibility, which it had Infallibly proclaimed."

    ....that was before I decided to call myself 'Mouse":)

    Tis an original...and feel free to use it!

    We can also express it in a logical fashion: In 1870 the Holy Spirit conferred INFALLIBILITY upon the Pope, Vatican.....and just about everybody else who wears a pointy hat, vicariously.

    Now, does this mean that:

    1) It is only applicable from 1870 onward?


    2) It is retroactive?

    #1 poses VERY serious problems. #2 does even more, as there are many examples one could cite which would render this possibility somewhere between moot & ridiculous!

    Anon Y. Mouse

  13. That was a great post, Colleen, and thank you Mouse for that!

    The notion of infallibility is certainly reason to doubt the leadership who defends it. There is so much wrong theologically with such a notion. It is Vatican corporeal and clerical corporate nepotism.

  14. Re: disintegration of bones.

    I've just done a bit of internet research on that. Bodies can decompose in three weeks to several years, leaving the bones. In a moist burial place, the bones can then themselves disintegrate in about 20 years.

    Therefore no grave robbing would be necessary to explain the absence of any bones when Newman's grave was opened. Using Occam's razor, as well, the simplest explanation is that the bones disintegrated.

    It's interesting too that in the olden days the preservation of bones - or entire bodies - was said to be a sign of sainthood. How many saints were simply people who died in arid lands or were buried in bogs? ;)

    I got my info from a couple of places in wikipedia. The last place was here:

  15. OOPS!

    The link:

  16. Congratulations Colleen,

    Your selection is well deserved.

    I've learned a great deal. You and your commenters are always thought provoking. In many of the discussions I'm just a groundling cheering or booing as the spirit moves me.

    The problems of the RCC are so far the scope of my life you might as well be describing the activities of the hadron collider. I'm glad someone's doing the work.

    Thank you for doing it.


    PS Newman, Thomas Moore... ? I don't care. I think my future is more with the Anglican Church despite its flaws.

  17. Put on your deerstalkers.

    The Mystery of the Disappearing Bishop

    Toronto Star: St. Catharines congregation wonders why Bishop James Wingle vanished

    "t’s been a month since Bishop James Wingle cited a lack of “stamina” as the reason for abruptly resigning as head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Catharines.

    His portrait still hangs in the hallway of the chancery in Thorold, and a picture of him remains on the diocese website, just to the right of the Pope’s.

    ... "Says Rev. Thomas Rosica, chief executive officer of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and a communications adviser to the Vatican: “He’s out of the country — that’s all we know. Where? God only knows.”

    A priest in his diocese was recently convicted of child sexual abuse. The article speculates his disappearance is related to his handling of the case.


  18. p2p: Yes, every church has flaws. And it depends what we can live with. Or on finding a home parish to our liking.

    But I hope that you'll keep chiming in here. You're a good addition. And it's not always necessary to have the latest or the greatest info. Good thinking counts a lot!!

    Colleen deserves rich praise for keeping this going and for all the searching and thinking and writing. But I agree that this is an excellent place for discussion to happen. And that's rare. So Kudos as well for all who comment here in such breadth and depth and with respect for each other.

  19. P2p, just a quick thought from St Catherine of Siena. In the Dialogues she talks about discerning whether you're being led by God or led by the devil. Ultimately, she says when you are led by the devil you'll be led toward ... contentment. Shocked me when I read it. She says if you are led by God, you'll be led to virtue, which she defines elsewhere as service. As you choose the way God leads you -- Anglican, RCC, or elsewhere -- something to watch for.

  20. @ TheraP

    Thank you for your kind words.


    Interesting quote. St. Catherine is of great interest to Mrs. p2p, in part because of her anorexia,

    as a theologian so we are quite aware of her teachings. Mrs. p2p is also a great admirer of Hildegard of Bingen, another fabulous medieval holy woman.

    The sexual abuse of children by RC priests is not a theoretical or remote issue for me. It is personal.

    The Church's misogyny betrays the very important role women played in the life of Jesus and their role in the early church. The women did not run away, as the other apostles did, from the crucifixion. Jesus appears first to several faithful women.

    Mary Magdelene is the only person named in the Gospels who witnesses the entire death, burial and resurrection. Jesus speaks to her first!

