02 November 2009


TH2 is very suspicious of any priest who formally presents himself without clerical garb. Thus we introduce Fr. Ron "the borderline dweller" Rolheiser, "speaker, columnist and author". His "weekly column appears in more than 65 Catholic newspapers worldwide". He's one of these liberal priests whose politicallycorrectnonjudgmentalnevertakinga–realstand writings are everywhere, but hardly anybody knows who this guy is. Sort of like those obscure bureaucrats that run the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops nobody knows who these people are, but their impacts on an unwitting Catholic populace are pernicious. An situational analogy would be Franz Kafka's book The Castle, where the main character K. is forever thwarted and obstructed by an indifferent bureaucracy. You get the idea...

Accordingly, let us peruse and dissect a recent column by Rolheiser where he attempts to perform a balancing act between "conservatives" (i.e. authentic Catholic orthodoxy) and "liberals" (i.e. dissenters, heretics, apostates, etc.). The article is entitled: "Conservatives and Liberals We Need Both" (September 6, 2009 / LINK). [TH2 analysis in bolded square brackets]
The late Malcolm X [you gotta be kidding me] was raised a Christian but [here we go...], at one point in his life, became a Muslim [i.e. he was attracted to the revolutionary violence of Mohammedism as manifested in the "Nation of Islam", learned whilst in prison, from an antiSemitic racist Mohammedan convert]. However, both in his own mind and in his ministry, he never ceased being a Christian [really, I don't see a previous life of criminality as being expressive of the Christian ethic; he hated religion as a youth]. He used to carry both the Koran and the New Testament with him [big deal, I carry a Rosary and a pack of smokes]. He felt the need for both [the Rosary and Bible alone will do me just fine]. Here's how he explained this [no, here's how you justify historical revisionism and cultural relativism because, in the psychological subsurface, you are ashamed of the singularity of authentic Catholic beliefs and really do not believe in objective truth]

"Most of the people I work with need the hard discipline of Allah [i.e. fatalism, rigid moralism] in order to get some order into their lives, particularly their religious and moral lives. Later, after they have the essentials more in hand, will be the time for the more liberal love of Jesus." [what a load of crap]
What Malcolm X brilliantly [i.e. ridiculously] juxtaposes here is the tension that perennially exists between prescribed discipline and personal maturity, between the letter of the law and its spirit, between conservatives and liberals. And he affirms that we need both: prescribed discipline and personal maturity, law and spirit, conservatives and liberals. [And how was this "tension" balanced and manifested in the life of Malcolm "X" Little? With his hatred for the civil rights movement? His delight in the assassination of JFK? His ohsowonderful consorting with the pygmy Communist dictator Fidel Castro? His racial segregationism?]

Sadly today this kind of voice is rare on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Liberals [heroes, with just minor faults] and conservatives [villains with unredeemable faults], both in the church and in society, tend to demonize and hate each other and to lack basic respect, empathy, understanding, and even civility towards each other [i.e. fair and objective criticism from conservatives are taken as personal affronts since liberals have no reasoned responses for counterargumentation; hence liberals resort to insult, vilification and diversion]. Each side has its own truth [again, a euphemism saying that there is no real truth] and, unlike Malcolm X [as sanctified by Ronny], cannot see the need for any other truth. Allow me an example: [do I have to?]

In church circles today, conservatives and liberals would agree that things are not ideal [only liberals are idealists, conservatives are realists], that there is a need to do things differently. However they have very different visions of what the problem is and how it should be addressed.

Conservatives tend to focus on the lack of fundamentals. They see a whole of generation of Christians emerging who have never been essentially catechized, who lack a basic understanding of what constitutes Christian identity and what makes for proper religious and moral boundaries. Hence they insist strongly, sometimes to the point of a near intolerance [notice the nonchalant, standard popup vilification], on clear identity, on proper boundaries and distinctiveness from others, and on rules and regulations, with a corresponding impatience and (often) anger against anyone who challenges this view. [Oh, Ronny, like so many liberals and even some conservatives who are so afraid of being "uncharitable" you focus on the anger and overlook the argumentation, based on solid reason, that makes the anger justified, which is an emotional response to some apprehension and this is the ruse used by the likes of you to disregard and disqualify conservatives. St. Athanasius may have been a vehement writer and excellently so but he was also correct.]

