From the Mail
The transformation of Catholic parishes and the evolution toward the coming New Age/One World religion is, again, From the Mail's subject. FTM begins with this provocative letter:
"Dear FTM," writes a reader from California. "Lee Penn sent you information to the effect that the 'Labyrinth Meditation' (FTM, March 1, 2001) was started in 1990 by Laura Artress. I have spoken to some members of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in West Lake Village, Calif., where there is a labyrinth. They tell me that there is a labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres outside of Paris, which dates back to the 13th century.
"So, apparently, the Labyrinth Meditation is not New Age spirituality. Please print my letter or make the correction or I will conclude that The Wanderer prints misinformation from a subscriber. Sincerely," etc.
FTM responds by citing an excellent article from the SCP Journal (vol. 23:2, 1999; Box 4308, Berkeley, CA 94704; or www.scp-inc.org) written by Lee Penn titled, "The United Religions Globalist & New Age Plans," in which he reviews the leading intellectual "lights" of the new New Age religion, their financial and political backers, and the rapid progress being made to usher the so-called religious or spiritual person into New Age religiosity.
This is serious business and the progress is rapid, as we'll see in a moment. First, Penn, again, on the labyrinth (Penn's abundant footnotes are omitted here):
"…Grace Cathedral is also home to Veriditas, led by Lauren Artress, an Episcopal priest and an honorary canon of the cathedral. Veriditas is also known as the Labyrinth Project. There are two labyrinths at Grace Cathedral, copies of the labyrinth that has been at Chartres Cathedral in France since the Middle Ages.
"During the Middle Ages, pilgrims to Chartres could walk this labyrinth as the culminating point of their journey. A story from the Grace Cathedral web site reports: 'Early Christians took a vow to visit the Holy City of Jerusalem at some point in their lives. During the Middle Ages, as the Crusades made travel to Palestine unsafe, other means were needed to honor that sacred commitment. Labyrinths were adopted by the Roman Church to offer the congregation a way of fulfilling their sacred vows...'
"Despite this link to Christian tradition," Penn continues, "the labyrinth walk -- as practiced and promoted by Veriditas -- is New Age in origin and spirit.... The Project's own answer to the question 'What is a Labyrinth?' states: 'The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint found in religious traditions in various forms around the world.... The Labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longings -- for a change of heart; for a change of ways in how [sic] we live together on this fragile island home, and the courage to become agents of transformation in an age when no less will suffice to meet the challenges of survival.'
"... According to Artress, the labyrinth is also 'a perfect spiritual tool for helping our global community to order chaos in ways that take us to the vibrant center of our being. You walk to the center of the Labyrinth and there at the center you meet the Divine'...
"Since 1995, Artress has promoted the labyrinth as a way to make connection with 'the Divine feminine,' 'the God within,' 'the goddess'.... Artress' mentor and teacher is Jean Houston, 'a leading figure in the Human Potential Movement' and 'co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research in Pamona, N.Y.' Artress first walked the labyrinth 'in a workshop at psychologist Jean Houston's Mystery School' in 1991; from that time onward, 'the idea to place the Labyrinth in Grace Cathedral suddenly dominated her life'.... This initial experience nurtured her spirituality and sent her imagination sparking with the idea of creating a universal walking ritual open to people from all traditions.
"Houston can thus add the Veriditas Project to her long list of accomplishments on behalf of the New Age movement. Not only has she been a guru of Hillary Clinton, she consults CEOs and leads workshops at companies such as Kraft, Xerox, General Electric, Beatrice Foods, and others.
"However, not all spirits are good ones. Opening the door to the 'divine mother' can open the door to worship of pagan goddesses. Dr. Robert Masters, Jean Houston's husband and co-founder of her Foundation for Mind Research, describes himself as one who has 'devotedly followed the Way of the Goddess Sekhmet for more than 30 years.' The online bookstore at Jean Houston's web site sells two article reprints and one book that honor 'Goddess Sekhmet.' Part of Masters' 'Invocation of Sekhmet' calls upon this Egyptian goddess: 'Thou art the Terror Before Which fiends tremble! Thou art Lust! Thou Art Life! Ever-Burning One!'...