    The RCC is too blind to see she was indeed an apostle. Perhaps she was first among the disciples in many respects.

    I can't wait 100 years for the present collection of red hatted criminals, enablers and dopes to die out.


    OMG! Colleen here's the word verification:

    respe ... as in R E S P E C T (Sing it Aretha!)

  21. There's a ghost in your machine!

    As soon as I published my last comment the next word verification came up:



    I'm going to examine my toast carefully this morning.

  22. I guess the anonymity of being online is very freeing. I was abused by a priest as well. That's when I started becoming an adult in faith, although that little turn of phrase describes a 35 year ongoing process. I was privileged enough to sing the Exultet at Easter Vigil for a few years, and that's where I was when I sang "O happy fault! O necessary sin of Adam." How you and I and others get to be privileged enough to feel the grace that God showers on us despite that evil, when so many "lose" their faith and seem to be stuck in the desert, I don't know.

    Anyway, I've been learning my theology online, like this, to talk to those who loftily say "The church is.." and finish the sentence with some non-freeing concretized hatred. Not my church, not my Lord. I'm happy to meet you on the path, and I'll pick your brain for all that book learnin you did. Thanks.

    PS Speaking of Hildegarde, I'm rereading Matthew Fox's Original Blessing. He named and predicted all toay's mess twenty years ago, so our future pope tried to shut him up. Can't hoard the Spirit, now, can you?

  23. I love Mathew Fox's "Original Blessing". It's a shame he was another free thinker who was expelled from the Vatican grist mill.

    Here's something for you to think about p2p. In many native traditions there is the recognition that the most spiritually talented amongst them are their women--especially post menopausal women.

    I often wonder if the mysoginy isn't partly due to the fact men realized early on that in doing the things that Jesus did, women were better at it, Jesus certainly seemed to recognize a kindred in Mary Magdelene which is why it was paramount for Church fathers to start the myth she was a prostitute.

    I am so jacked the women's leadership congress meeting in Rome is centered around mysticism and prophecy. It's way past time Catholic women operated from their strength, not their perceived weaknesses.

  24. mjc: You've reassured me with the words of St. Catherine of Siena. Because right now I am NOT experiencing contentment. And I therefore wonder if whatever "virtue" we might be led toward (under such circumstances) is simply that when feeling beleaguered, fallible, and unworthy, we are reduced to beseeching God to please, please.... "Help me, heal me, lead me, guide me" (and the Jesus Prayer) in addition to "Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth."

    There's also an Orthodox Prayer I've found very helpful of late:

    Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, who are everywhere present and filling all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, Come dwell within us, cleanse us of every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

    And peace especially to those of you, whether you read or comment, who have been victims of abuse by priests (or anyone). May we all be held in the merciful arms of our Saving God, a Holy Mystery beyond all conception who yet dwells in hearts that are broken and yearning.

  25. @butterfly

    Your comment on the sensus fidelium is haunting me.

    How different things might have been. How different they could be if they included the rest of the Church, us.


  26. TheraP -

    "....Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones....."

    Time does not permit me to do the research you have done - and I am not a scientist. Yet I do know that the rate & extent of body decomposition has much to do with climate, soil conditions, & the mineral/chemical components of the soil, etc. So it may vary widely, depending upon many variables.

    BUT...we are speaking to two bodies buried in the same small space, of which (so they say.....) virtually no trace was found. This applies especially to Newman's companion.

    I still 'raise my hand' and loudly claim there may well have been clerical grave robbers. Who neatly eliminated any trace of 'scandal'.

    If nothing else, you would assume that there would have been surviving metal plaques from the caskets, identifying the deceased......

    There is of course one other possibility; They are just flat out LYING.

    Use your reason: how much scandal would be created by a Cardinal of Holy Church, exhumed next to the remains of his male lover? Still worse if they are trying to shunt him through the OD saint factory.

    For Pete's sake: how many true stories are there of bishops who had clandestine wives...and children? And forced women & nuns to have Abortions?

    Here is my point; bones surviving or not, they (OD) want to present an untainted candidate for 'sainthood'. Ergo.....

    ...just like Jose Maria Escriva de whatever-the-heck-was-his-oh-so-humble-paid-for-title-of-nobility-despite-the-fact-that-no-pope-saw-fit-to-name-him-a-bishop-and-jhe-is-holy-because-we-say-he-is-because-we-are-Infallibe-because-we-have-Infallibly-pronounced-this-in-Infallible-Infallibility.