Liberals, on the other hand, focus on something else [Yes, they concoct preposterous situations and worldviews and maintain themselves by perpetually inventing a "crisis"]. When they look at the church today they see the most educated, literate, and theologically discriminating group of believers that have ever existed in the 2000 years of Christian history [Really? If so, and if they believe, why has Mass attendance radically declined in the last four decades?]. Thus, their insistence, often just as strong and as bitter as that of the conservatives, is for an apologetic and an inclusivity that goes directly against the call for the harder boundaries and the clearer lines of identity so desired by the conservatives. [By "inclusivity", do you mean acceptance, assimilation and (even) the endorsement of homosexualism, womyn priests, gnostic heresies?] Liberals see the millions of persons who feel alienated from their churches (e.g., the second most numerous religious group in the United States today is made up of exRoman Catholics) and argue that what is needed to melt these hearts and attitudes is not clearer catechesis or more tightlydrawn boundaries, but a renewed emphasis on precisely the gospel of love, wider inclusivity, and personal maturity over rules.[On this matter, TH2 could care less about what people "feel" and this emotionalized definition of "love". This is sentimentalism and feelings are transient. What about reason and truth? Truth is extraneous to man, not a function of man. Truth is, and however you "feel" about it does not change the fact that a truth is a truth.]

And both are right [i.e. once again, nobody's right, truth is what you feel, not what is]. In essence what we see in the tension between conservatives and liberals in the church and society today is the tension that Malcolm X tried to resolve for himself by carrying both the Koran and the Gospels around with him. We need to also carry with us both some conservative principles and some liberal ones. [As a Catholic priest, which "liberal ones" would you suggest? Abortion? Euthanasia? Antinomianism? Nihilism? Pagan nature worship? Oprah? Selfhelp books? Hollywood? New Age esoterica? Socialism? Contempt for the middle class? Revolutionism? And are you saying that Malcolm X advocated conservative principles? Buddy, from which planet in the western sector of the Andromeda galaxy were you born?]

There is a need today to strongly define identity and lay out clear boundaries [which you, as an obvious relativistic borderline dweller, have a lot of trouble doing]. Experience is showing us that we often lack the personal maturity and innerstrength [to] live out a gospel of love, without rules. To come to grips with many of our weaknesses and confusions we need the discipline of law, the clarity of a catechism, and the exclusivity and protection that is captured in the original meaning of the word seminarium [OK, fine]. But that isn't all we need. [here we go again...] To live out our faith in a way that, in the end, respects God's universal love for everyone and respects our own persons, we also need hearts that are not ghettos and a religion of freedom and personal maturity. [zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...] We need both conservatives and liberals.

But given the present polarization both in the church and in society [i.e. given the end result of 45 years of liberal/leftistactuated heresy and apostasy], we are not going to move easily towards empathy, understanding, respect, and civility towards each other. Each side is so convinced that God is on its side of the importance of its own vision, and its own critical place in history, that it can only see the other as insincere, ignorant, selfserving, as threat, as someone to be fought in God's name. [...and what "side" are you on Fr. Ron? Or do you refuse to take sides? The latter seems to be the case as you appear to be a relativist? But I thought you were a Catholic priest? Have you not read the widely disseminated statement of His Holiness?: "We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires." I guess not, for this is too "intolerant".]

But the real truth is that we need each other [Diversion. We need Christ first, Who is the Truth, the transcendent, and His Holy Catholic Church, with Peter as its head. You are employing the liberal trick of overemphasizing the community of people, immanentizing things down to the spirit of the world, making man primary and Christ secondary, when it should be the reverse. Forgive my stupidity, but TH2 always thought that a Catholic priest first and foremost loves and serves Our Lord]. Liberals need conservatives; conservatives need liberals; society and the church need both. Conservatives rightly look to roots and they, [zzzzzzz...] rightly, see that today our roots are anything but strong and nourishing. Liberals rightly look at maturity and [zzzzzzzzzzzzz...] they see, rightly, that we are anything but mature and bighearted. Perhaps, in imitation of Malcolm X, we might all walk around carrying both a catechism and the Gospel of John, both in our pockets and in our hearts.[zzzzzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzz... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...]
...Uh? Eh? Oh ya... some advice, Fr. Ron: Relax. Have a cheese sandwich. Drink a glass of milk. Do some bloody thing. But please stop writing, reevaluate and seriously ruminate upon those words of Our Lord in Revelation 3:16.



Al said...

Short summary of all the BS in Rolheiser's article, Discipline & hardline adhearance to basic tenents of the faith OK if it comes from Islam, but not if you are Christian. & if you are a Christian & stand up for the basics then you are hatefilled.

