Following a previous post on Ron "the borderline dweller" Rolheiser, below find another analysis of a column (dated March 14, 2010) by the Canadian priest who is ashamed to wear his collar. [TH2 analysis in bolded square brackets]
The Imperative for Ecumenism [I'm OK, you're OK]Home is where we start from. T.S. Eliot [American born poet, playwright, literary critic and Anglican convert] wrote those words and they are true for all of us in terms of religion and our understanding of the particular denomination [Roman Catholicism is not a "denomination", Christ made St. Peter the Rock upon which to establish His ONE "Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church"] within which we were raised.[notice: "within which...", as if a separated group, not singularly distinct, not in fullness. The word "denomination" means the name of a category amongst a mosaic of others on an assumed equal footing. Mathematically, the denominator constitutes a fractional number, a common trait, the average level - this all ties in with Rolheiser's "ecumenism", which is doublespeak for a subtlety advocated religious egalitarianism].
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic with deep roots. My parents had a strong faith and they made sure that faith and religious practice were central to every aspect of our lives. [sound like wonderful parents, God bless them] We went to mass [notice: no capital M in "mass" - and Rolheiser is a Catholic priest] whenever we could, daily when it was available, went to confession at least every two weeks, prayed the rosary daily in our home, recited the Angelus together at least twice a day, learned a good number of prayers, memorized the Catholic catechism, had a picture of the pope hanging in our house, and believed that Roman Catholicism, among all religions [shove it into the mix] and Christian denominations [again: Roman Catholicism is not a "denomination"] was the sole true faith, the only fully valid religion.[excellent - if only more families would be like this today] We didn't believe that others, Protestants and peoples of other religions, would not go to heaven [correct], but we were not exactly sure how this would happen [okay, fair enough], given that we believed that they were not of the true faith. [correct again, they are not of the "true faith"] Because of this, we lived in a certain suspicion of other denominations and religions, secure in our own truth, ["own truth", as if truth is a function of the self] but cautious always about intermingling religiously with others, fearing that somehow what we believed might be watered-down or contaminated by religious contact with non-Roman Catholics.[the watering down of Catholicism has been in process for the last 40+ years, to which Rolheiser fails to emphasize]
And that was, and is, a good place to start from. I am deeply grateful for having such strong, conservative, religious roots. But [here we go...] a lot of things have changed for me since I was a young, idealistic, Roman Catholic boy growing up in an immigrant community on the Canadian prairies. [i.e. I rejected that rigid Catholicism of old, naively believed by those stupid, uneducated peasants.... Obviously, Rolheiser was suckered in the by the "spirit" of Vatican II, its liberalism and "openness" to everything without qualification, etc.] Early on in my seminary years, my professors, honest scholars (and mostly Roman Catholic priests), exposed me to some wonderful Anglican and Protestant biblical scholars and theologians whose insights and commitment deepened my understanding of Jesus and helped rivet me more firmly in my own religious life.[TH2 wonders: Who were these professors?]