    Anon Y.Mouse

  27. Yes, how different the world would be if we just put all our Faith into God, where it rightfully belongs. An institution that claims infallibility, yet also includes in its Catechism a regard for Sensus Fidelium has undermined the Holy Spirit which gave rise to the very term and concept of Sensus Fidelium.

    I am sure we are all haunted by the schizophrenic leadership that includes a dogma of infallibility of teaching, but then negates the teachings.

    I am very glad that you are commenting. We are all blessed by your presence.

  28. Anon E. Mouse, it takes NO time to do the research.

    But by means have your theory!

  29. Speaking of schizophrenics, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara - a possible candidate to assume the reins of the Legion of Christ - stated in a radio interview that Marcial Maciel's problem was schizophrenia, that he really had two distinct personalities.

    Unfortunately for the good Cardinal, he knows zero about the clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia, but I'm sure this little fact won't effect the spin.

    The Legion must have believed something else about Maciel because they had an exorcist at his death bed. Even CNA's conservative readership isn't buying the schizophrenia spin.

  30. I agree, Colleen. Schizophrenia, impossible!

    The guy was a sociopath.

    Security word: "culte" - that's an "elite cult"!

  31. "I am not the least bit surprised that Opus Dei is in charge of the
    'publicity' surrounding Cardinal Newman's beatification."

    ## That's very surprising - like having the SJs look after the 'publicity' surrounding the beatification of a Benedictine. Newman was an Oratorian (he is the bringer of the Congregation Oratory to England, nothing less) - so that quotation is amazing.

    I think it's a very bad idea. Is it really the case ?

    Needless to say, St. Josemaria Escriva was not even born during Newman's lifetime.

    That's not in any way a criticism of Opus Dei.

  32. "...often seen as the overlooked candidate to be not only a saint but a doctor of the church."

    ## If any theologian since 1800 is fit to be declared a Doctor, I think Newman is.

    He would then be the second English Doctor of the Church, alongside St Bede the Venerable.

  33. "No wonder Cardinal Newman may have had some issues with Vatican I."

    ## But not with Papal infallibility, which he explained and defended many times, before and after it was defined as dogma. He accepted it, and at the same he was very well aware of the difficulties for many Catholics in doing so.

    An excellent account of the subject is John R. Page's "What Will Dr. Newman Do ? John Henry Newman and Papal Infallibility, 1865-1875". (Dr. Page was a member of the ICEL).

    I doubt he would be a liberal *or* a conservative in the Church today. His works contains elements both groups can claim as favorable to their own POVs, but liberals would be probably uneasy with his emphasis on the importance of obedience and dogma, while conservatives would probably not like his sensitivity to the pastoral needs of those who trouble with dogma.

  34. TheraP -

    The point of my 'reply comment' was not in any way to argue against you personally (or the science involed in what you said) but...well, let me put it another way:

    It would not matter whether or not any remains of Newman or his companion survived. 'They' would have surely wiped away anything which would derail their agenda.

    No matter what it was.

    So, please do not think I am 'argueing' with you:)

    anon Y. Mouse

  35. TheraP and Colleen,

    About Maciel, He certainly has a very complicated and severe character logic disorder, It is interesting some have said that all humans have either a borderline or psychotic island in their character. I tend to agree that we all have psychotic islands and this is what we all tend to need help to control but when one feels omnipotent and omniscient, these islands are dangerously uncontrollable. These people often times spend their entire lives degrading the beauty that society has evolved. The worst part about it all is that Maciel did not live in a vacuum and all those who supported him are living in these same lies have horrible personality disorders as well. I am sorry to say that includes John Paul the great enabler and misogynist as well as most of the bishops that his litmus tests promoted. So if Maciel was a psychopath and he certainly was, what does that have to say about our entire church leadership and even those “newly ordained real catholic priests?” It is this type of borderline psychosis as displayed by Macial that is the most dangerous. He certainly was a member of the group that Scott Peck called “the people of the lie.” His misbehavior was more destructive than any schizophrenic’s that I saw in Psychiatric Hospitals. The fact that Cardinal Ratzinger did very little to weed out these men and that he continues to promote Cardinals who continually lie, shows him to be part of the “People of the Lie.” The level of demonry in our he OPD Catholic Church will continue to harmfully attack society until it some how burns out and it will take extreme efforts and torture of the “People of God” to change this.