Sorry Ronnie, but I stand up for the basics because I love God. I stand up for the basics because I love my neighbor & don't want him or her to end up in Hell. The relativists are the true haters. they hate the truth, they hate their neighbor because they want them to end up in hell, even if they deny its existance. & they hate themselves because they want themselves to end up in hell as well.

Also what is wrong with polarization? As you pointed out Revelation 3:16 says that being lukewarmed like Rolheiser extolls was condemned by God. & that God would spit them out. So, I think we know what God thinks of Ronnie's views.

Unfortunately he has way too big of a following around the DBQ Archdiocese, & he is carried in our Archdiocesan newpaper "The Wit-less" (as I call it) & linked on their website as well.

What is scary is that this alledged priest & member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, is also president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. Can you imagine how screwed up the place must be & the damage it is doing to its students?

I quote from his message on the School's website: "Oblate School of Theology strives to model a wide and inclusive Catholicity". What follows is a lot like the BS in the article above.

He ends with: "We hope that you will become part of the Oblate dream." Nightmare is more like it!

BTW do you feel like taking a shower after wading through swamps like this 1 known as Rohheiser?

Anyhow, what do you think the odds are we can ship him off to Episcopal Bishop Sutton in Maryland? I'm sure he would be welcome there.

Anonymous said...


I'm consistently amazed with the sheer magnitude of Ron Rolheiser's ability to make himself into a buffoon. A while ago I read one of his columns--or two paragraphs of it--and nearly poured bleach in my eyes.

I want to compare him to Samson's Jawbone of an Ass, but at least THAT jawbone was useful...

Please continue to demolish the lukewarm ramblings of Rolheiser and his lot!


TH2 said...

Al: Judging by your detailed response, you seem to know quite a bit about this guy. "Is There Anybody...?" [get it?] that you don't know about? I have rarely seen your words as intense as these before. As a Canadian, I must humbly apologize to you that this fellow Canadian (Rolheiser) has been unleashed into your country.

Celestine: Thanks for dropping by. I certainly will be monitoring this guy. By the way, congratulations on the award for your story. Reflecting on this, and your past posts - you are a excellent, well-versed writer. I especially find your realist no-nonsense attitude very refreshing. Don't stop writing.

Al said...

TH2: In answer to your question, I am sure that there are plenty out there I am not aware of. As for Rolheiser, yeah, I am a bit intense. It is because of how big an influence he has had arround here in the DBQ Archdiocese. My pastor has quoted him many a time in his sermons. In 2006 the Archdiocese sponsored a conference in Ames with him running the show. He has been widely referenced at other times, including dealing with the Priests sex abuse scandal. & he is only 1 small part of what is wrong arround here.

As for apologizing about his being from Canada, no need to. It it isn't Canada's fault that he is such a stinker.

TH2 said...

Not a good situation at all there in the DBQ Archdiceose. And the fact that your pastor - either out of naivete or dissenting knowingness - quotes this guy is even more troublesome. I can see now the reason for the righteous intensity in your first response. I will ask SS. Irenaeus and Athanasius to aid you in dealing with this situation. These guys are tough customers and no heretic would want these heavy hitters on their case.

What is so pernicious about Rolheisher is that he is so subtle in his heresy - a word here, a turn of the phrase there - that unsuspecting Catholics not properly informed of the Faith are suckered so easily. Most links on the internet I have found on this weasel are positive. I have only seen a couple of negative reviews giving a heads-up.

Al said...

TH2 simple answer: "dissenting knowingness".

You should have seen how unhappy he was when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope & became Papa Benedetto. Also, he is a subscriber to America magazine. He puts them out in a rack in the basement of the Church & when I can I try & abscond with them before anyone else can. Along with the copies of the National Catholic Reporter that occasionally show up.

Anyhow, he is on sabatical over in England. Here is a sample of what he wrote in the bulletin: "The sabbatical program that I am on devotes two weeks to the gospels. The first week was an introduction seeking to understand the particular story of Jesus that each one of them presents. The second week looks into the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The type of death that Jesus experienced was difficult for the early church to explain since crucifixion was a form of capital punishment for criminals in the first century A.D. So the early writers, such as St. Paul, had to explain this in some way. Paul's solution was simply to say that "Jesus died on the cross because of our sins." There was in other words an explanation to Jesus' terrible death. The explanation of suffering and death is one that faces each one of us, especially the suffering and death of those who are inno-cent and don't deserve to suffer or die. How do we explain suffering and death to our-selves and others?" I think you can figure out what is wrong with this.

Anonymous said...

TH2-- Thanks!

