Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Monday, December 13, 2010

Traditional or Doctrine of the Faith

I try to avoid reading Ron Rolheiser's columns whenever possible as they are anything but condusive to keeping my blood pressure down due to his heterodox & heretical bits oft found in his rantings. But by chance when I was looking through the latest issue of the Archdiocese of DBQ's rag, The False Witness (which by the way has been running ads for a new age group for months), I came across his take on the Virgin Birth. As usual with those who want to mislead people, he uses a mixture of truth & half-truths to lead those unaware into the falsehoods & errors he wants you to accept.
The 1st line alone is a prime example of how he works to mislead & direct you off into his direction & away from God's truth. "Christian tradition has always emphasized that Jesus was born of a virgin. The Messiah could only come forth from a virgin's womb." Sounds good at 1st, until you really think about it. Jesus being born of a Virgin is much more than a tradition, it is a tenet of the faith. Isaiah prophecied it. (Isaiah 7:14) & while I won't go into the debate her, the Hebrew word can be interpreted virgin. & clearly by the fact it was used that way in the NT, that is how the Holy Spirit lead the Gospel authors to take it.
What this is is the 1st salvo in an attempt to undermine the teaching of the Catholic Church about not only the Virgin birth, but many other things as well. & we see that in the start of paragraph 2 where he writes "But there is often a secondary emphasis as well, less-founded in scripture." Now we are into Scripture??? & why is he doing that? Simple, to create confusion in the reader's mind. The next line makes a statement that of itself is true: "Too common within that notion is the idea that Jesus was born from a virgin because somehow sexuality is impure, that it is too base and earthy to have a connection to such a sacred event." But again clearly is meant to apply in a way that it shouldn't. Yes, many people falsely have the notion that sexuality of itself is impure. It isn't, nor does the Bible teach that. In fact the OT often uses the idea of marriage to show the relationship between Israel & God & adultery, or sex outside of marriage, as a betrayal of that relationship.
But his goal isn't to correct a misunderstanding of Scripture, it is a (not so) subtle attempt to undermine the Catholic Church's teachings based on the Bible. & to promote some New Age* ideas as well. We see this in the 4th paragraph. "Christian tradition emphasizes a virgin birth (just as it emphasizes a virgin burial, a virgin tomb to parallel the virgin womb) not because it judges that sexuality is too impure and earthy to produce something holy. Rather, beyond wanting to emphasize that Jesus had no human father, the Christian tradition wants to emphasize what kind of heart and soul is needed to create the space wherein something divine can be born."
Let's start with the bit about a virgin tomb. Where in the theological place of eternal damnation did he come up with that? Did I miss something? The closest I can come to what he is refering to ius the fact that Jesus was buried in a "new tomb in which no one had yet been laid”. (Luke 23:53, John 19:41) But I have never heard it refered to as a virgin tomb. & even though there may be some valid comparison, again the aim is much more. & we see that in the next line when he talks about creating a space of something divine to be born. But what does he mean by divine? In this case, we go on to find out he is taliing about "a messiah".
Before I go on, I need to acknowledge that in the OT the term was initially refering to someone annointed by God for a purpose, like the Jewish King. But by NT times it was clearly understood to specificly refer to the Christ (Greek equivalent) sent by God to save His people (& all of us as well who put our faith in Jesus).
However, Rolheiser isn't merely refering to Jesus, he is refering to a bunch of messiahs. Anyone who has read his columns or is familiar with his writings has often seen him subtly undermine the idea that Jesus is "the Messiah". & this column is no diferent. he shares a poem about Mary giving birth he wrote many years ago that includes the line "A virgin gives birth, not to sterility, but to a Messiah." Not the Messiah, but "a Messiah", implying there is more than 1. In fact he is aiming at making us all divine. Later we read "impregnates with messianic spirit those patient enough to yearn and sweat lonely tears. . .Only virgins' wombs bring forth messiahs because they alone live in advent waiting a delaying bridegroom" Did you notice the plural, messiahs? He is saying we all can become a messiah, by our own efforts. Then there is the "something divine" bit I mentioned earlier that implies the same idea.
What is sad is that in the last paragraph he once again gets it partially right, there is an emphasis on purity, but because God wants us to be pure, not for the reason he ends with, the right type of matrix as opossed to the wrong kind of which he says "within this matrix no messiah can be gestated." Subtly but clearly he is aiming at us being divinized, but not by God's efforts. Rather he is refering to a the new age idea of us becoming gods.
& this is only a part of the spiritual garbage in this column. I could go on about his use of tradition as where we get Jesus having no human father from as well as many other things meant to confuse & undermine the truth. Like I said, a mixture of truths & half-truths meant to get you to think that the errors he wants you to buy are not errors. As I have done before, I highly recomend 2 columns by TH2 (here & here) where he looks at what is wrong with Rolheiser. I also suggest you see note 33 of his post on Novalis (NOVALIS PUBLISHERS: DISSEMINATING DISSENT) for more on what is wrong with Rolheiser's relativistic theology.
Before I go, I do have to mention 1 other part that is what I describe as bizarre at best. "A virgin's heart lets gift be gift rather than somehow, however subtly, raping it. A virgin's heart accepts the pain of inconsummation rather than sleeping with the bride before the wedding. That, in the end, is what constitutes virginal space, the space within which God can be born." WT#??????? I'll leave it at that other than to say that once again the end is to get us to a new age mindset.
* Note: I am assuming that my readers know what I mean about the New Age ideas about messiah, divinization etc. If not may I recommend a couple of books as well as a Vatican document on the subject.
The New Age Counterfeit (Queenship) - Johnnette Benkovic
Catholics and the New Age. How Good People are being drawn into Jungian Psychology, the Enneagram and the New Age of Aquarius, (Servant - 1992) - Fr. Mitch Pacwa
Both books include lists of other books of varying quality about the subject.
Jesuus the Bearer of the Water of Life - PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE (This document includes a list of resources used. Part of that list is the actual writings by New Age authors they looked at to be able to answer accurately what is wrong with those writings.)


  • At 13/12/10 11:16 PM , Blogger TH2 said...

    Thanks for catching this one, Al. My "blood boiled" too while reading it. Superb analysis and thanks for the links. I'm tweeting a link to this post.

  • At 14/12/10 1:52 AM , Blogger Al said...

    Grazie for the tweet. I am sure you noticed I had more to say tonite. He is a lot like the snake in the garden of Eden in how he approaches things to deceive people into buying his New Age garbage.


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