"There's at least one common source of funding for these Episcopalians' New Age antics. Laurence S. Rockefeller and his Fund for the Enhancement of the Human Spirit have funded Matthew Fox, the Quest Program, Grace Cathedral, and Barbara Marx Hubbard. In one book, Marx Hubbard describes Rockefeller as her 'beloved patron,' and in another, she says that Rockefeller's 'intuition about "the Christ of the 21st century" deeply inspired me'."
Barbara Marx Hubbard, for the uninitiated, is one of the leading figures in the United Religions Initiative and a founder of the World Future Society. In her book, The Revelation: A Message of Hope in the New Millennium, which she claims was dictated to her by "the Christ voice," she has Jesus Christ exhorting his true disciples to "love Satan, my fallen brother," explaining that he never suffered on the cross but rose from the dead "to show you what you can do. Yours is the power. Yours is the glory. That is my message to you."
In her project to "move humanity forward," Hubbard is assisted by such powerful men as Robert Strange McNamara; Canadian multi-billionaire Maurice Strong; Orville Freeman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture; Irving Shapiro, former chairman of E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., et al.
Hubbard's version of the Lord's Prayer begins, "Our father/mother god ... Which art in heaven ... Hallowed be our name ... Our kingdom is come ... Our will is done."
Now let's go to the Catholic Voice, the newspaper of the Diocese of Oakland, March 5, 2001 edition, page 14. A nearly full-page report by Sharon Abercrombie, "Moreau High Students, Faculty Go 'Green' for Lent," is accompanied by a photograph of students following the "Cosmic Walk" ritual, a "spiritual exercise" that "remembers" creation and "teaches stewardship of the earth." From the looks of it, it's a labyrinth for schoolchildren.
In a box with the article, is a "Prayer for Creation," which begins, "Our Father and Mother, who created the heaven and the earth.... Forgive us our sins, especially our destructive attitudes that have depleted the fisheries from which we eat, poisoned the rivers from which we drink, and even the air we breathe. Lead us not into the temptation of consuming too much and deliver us from the evil of not doing anything about it."
Abercrombie's lengthy report covered in detail the Catholic high school's daylong environmental awareness day, which included an address to the full student body by senior theology teacher Amy Armstrong. She said: "Environmentalism is not fringe. It is not radical. It does not require love beads. What it does require is insight, the ability to look deeply and see clearly. Remember that you yourselves contain the sun, the rain, and the earth -- all elements of the cosmos. The cosmos, the kingdom of God, is within you."
Among the other events were dance, drama, recycling exercises, and candle-lighting ceremonies. Abercrombie's report concluded with some words from the school's president, Joseph Connell, that, "environmental consciousness is a long-range process which has to be 'institutionalized, so that when we're gone, it will stay'."
Here is a perfect illustration of how a Catholic school is following the philosophy of the United Religions Initiative, which has made the establishment and institutionalization of "Environmental Sabbaths" a priority.
The "environmental awareness" promoted at Moreau High School also fits in nicely with the Earth Charter, written by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Canadian Maurice Strong. It calls for downsizing American manufacturing, consumption habits, and material well-being, so, in effect, lifestyles here resemble Third World standards of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and superstition.
In the SCP Journal article cited above, Penn writes: "Gorbachev and Strong hope to gain UN adoption of the Earth Charter in 2002, during the UN Rio+10 Assembly. Steven Rockefeller, chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is 'currently coordinating the drafting of the Earth Charter activities in ten Third World Countries.' Global Education Associates and the Temple of Understanding, interfaith organizations that actively support the URI, also helped to draft the Earth Charter. The Interfaith Center of New York will seek endorsement of the Earth Charter at the December 1999 session of the Parliament of World Religions.... Special efforts will be made to promote the adoption of Earth Charter values into educational programs. They will also seek to influence 'the teachings of formal and nonformal educational institutions and of spiritual and religious groups,' and to redirect 'popular culture by mobilizing public opinion for sustainable development through mass media'."
Gorbachev's and Strong's Earth Charter, recall, is a kind of environmentalist Ten Commandments of Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots which they hope will be universally enforced through the police power of the United Nations.
Helping to move the New Age agenda in the parishes are Mary Ann Gubish, diocesan director of the Diocese of Greensburg's Office of Pastoral Life, and Sister of Charity Susan Jenny, associate director, who have co-authored a book with Arlene McGannon, titled, Revisioning the Parish Pastoral Council.
