01 April 2010

RON ROLHEISER: ECUMENICAL EGALITARIANISM


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.

Share/Bookmark

33 comments:

Al said...

"The Imperative for Ecumenism", aka Relativism 101. Ronnie better realize that true ecumenism means coming back in union with the catholic Church, accepting the teachings of the Magesterium & accepting the Pope as Christ's vicar among other things. We ar NOT just another denomination like a 5 or 10 dollar bill. The Catholic Church was is & always will be the Church founded by Jesus.

I read the bit about his early childhood & asked myself, what went wrong? Then I got it, he went to the cemetary oops I mean seminary. Actually given what a lot of those so-called seminaries were like, cemetary is a better term as they were about as dead as could be.

His view of religion is that you can treat it like a buffet, or a menu at a Chinese resturant, 1 from column A, 3 from column B.

Apparently he didn't get the memo from Bishop Trautman about the average person being too dumb to understand the word ineffible since he uses the word "ineffability". Or maybe the use of the word was a freudean slip that lets us know he thinks we are too stupid to know what is wrong with the garbage he is spewing?

TH2 said...

It really irked me when he insinuated that the Catholicism of his parents was backward, narrow minded etc. Sort of like the Hollywood mythical concoction of life in the 1950s.

Sanctus Belle said...

We much more to fear from those within the Church who attack with subtetly than from those without who opening attack. I recently cancelled my diocesan paper due to this mushy priest who makes me feel nauseous. Where are the REAL men priests? They are supposed to be warrior not slushy myn or womyn or whatever! This makes my so angry!

TH2 said...

My sentiments exactly, Sanctus Belle. Your comment summed up everything perfectly.

A Blessed Easter to you and your family.

Helen said...

Good article, friend. Heard a good old-fashioned Nun describe someone like this priest as "educated beyond his intelligence".

And re The New York Times~ it used to be easy to obtain (not BUY) on a subway or bus seat or the very top of a wastebasket but not anymore! Have it delivered for free by email and only a quick scan. Seems The Old Gray Hag is trying to divert attention to anyone but Obama and his Chicago mob. Was a bit concerned about Papa and after some deep prayer had some answers. Both Papa and Church are going to be fine. We have ALL the Angels and Saints on our side. Papa's attackers have noise and plenty of it.

Ron Rolheiser doesn't sound like a priest at all. A TRUE priest has a burning fervor about him. He may have memorized the Cathechism but has no understanding of it!

Happy Easter and God Bless you, your family and all here!!!

TH2 said...

Thank you kindly, Helen. Like your comments on the NYT, especially the "divert attention..." zinger.

Happy Easter to you and your family as well.

Anita Moore said...

You know, this is a trap that I myself fell into at one point in my life: confusing a religious system with the people who practice it. It goes something like this: my Protestant friends are decent and God-fearing; through adherence to their Protestant beliefs, they lead edifying lives; ergo, their Protestant beliefs have some good things about them; it's better than atheism...and from there, it's a slippery slope away from the Church. The warnings of the Church grow dimmer and dimmer while you focus on the fact that your friends, separated from the Church, are nevertheless not raving lunatic demons. On the contrary, they appear to be model Christians, so you start looking into and dabbling in the beliefs that made them what they are. And you blind yourself to the moral disparity of your respective situations: whereas your friends were born into their beliefs, or started with nothing at all, you started out with the fullness of truth, and you're throwing it away. That makes you blameworthy where they may not be.

In short, you delude yourself into thinking that you can separate out the 1 part cyanide from the 9 parts wine. And we see that not even a priest is immune to this trap. Further proof of the dangers of relying solely on your own resources.

TH2 said...

That was quite a moving reflection, Anita. Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed and meaningful comment.

"...this is a trap that I myself fell into at one point in my life". Don't be so hard on yourself, dear lady. Now you know, by the grace of the good God, and this comment itself might be a moral instruction for other readers. So good came out of it.