Later on in my seminary years, I was joined in the classroom by men and women from various Christian denominations, all of whom were studying for ministry and all of whom had a deep commitment to Christ. Friendship with them and respect for their faith did not lead me to leave Roman Catholicism and join another denomination, [yet again - "another denomination"] but it did begin to reshape my thinking about what constitutes true faith and true religion. [To what degree were you reshaped?] It helped me, too, to realize that our commonality as Christians largely dwarfs our differences. [see how he so subtlety and effervescently waters down Catholicism into a pleasantly tasting soup slurry]
Since my ordination I have taught and ministered in various countries and in various universities and seminaries. [spreading "feel good" egalitarian religiosity] I have prayed with, shared faith with, lectured to, and become deep friends with men and women of every kind of denominational and religious persuasion: Anglicans, Episcopalians, Protestants, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and sincere humanistic searchers.[what a jet setter, a man of the world, he's seen it all and knows it all] I have been nurtured deeply in both my faith and my spirituality by Anglican and Protestant thinkers such as C.S. Lewis, Paul Tillich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Wallis, Jurgen Moltmann [Marxist influenced Protestant theologian, liberation theology], and Alan Jones, among others. [notice how Rolheisher admixes C.S. Lewis, a good friend of Catholicism, with a radical like Moltman - because, of course, they are really the same, i.e. no religion is preponderant] Today, alongside my Roman Catholic community, among those who help anchor my religious commitment, soul mates [how quaint, in a New Age kind of way] in the faith, there are a good number of Anglicans, Episcopalians, Protestants, Evangelicals, and persons from various other religions. Their faith and friendship has helped me internalize something that Virginia Woolf [radical novelist, extremely troubled individual, darling of feminist dilettantes] once said: Why are we so hard on each other, she asked, when life is so difficult for all of us and when, in the end, we value the same things? She was speaking about the lack of empathy between the sexes, but she could just as easily have been speaking about the lack of empathy between different denominations and different religions. [But different religions/denominations DO NOT "value the same things". Pagans, ancient and modern, put high value on the earthiness, pleasure and power. Buddhism puts great value in its (useless) attempt to escape from suffering. Mohammedism places great value on violence against infidels. Are these the same as Catholicism? Are there no real differences? Rolheiser is romanticizing. Why? Because he lives in Liberal La La Land.]
This is not to suggest that all religions are equal or that all denominations within Christianity are equal paths to God.[the aforementioned betrays otherwise; notice also: "within Christianity", not Catholicism as distinct- remember he is a Catholic priest]. There is nothing parochial or narrow in believing that one's own church is the right one or in believing that belonging to a certain church is more than a matter of historical accident or simple ecclesial taste. Deep loyalty to the truth as one perceives [again: making the un-Catholic claim that truth is a function of what one thinks/senses, i.e. "as one perceives", not as extraneous] it is one mark of a genuine faith. [No, it is not. Rather, it is a telltale mark of a vulgar Kantianism.]
But this does suggest that we must be open to a new empathy towards those whose church is different than ours and to a wider understanding of what it means to belong to a particular denomination or religion. Sometimes we must repent too of our denominationalism.[see how he relentlessly pounds the idea of "our" Catholicism as a mere denomination, but now uses the term denominationalism, which specifically means narrow mindedness, sectarian and is - strictly speaking - a term belonging to Protestantism]
Perhaps what this suggests most of all is that we must be open to a deeper understanding of the ineffability of God and the humility that asks of us. I'm still a committed Roman Catholic, but [here comes the Catholic-diminishing qualifier...], like the Evangelist, John, I know now that Jesus has other sheep that are not of this fold. I'm glad for that, glad too for the words of the 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz: "Would you think it odd if Hafiz said, I am in love with every church, and mosque, and temple, and any kind of shrine because I know it is there that people say the different names of the one God?" ["We are the world... we are the children... Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya..."]
It all comes down to this for Ron Rolheisher: I'm OK, you're OK. Were really all the same in our beliefs. This is why, at his website, he presents himself as "Ron Rolheisher" and not (as it should be) "Father Ron Rolheiser". This is why he does not formally present himself in priestly garb. At core, he wants to equalize all religions and philosophies of life. As a Catholic priest, he does not want to be a sign to the world. Moreover, all this betrays a defiance in not wanting draw non-Catholics to the Holy Faith. Just typical liberal "talk" without action.
It is important to realize that nowhere in this column on "ecumenism", nor in other columns since October 20, 2009 - with the Anglican Ordinariate issuance - has Rolheiser commented on this great work of Christian unification effected by Pope Benedict (see his column archive here). Even more tellingly, unlike prominent Canadian Catholic priests such as Fr. Raymond de Sousa, Rolheiser has not - so far as I am aware - come out in defence of the Pope amid the recent priest sexual abuse scandal in Germany, nor has he castigated the lies and disinformation spewed by the New York Times.
- Rolheiser's silence speaks volumes.
- Rolheiser works in ever so subtle ways to diminish the singularity and truth that is Roman Catholicism. He is a borderline dweller.
- Rolheiser's writings and views are not to be trusted by Catholics.