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And Speaking of Shows…

Friday, November 4, 2005, 21:21 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

The hierarchy of my Roman Catholic Church continues to disappoint me. Most recently, my dismay is over reports of “pruning” of Catholic colleges and universities. That’s code for refusing to sanction Catholic institutions of higher learning where dissent or even dialogue on church matters is permitted.

We aren’t talking about issues like the existence of God or the divinity of Jesus. The dissent/dialogue that is not tolerated is on issues such as contraception (it’s evil to interfere with the natural creation of life but not to interfere with the natural termination of life), the role of women in the church (no leadership or liturgical positions), inclusive language (saying “people” in the Nicene Creed instead of “men”, for example, is verboten), and even certain ways of praying (meditation of “centering prayer” is suspect because it isn’t traditional enough). The absurdity of what some consider unacceptable dissent is best illustrated on a web site called Catholic Culture, formerly PetersNet, which reviews web sites that claim Catholic identity. Among the web sites that are given the rating of “DANGER” on the “Fidelity” index are not only women’s ordination advocacy organizations and Catholic gay rights groups, but also several formally recognized Catholic entities:

  • Franciscan Renewal Center (read review), a diocesan retreat facility in Arizona that offers, among other programs, Enneagram workshops. The Enneagram is essentially a way of looking at human personalities that, for reasons I have never heard clearly articulated, some traditionalists consider to be contrary to the Catholic faith. The Catholic Culture review also mentions programs involving (gasp!) yoga classes as a means of promoting physical relaxation and mental concentration. I wonder if they’d object to the use of calesthenics and “quiet time” as too “New Age” for use at Catholic elementary schools.
  • Maryknoll (read review), an established and respected missionary organization that sometimes uses political approaches to addressing the dearth of material resources in the third world. Catholic Culture decries Maryknoll’s espousal of liberation theology, which traditionalists equate with Marxism. They also object to Maryknoll’s involvement in practical assistance without what they call “spiritual outlook”.
  • Order of St. Benedict (read review), a religious community that, Catholic Culture complains without giving examples, promotes “Benedictine retreat centers whose program are drawn almost exclusively from New Age, feminist, and neo-pagan beliefs”.

Given the “CAUTION” rating are another batch of web sites even more innocuous than those mentioned above. But that’s a post for another day.

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