Their work was recently the subject of a feature article in the Catholic Accent (February 8, 2001), written by Melissa Williams Schofield. She reported:
"... The book, published by Paulist Press, is a combination of the Greensburg diocesan guidelines for parish pastoral councils and the workbook used for training. The 'New Wine, New Wineskins' guidelines were promulgated by Bishop Anthony G. Bosco in 1996. The three-year training period with follow-up workshops for pastors and parish council members was spearheaded by Gubish and Sr. Susan. 'NWNW' is a step-by-step approach that includes guidelines for setting up a planning team, assessing the needs of the parish, creating a mission statement and parish plan, and bringing the plan to the community, and encouraging grass-roots leadership to put the plan into action…
"Of the book, Bishop Bosco said that their ideas have been tested in the real-life laboratory of our parishes.
"'I have watched with great delight as this new vision has taken root and transformed our parish pastoral councils into true visionaries setting measurable goals, objectives, and directions for the parishes of this diocese. Those who capture the message will find that it is indeed transformational'."
Anyone who speaks as Bishop Bosco does must have never learned what the Catholic faith is all about in the first place. What normal Catholic would view a parish as a "laboratory"? -- as the above article paraphrases his statement. The phrase that describes his verbiage is "New Age bureaucratese," but to really understand what is happening in Greensburg (and many other dioceses), let's look at the letter the Wanderer's correspondent from Greensburg wrote, for some additional background information:
"Bishop Bosco of our Greensburg Diocese follows along with all the other liberal bishops. Children receive Confirmation from the priest on the day of their First Communion. Many of our churches have been wrecked and new ones always hide the tabernacle in a small room in back of the church, or, in the case of the new retirement home for the Sisters of Charity, on a separate floor from the chapel in a room too small to accommodate all the retired sisters who want to pray at a given time....
"The 'New Wine, New Wineskins' program has been in our diocese since 1996. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend two workshops led by these two women. These two assumed the adults attending the meeting knew nothing about the Catholic faith and talked down to us as we sat in our small groups. One priest in attendance, when he was asked what conclusions his group had put forward, answered, 'I have nothing to report because we did not come to your desired conclusions.'
"I do believe that this is something that should be looked at in-depth by someone who has not seen it develop over the years and experienced the results. It is very manipulative and the leaders tend to embarrass anyone who does not agree with them. We are a small diocese here, but the feminists empowered by Bishop Bosco have planted their seeds well, and they are now growing....
"P.S. I have given up writing to my bishop. We have gone around and around just too many times when I questioned his decisions."
FTM had not heard of the book before. If other readers have, what are your opinions?
And speaking of material fit for the pyre, and staying within our New Age theme, FTM looks at an article a Wanderer reader from Erie, Pa., sent in: It is a piece from the Erie New Times by columnist Pat Howard, who is praising Sr. [a.k.a. "Pope"] Joan Chittister for leading the Church where the Holy Father fears to go. On March 4, 2001, Howard wrote, under the headline, "Chittister's Words Predict Changes that Pope's Decree Won't Prevent":
"... In 1995, the Pope decreed the question of ordaining women to be forever settled. The Roman Catholic Church's patriarchal structure is inviolable, he decreed, and the prohibition against women priests 'is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.' In short, the issue is not open for debate.
"Still, Erie Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister keeps talking. She speaks, among other things, of her belief that this Pope and the like-minded men around him are wrong.... Chittister is right, and ... in time her vision will triumph ... her message finds fertile ground in many Catholics whose own consciences and soul-searching convince them that faith and theology must evolve as humanity and human understanding grow and mature.... To the patriarchy of the Catholic Church, Chittister represents a threat."
FTM wonders why the Rockefellers don't fund Sr. Chittister (assuming they don't, that is), just as they have funded large chunks of the radical feminist movement in the Church, such as the God-bashing Rosemary Radford Ruether -- as Lee Penn reveals in the article cited above.
© The Wanderer, 201 Ohio Street, St. Paul, MN 55107, 612-224-5733.
© The Wanderer, 201 Ohio Street, St. Paul, MN 55107, 612-224-5733.
This item 3613 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org