    All of those theologians condemned by Ratinger were projections of what is so very deadening in our church. These acts by Cardinal Ratzinger came directly form a psychotic boarder line island that were extremely destructive and murderous to the ethical structure in the old RCC. They were so narrow and dogmatic that we now have the new OPD Catholic church run by psychologically damaged people of Opus Dei. They and the OPD type leaders of this version of the Catholic Church are THE PEOPLE OF THE LIE. It will take years of prayerful action to overcome the ethical damages done by JP II, Benedict and Ratzinger, and of course so many other OPD curial members. This church fails to listen to the Holy Spirit and I am certain Jesus is dismayed by its lack of ethical action.

  36. Anon E. Mouse: I didn't mean it to sound like it was "personal" - I'm just not into conspiracy theories. Especially when the decomposition facts go against the theory. For bodies buried in wooden coffins with no embalming and in damp England... But as I say, you're entitled to your theory. I was just curious to look up the info. And I don't see this as an "argument" - because it's not that big a deal to me. Be at peace....


    It seems to me what you're getting at is how an insulated group that is so enmeshed can develop a very skewed view of things, even harboring people who are sociopathic and delusional if that benefits them. That consciences can become so skewed when "reality-testing" within the group has broken down. When the "reality" of the insulated group differs from the "reality" of society at large.

    And that is what you're pointing to within the Vatican hierarchy at the moment. And that is why so many thinking catholics (big "C" - little "c" - does it matter any more?) have left, whether physically or mentally or spiritually. We KNOW there is TRUTH in the Church. But our conception of what is "church" has now expanded. Jesus never talked of church. He talked of the Kingdom of God, the Reign of God, the coming of Divine Presence in our midst, within us, around us - part of our very being. And as you point to, that's gotten lost in a courtly, dictatorial, hierarchical, self-promoting coterie of folks who have lost their bearings - collectively.

    And what to do?

    I have this image of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And the hierarchy up at the top of it. And they've all rushed over to the side of it that's leaning... the better to "look down" on us poor peons... shouting up at them that the tower is leaning... and their very rushing - to exactly the wrong side (!) - their very insistence on remaining "up there" - thinking themselves so much "closer to God" - whereas we, on the ground, can so clearly see what's happening, what's "in the cards" .... I think of Meister Eckhart and God as the "Grunt" - the very "ground" of being.

    What can we do? Boy, let's stay "grounded" folks!

  37. One more thing, with regard the "young priests" rdp46 mentions, the difficulty for any men currently training for the priesthood, and yes, I am talking to you, current seminarian, if you are reading this is that having to "lie" to your superiors, having to "live a lie" in order to get ordained, having to "live a lie" as an ordained priest - in order to survive in the Roman church, is DESTRUCTIVE to your very soul. To develop your personality, your identity as a priest, your spiritual life AROUND A LIE is a very, very dangerous bargain. Think long and hard about what rdp46 wrote above, my reply to him, and this comment here. Do not make a pact with the devil, thinking you are doing it "for the right reasons" - that is assuming that the end justifies the means - and that is exactly what the hierarchy has done, selling the souls and bodies of the faithful - twisting doctrines - misusing funds - etc. Better to leave the seminary and consider an alternate future than remain under false pretenses and twist your soul in doing so.

  38. TheraP

    In my life I have met VERY few priests whom I would define as being 'normal & well adjusted'. That goes for the straight ones as well as the seemingly overwhelming majority who are gay. In or out of the proverbial closet.

    Frankly, I do not know how a str8 (and otherwise sane) man could survive in the US priesthood. It would cause most sane ppl to 'short circuit' - UNLESS they were to go into Uber-Denial Mode (about his confrers & surroundings) from the moment they entered the Seminary!

    The same would be true of a gay man (who is otherwise sane & well-adjusted) who enters the priesthood. He too would 'short circuit' eventually. He is also required to be in the Uber-Denial Mode. As you indicate it is many times worse for them, as they are required to live a lie.

    You could say it is rather like being a Method Actor - who never comes out of character. Very damaging....on many levels.

