inclusiver than thou

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 02, 2004

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, doesn't like labels:

God's house has many rooms, just as truth lies in many places, and God's consolation and challenge is always somewhat colored by the biases of those who bring the good news: liberals, conservatives, feminists, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, New Age people, Social Justice advocates, Opus Dei members, Charismatics.

Here's what Christians understand by the good news: "He who was slain for our sins, lives." Does Rolheiser really think that Hindus or Muslims are bearers of this message, or would even be pleased to learn that he thinks they are? If we stretch the phrase "good news" beyond its Christian roots to include any truth whatsoever that may be germane to the human condition, does it make sense to say a particular truth lies in feminism or social justice advocacy the way it lies in Roman Catholicism?

I presume Rolheiser's roster is an instance of patronizing multicultural cuteness that was meant to shock us by its inclusivity and, having misfired, ends up merely annoying. God knows he's not the first clergyman to pull this stunt. But there's also a twinge of dismay in the reflection that a man's priesthood means so little to him. It can't mean much, seeing that he understands it as priesthood in the service of one among several arbitrarily enumerated focuses of personal allegiance.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Feb. 06, 2004 2:29 AM ET USA

    For the good of his own soul, Father Rolheiser, OMI, might consider the fact that Jesus Christ is the Only Savior of the world. Father Rollheister is referred to in the article byline as a "specialist in the field of spirituality and systematic theology." One might wonder what field he is standing in...

  • Posted by: - Feb. 03, 2004 11:26 AM ET USA

    Rolheiser is just being true to form! I researched him and his writings (with the help of a friend) a few years ago, when the Seminary my son is in had his book "The Holy Longing" for spiritual reading. I refused to buy the book, when I realized how foolish this man is! I went to the bishop about it - not sure what happened, if anything - except my son has not been pressured to buy it...... I do not think he means to shock - he seems to one who believes Hell is empty!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 02, 2004 6:43 PM ET USA

    God's house has many rooms certainly. Unfortunately, at least on earth, the partitions are not sound proof. It causes a great disturbance to worship when the group in the next room are chanting greetings to the four directions and singing at the top of their lungs "And, the Father Will Dance." I am so often tempted to tell them that the dance will be on their graves. That is probably a failure in charity so I don't.