"smoking ceremony"

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 05, 2008

This remarkable CWN story from Australia must have escaped the notice of most readers. Otherwise, I feel sure, the "Sound Off" circuits would be overloaded with expressions of outrage and dismay.

There were apparently at least two (allegedly) Catholic bishops in attendance at this ceremony, in which Christian clerics joined aboriginal elders in a "smoking ceremony" and sprinkling water over the congregation, to the sound of a didgeridoo. Since this favorable summary of the events appeared on the official web site of a Catholic diocese, we have further confirmation that the event met with official favor.

There were, again, two Catholic bishops on hand, as well as at least that many Anglican prelates. But the homily was delivered by a Dominican nun. (You can read the full text here, if you have the staying power.) You can almost see her thoughts rising aloft, like the smoke from that ceremony-- because they too are lighter than air. In terms of intellectual rigor and clarity, the presentation by Sister Gerathy makes the typical Hallmark slogan look like a proposition from Wittgenstein's Tractatus.

All of which leads me to ask two questions:

- Did Catholic bishops-- successors to the Apostles-- actually approve of this meeting?


- What were they smoking?

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 05, 2008 10:20 PM ET USA

    What were they smoking? Probably eucalyptus leaves - an ancient custom of our indigenous people. As an Australian Catholic, I notice these ceremonies are now becoming more frequent additions to our liturgies. It is called "being inclusive". With WYD approaching, you will witness more of these public ceremonies.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 05, 2008 2:22 PM ET USA

    This is not surprising. Here in WI our Auxiliary Bishop celebrates a Winter Solstice Mass every December complete with smudging with eagle feathers and using Tobacco as incense. They even read ancient Native American Stories in addition to the scripture readings. He then writes about how wonder this is in our Diocesan Newspaper.....In fact, you guys reported on it here: http://www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm?task=singledisplay&recnum=3985

  • Posted by: - Apr. 05, 2008 12:55 PM ET USA

    Actually, read in conjunction with the otr dashback just above it in the queue (12-4-03 -- some enchanted evening) it's not surprising at all. Fifty years ago we were told not to go to our friends' Protestant weddings. Today, the successors to the Apostles worship...whatever deity it is they thought they were worshipping. The question here is the same as that posed in some enchanted evening.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 05, 2008 11:37 AM ET USA

    It is examples such as this that gives drugs a bad name.