    It is no small wonder then that the str8 priests find a woman on the side....and/or drink, gamble, & have $$ as an addiction. They get themselves lost in hedonism - as they are not spiritually equipped for a life of asceticism, altruism & prayer. They go 'outward' away from God, as they do not know Him in the first place. Or if they had some faith, it becomes diluted, then lost.

    Actually, most of the above can apply to all too many gay priests. Depending on the degree of self-awareness & inner acceptance of their personal sexual reality. Of course the more well-integrated the person, the less he will 'act out'.

    Forcibly denying human affection via the 'Celibacy' mode is sick. One can only be Celibate by a mature decision - not when you are 18!

    As others have indicated here, the Church has been actively recruiting basket cases for the priesthood for a long time. The priesthood is subliminally offered as the 'escape pod' for the closeted gay youth. As well as for the sexually immature straight male.

    And in either case there is a bright, flashing WELCOME sign...for Narcissistic personalities & the power hungry. This works well in a hierarchic system founded in Dominance & Submission. Thus, nobody should be surprised at the centuries old systemic & intergenerational Abuse it engenders, of all kinds. Making it no shocker that the Ryan & Fearns reports from Ireland read like a script from a BDSM club!

    The few....very few....decent men in the priesthood get lost in the shuffle.

    Anon Y.Mouse

  39. Anon I have to agree with your assessment here, but I've also found the same sort of thing in other male dominated professions.

    For instance, I was really struck by the same kinds of 'method acting' by male professionals in the PGA and in golf course pro shops in general. For a lot of people golf courses are their parishes and golf pros are their priests. At every single golf course I worked at as a professional, I was assigned the junior golf program--like I was the token nun. I used to just laugh, but I had so much fun with the kids I never turned it down.

    THe difference with golf is there are certifiable practicle fruits which validate your authority and teaching. Guys used to wonder about the validity of my credentials until I cranked a 280 yard drive--over and over. No such validation exists in the priesthood, and I'm beginning to think it's all designed to be that way. Spiritual ability need not be demonstrated because the operative variable is the other person's faith. That doesn't fly in other more 'pagan' systems.

  40. I'd qualify what you say, Anon, this way. For people called to be a monk, where they have ongoing spiritual direction and a community, their mental health is likely to be better. Because celibacy is truly a choice then. And in a communal setting, I think it can work.

  41. Colleen!

    Having just arrived recently I know virtually nothing about your past. PGA!

    Over the years I've taught some courses to aspiring Canadian PGA professionals.

    Without a doubt they are the most misogynistic and racist group I've ever met. Furthermore, and I thought of this primarily in terms of comparing them to the military, you are absolutely right about the "method actors" who conceal their true feelings with a simmering resentment of doing what they have to do to maintain employment. Their sense of entitlement is incredible.

    With the golfers I note the preoccupation with outward appearance, complete dismissal of contrary views, discomfort with any type of diversity and a universal underlying anger that's barely concealed. That's not exactly the best recipe for providing the ultimate consumer service expected by the industry. I've always thought that if they were waiters they'd smile as they served the soup they'd just spit in.

    And now I've connected all of that to the malformed clergy. Yuck!



    Newman made arrangements before he died to have his coffin of light wood and to have it mulched -- that is, treated by a process that would hasten decay. He said he believed in the Bible idea of ashes to ashes, dust to dust. He also probably knew that if here were beatified he would become the prey of relic hunters.

  43. p2p I also found a great deal of latent homsexuality masquerading behind all the mysoginy. I have worked in proshops that were just outstanding and in proshops that were complete cess pools because of all the unacknowledged sexual tension. Add to that the emphasis on clothes and the fantasy assesment of golf games that were no where near tour quality, and paying golfers became nothing more than interruptions to personal love fests.

    Of course it didn't help matters that I was an afficianado of 'Golf in the Kingdom' and had a zen type approach to teaching the game.

    Someday I might write my real thoughts on Tiger Woods. He's going to find out that now that his narcissism has been exposed his game will continue to tank if he keeps avoiding really dealing with the underlying causes of his sexual addiction. Until he got completely over taken by IMG jock crowd the man could literally will the ball in the hole. Now he can't hit a fairway wood off the tee, much less will the ball in the hole.