TH2 said...


Is it possible for you to attend Mass at another parish so that you don't have to deal with these theological pantywaists?

Also, have you written the bishop? But the next question is... Is your bishop a person who will deal with this kind of thing? Or is he a "I am so afraid of offending anybody" liberal bureaucrat type?

Mary said...

My diocesan newspaper has inflicted Rolheiser's column on us for years. I was forced to write a letter to the editor about one of his columns that had several ridiculous points, the most egregious being that Blessed Theresa of Calcutta had been disobedient to her superiors when she founded her order in India. Happily, I had just finished reading her biography, so his assertions were easily refuted. Clearly, the man doesn't know the value or meaning of obedience.

Al said...

TH2 Sorry i haven't replied faster but been away from the computer for a couple days.

I do attend Mass elsewhere as much as possible.

As for our Archbishop, there is no hope for him doing the right thing as he is supportive of things like this. He was in charge when Rolheiser came in for that conference. His only convern these days is the big raid up in pPostville. He has not issued a comment on the health care issue nor did he ever issue a comment when Planne Parenthood opened here in DBQ.

PS stayed tuned for a post tonite on my blog about Sr. Dorothy Quinn. Apparently it was a letter I wrote that appeared in the TH that precipitated their action. The statement is dated 2 Nov, but I don't remember seeing it there until after my letter.

Also will have a few comments about a call I got from 1 of those Dominicans as well.

TH2 said...

No apologies required. It is a shame re: the Abp. situation down there in DBQ.

Of course, I will monitor your blog (it's pretty well part of my daily routine). Excellent news about your letter. Also, quite interested about that phone call you got.

Catch ya on the flipside, bud.

Clotilde Frazier said...

You can tell where my venom is by the way I responded to this post about presbyter Ron. I laughed joyfully, "Someone like me is out there;" I laughed ruefully, "Lord, it is taking so long I'll miss the fireworks," and I laughed sorrowfully, because the Ron's have rationalized their shallowness and have taken too many souls with them.

I not only laughed, I smiled throughout my first visit to your page. That goes right to the soul. Congratulations.

To reward you, as you should be, I wanted to leave my URL in the event you might want to check for associative-acceptability. However, In the process of capturing my address, I lost your page.

Not to worry, I thought I could find you easily without scrolling throuh RC. I typed in THH, not having recorded your full blog name. I found there are a lot of defensive types, warming the world about HHs (you).

This is my way of saying it was a pleasure spending time on your site.

Pax et bonum

Clotilde Frazier


TH2 said...

Thank you for stopping over, Clotilde, and also for your very kind comments. To be sure, "the Ron's have rationalized their shallowness and have taken too many souls with them."

Definitely, I will be checking out your site. TH2

Clotilde Frazier said...

Do you allow links to your site? Clotilde Frazier.

TH2 said...

Please feel free.

Anonymous said...

Rolheiser and his book Holy Longing are absolutely insufferable. I only wish his legions of fans in my parish, including the RCIA team, questioned him one iota.

TH2 said...

No need to despair too much, Anonymous. More and more people are beginning to wake up to his inauthentic brand of "Catholicism".

Thanks for dropping in.

little kid said...

At a time of deep grief and confusion, I picked up Ron's Shattered Lantern. MMMmmm, it reminded me of the old yoga days when I sunk into my couch and watched the sun rise while listening to my heartbeat. So far, (not?) so bad. My rational was weak, I was frustrated with the recent relentless rehash of Priest scandal and wanted to escape. I actually re-red the book with my spouse over morning coffee. Happy as clams.
After ignorantly basking in Fr. Ron's folly for a few months, we pursued one his earlier books, Against a An Infinite Horizon,( 1995) YIKES!
Suffering thru Rolheiser's condescending treatment of Church teaching, defense of radical feminism and trite circular analogies, I begged my husband to stop reading this BS. I actually found myself reacting in a most un-ladylike manner; my verbal objections descended to the depths of crudeness, the expletives issued forth without hesitation.
When will these clowns realize that they insult not only our intelligence and decency, but waste our precious time and energy?

TH2 said...

LK: Sorry you went through that, but many thanks for sharing with a detailed comment. Your comment is actually quite moving and I am impressed with your writing style.

Dixiebrerbear said...

