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the guide within

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Oct 13, 2005

Norwegian Lutheran Bishop Per Lønning recounts to the Synod his experience of "Eucharistic hospitality":

1975, St. John's Abbey, Minnesota. In a lecture on "The present state of ecumenism", I had uttered fear that we might still have several years ahead of us before eucharistic fellowship could be formally established. It then turned out that on this place protestant students had already for some years approached the communion table, without being explicitly invited. "We had to come to terms with this," said a Benedictine father, "and this was the outcome: Who are we, to censor the work of the Holy Spirit?"

Who are we to censor the work of the Holy Spirit? Good question, Father. The almost invariable self-deception of heresy is to attribute its innovations reflexively, unproblematically, to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. St. Ignatius Loyola, by contrast, knew that not all spirits are holy: "It is proper to the evil Angel, who forms himself under the appearance of an Angel of Light, to enter with the devout soul and go out with himself: that is to say, to bring good and holy thoughts, conformable to such just soul, and then little by little he aims at coming out drawing the soul to his covert deceits and perverse intentions." So how do you know when it's the evil Angel doing the driving? When he steers you away from the teaching Church.

On the subject of dealing oneself epistemological aces, I love the delicately barbed line in Ronald Knox's history of heresy, Enthusiasm, regarding the founder of Quakerism, George Fox:

Too good a mystic to recoil from a vicious circle in logic, he held on the authority of the inner light the doctrine of the inner light's authority.

Who am I, said Fox, to censor the work of the Inner Light?

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 18, 2005 4:33 PM ET USA

    All Bishops should be required to utter the word "anathema" once a year.

  • Posted by: Meg Q - Oct. 14, 2005 6:23 PM ET USA

    I hope a few sensible bishops are having a bit of a mild interior freak-out at some of the stuff being presented . . .

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 14, 2005 1:23 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, thanks for posting the link to st. Ignatius' rules for discernment.

  • Posted by: Eleazar - Oct. 13, 2005 9:44 PM ET USA

    Coco, I don’t see a “REAL chance at ecumenism” here…just another temptation to abandon the faith. About as far as I can go with ecumenism is make the same offer to my Protestant and atheist brothers and sisters as Motel 6 … we’ll leave the light on for ya’.

  • Posted by: Coco - Oct. 13, 2005 6:27 PM ET USA

    Having lived in Norway for 3 years and been blessed by the fabulous (and quite orthodox) diocesan priests there, I find this quite sad. Our priests told us that they knew a Lutheran minister who so believed in the Real Presence that he kep a tabernacle--pointing out Luther's own strong belief in the R.P. Putting aside this Lutheran minister's clear errors (ordination???), one cannot deny a REAL chance at ecumenism with Norsk Lutherans--a unity without the need to water down Catholic Truth.

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