Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

round the oak of thor

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 21, 2007

Great. Another pseudo-Celtic whack-fest featuring low-calorie designer paganism:

An Anglican and a Roman Catholic bishop are to attend the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, which begins next week. The Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Revd Declan Lang, and the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Price, will be at the festival on Sunday 24 June. ...

During the week, Celtic eucharists of earth, fire, air, and water will be celebrated in the "Healing Fields" zone. The eucharists -- developed by the Revd Adrian Prior-Sankey, a Baptist minister, and the Revd Mark Bond, an Anglican priest -- were part of an effort by Christians to be present among the hundreds of faiths, cults, and beliefs that would be represented on the multi-acre site, Mr Prior-Sankey said last week.

"The field is divided up into earth, fire, air, and water circles, and we are in the air circle," he said. His team leads worship in the hazel-framed, tarpaulin-covered "Coracle", where they offer prayers for healing. They send representatives to the daily forum for debate between different faiths.

"Celtic eucharists of earth, fire, air, and water will be celebrated ..." How would we know? Who could tell us if they happened to get it right? Celtic Spirituality is one of those entirely bogus inventions that bear no relation whatever to historical fact but appeal to romanticized feelings of conventional suburban rebelliousness. The scam artists who created the pre-history have no notion of what constitutes authentic "gaelicness" and none of the tools necessary to recover it if they did. What they pass off as Celtic Spirituality is derived at third-hand from some Hollywood producer's idea of Ojibwa religion, decorated at the margins with designs pilfered from the Book of Kells: it's Tonto speaking with a Wexford accent and nothing more.

Celtic Spirituality is a cousin to the German Faith Movement ginned up by the Nazi "theorist" Alfred Rosenberg. The Deutsche Glaubensbewegung folks went in for horns and pelts instead of hazel-framed coracles and ivy in the hair, but whether it's neo-druidism or neo-goddess worship or the Revd Adrian Prior-Sankey waving a wet reed, the point is the same: the feel of the wind in your face is the true voice of god and Catholic moral doctrine ain't. All attempts to recover a pre-Christian mythology are based on resentments targeted at universal ecclesial authority, and all of them, without exception, promise emancipation from irksome moral strictures. Today's Gaelic beech-huggers may protest that they have nothing in common with the Nazi neo-Norsemen, but their differences are superficial and unimportant. At bottom, each "recovered religion" wants to throw off the yoke of universally binding norms in order to indulge sinful liberties.

Ever known a wiccan or a four-winds cultist who gave it up because the ascetical demands were too stiff? Nope. Neo-pagans fast about as often as Elks.

The bishops mentioned above, by the way, do not appear to be implicated in the pagan stuff, in spite of the teaser with which the article begins. They're simply said to be attending the Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, and that may mean nothing worse than giving prizes to 12-year-olds for Irish dancing (a mild and salutary penance, on the level of watching someone else's children play Tee-ball). I have my doubts about the Revd Prior-Sankey and his Elemental Baptists, but it would seem that for the time being the episcopal traditions are in the clear.

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  • Posted by: annedanielson4099 - Feb. 23, 2010 1:15 PM ET USA

    Oh wait! Ad Tuendam Fidem.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 20, 2010 9:08 AM ET USA

    Awhhh, quit complaining. At least in Boston they didn't hold an interfaith meeting in their Cathedral and have the local Imam sound the Muslim call to prayer, followed by a reading from the Quran, followed by a speech telling us that the end of violence in our city will come when we are all under Shia law.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 20, 2010 7:48 AM ET USA

    What I can't figure out is why Cardinal Ratzinger/CDF sent "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion" was sent as a private letter to Cardinal McCarrick, so that the latter could spin it as he wished and everyone could pretend that the Vatican was staying mute on the controversy. Why PRIVATE? Why?

  • Posted by: opraem - Feb. 19, 2010 9:46 PM ET USA

    sean wants the nuremberg defense 'i am just following orders' when he teaches explicit church doctrine. so much for the college of bishops. rome fails time and again to read the riot act and actually do something about it. and people wonder why the us bishops are respected only for their choice of recipes. the pope and the bishops need our prayers.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2010 9:06 PM ET USA

    Back in the Boston diocesan office, a lone figure in shadow answers the phone -- a long distance call from Rome -- and hears a cock crow three times in the distance.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2010 6:35 PM ET USA

    And it worked out so well the last time the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston contacted Rome for guidance, i.e. about washing the feet of women. Thanks to his pusillaninity and Rome's passing-of-the-buck back to ol' Sandals - leaving it up to his "pastoral wisdom" to make the decision - spineless bishops all across the fruited plain now have a heterodox precedent to hide behind. What do we need bishops for if they won't govern, teach, or sanctify?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2010 6:35 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the good cardinal thinks that the Latin version of the Code was translated poorly. Keep him away from the ICEL!