I had the displeasure of having this heretic as part of my review panel when I was defending my thesis for my masters degree in theology. I crucified Rahner, and pointed out Balthasar was better in the treatment of the question at hand. It did not take me long to denounce Balthasar (after I got out of a heck hole excuse for a Catholic institution) and returned to my Thomistic upbringing, no longer to be fooled by modernist attempts of re-evaluating the great Angelic doctor. Their poisons are subtle, but widespread, von B being the poster child of the last pope in many regards. Ron Rolheiser and company need to go to Room 101. I confess I like Orwell's discussion on how to deal with heresy and heretics, as told by O'Brien.

Introibo ad altare Dei......

TH2 said...

Dixie: Must have been frustrating to have him on your review panel. Terrible. Hope you are now having better days. I am glad you specifically refer to him as a heretic because not many do. There are only a few others out in the blogosphere who have identified his writings as dangerous. Given that Rolheiser's writings are in most diocesan newspapers (everywhere), I cannot understand why this is the case, especially given the fact that the Catholic blogosphere is mainly orthodox.

roxie said...

I admire your powerful desire to fight for that which you believe is right, however "destruction", as opposed to "discussion", appears to be the intent of the responses on this blog.  It's no wonder that we as a Catholic Church are finding it ever more difficult to resolve our internal differences.  It's conversations like this, shot through with incivility, name-calling, character assasination, and utter disrespect that make it hard for people like me, who very respectfully disagree with you, to even want to enter dialogue.  From what I've read here, it appears that in being 'warriors for truth' you have given yourselves permission to exempt yourselves from basic Christian charity.  Though you may feel compelled to fight for that which you believe is right, disrespect and a complete lack of courtesy can never be rationalized on the basis of claiming that God is on your side.  Please don't delude yourselves into thinking that the high cause you believe you are serving justifies a fundamental lapse in humanity and charity towards others.  This sort of 'attack rhetoric' serves personal pathologies and ideologies more than it serves Christ.    

TH2 said...

Hello there Roxie, thank you for the criticism. It seems every once and a while someone pops in to comment on my Rolheiser posts. Here are a few others, though I suspect you might become more angry with me after reading them and their comboxes :)


Here's one of my responding comments to someone else who expressed a disapproving view similar to yours: I do not mind being slammed or being called names. Things are dished out quite roughly around here so I expect, welcome and - indeed - hope for harsh responses against me from visitors. It gets the conversation going and makes things much more interesting in my opinion. There are many Catholic sites out there where everyone tries to be nice, all puppy dogs and moon beams. This blog is not one of those places. Catholicism is witnessed in many ways by many personality types. Admittedly, the heresy hunter type like myself isn't the most popular in the sphere of Catholic blogs, but my purpose for blogging is certainly not to gain admittance into a certain club in the Catholic blogosphere.

Roxie said...

But doesn't it seem counter-intuitive to you in the least to be slinging insults and vitriolic statements in defense of a faith founded by someone whose entire mandate was *love*?  "Love your neighbor as yourself" doesn't seem to be on the agenda, here.  But I get the impression that this is more about the furious defense of Catholic orthodoxy than it is about finding ways to come to the table together.  Make no mistake: disagreement, even vehement disagreement, is perfectly acceptable.  But when it comes to attacking others, it serves no purpose but to alienate those who would like to enter reasonable discussion with you.  Having said that, it appears that reasonable discussion isn't the motive of this blog.  That's too bad.  I have lot of questions that I'd like to ask of people who feel the way many of you do, but at the risk of being crucified for daring to disagree with you, it doesn't seem worth it. 

TH2 said...

 ...a faith founded by someone whose entire mandate was *love*?

Consider this post: "Honoring The Ides of Christ" at The Fifth Column blog. Link: http://skellmeyer.blogspot.ca/2010/06/honoring-ides-of-christ.html

Here are few lines from it:

"Although God is Love and Jesus is God, so Jesus is Love, Jesus wasn't very nice. He was, in fact, about the most confrontational, divisive figure you can imagine."

Not saying the following necessarily applies to you, but I think it applies to many others who claim certain bloggers like me are divisive, vitriolic, uncharitable, etc.

So, when someone tells me to "act more like Christ" and "stop being so divisive!" what does that really mean? Well, the short answer is simple - it's the coward's way of saying, "SHUT UP! I don't want to listen to you anymore!" People
who spew this "You are being DIVISIVE... NOT Christ-like!" phrase are
not particularly Christian. They can't let their YES mean YES or their
NO mean NO because they don't like being like Christ. They don't like
getting in people's faces. Instead, they call names - "YOU aren't
like CHRIST!" - while pretending that they aren't calling names. They
judge while retaining the false veneer of being non-judgemental and

It's an outstanding post, and I recommend you read the whole thing.

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