"...confusing a religious system [BEING, PRINCIPLES] with the people who practice it [BEHAVIOR, HUMAN FAILURE]". Happens to many.

By the way, yours truly has fell into many a trap in the past, so join the club ;)

kellyjwilson said...

TH2, I would like to express my interest in reading a post by you on who Jesus is to you, and what transformation that has had and continues to have in your life.

I invited the same of John Pacheco, but I understand people have busy lives.

Al said...

2 things occurred today that I highly doubt are coincidence.

1 I picked up a copy of last Sunday's archdiocesan rag "The False Witness" & happenned to glance at Roonie's (almost) latest on the Resurrection of Jesus & physical creation.
Here are only a few of his heretical rantings: " The resurrection opens us to possibilities beyond this life. It gives us a meta-future. But it gives a meta-future to the world, our planet, as well."

"Indeed it is the matrix, the mother, the womb, from which we all spring. Ultimately we, human persons, are only that part of God's creation that has become self-conscious and we do not stand apart from the earth"

Note here there is nothing about sin & what it did to creation, let alone why did we any of creation need saving in the 1st place.. "At the dawn of creation the atoms and molecules of this universe were made out of nothing, ex nihilo, nature took shape, and its reality and physical laws held sway from then on - until the resurrection of Jesus."

"In the resurrection of Jesus the very atoms of the universe were rearranged. The laws of physics were somehow stunningly altered and because of that our planet now too has the possibility of eternal life."

Then to top it off I go over to read LarryD's latest at Acts of the Apostasy on the"Sister of Mercy of the Americas: PRAYER: Earth Day Novena:" which, even if you haven't read the post yet, I am sure you can figure out what that horde of habitless hussies is up to.

Some days I would love to dig out the torches & pitchforks & well. . . I think you know the rest.

Al said...

PS: Forgot to add earlier that as a part of their annual READ campaign for the library at the "Catholic" college where I work, 1 of the persons selected this year was the Director of Campus Ministry & the book she recommends is 1 by Ronnie, The (Un)Holy Longing. (Had to add the editorial comment.)

TH2 said...

"In the resurrection of Jesus the very atoms of the universe were rearranged...." This is very reminiscent of the pantheistic new age crap spewed by Fr.Teilhard de Chardin.

Thanks for the detailed comments, Al. Fr. Rolheiser is a real menace. I will have more criticism/reviews of his columns in the future.

Al said...

TH2, it is interesting that you mention de Chardin. Here is the 1st line of that article, which I am sure will NOT surprize you: "Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was once asked by a critic why he so often mentioned atoms and molecules when he talked about Jesus. His answer: I am trying to formulate a Christology that is large enough to incorporate the full Christ because Christ is not just an anthropological event but a cosmic phenomenon as well." Pantheistic new age crap is a very accurate term to describe the whole article Rolheiser wrote.

Can we put him on the excommunication list with the habitless hordes?

TH2 said...

Yes, Al, I would like him on the excommunication list. I was disheartened and surprised (admittedly) to read, a few months ago, that Pope Benedict quoted Fr. Teilhard in a speech. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Al said...

TH2 I think Papa Benedetto did quote him as I read about it myself, not sure of the circumstances, but it wasn't to say he approved of everything de Chardin wrote.

TH2 said...

I agree, Al. Thanks for making the right distinction.

Anita Moore said...

Isn't Teilhard de Chardin the guy who came up with "Piltdown Man"?

TH2 said...

Yes, Anita, he is one of a group of likely forgers.

A sample Teilhard's pantheistic verbosity for some Thursday night enjoyment:

“By perennial act of communion and sublimation, he [Christ] aggregates himself to the total psychism of the earth. And when he has gathered everything together and transformed everything, he will close in upon himself and his conquests, thereby rejoining, in a final gesture, the divine focus he has never left”.

Anita Moore said...

I think ole Teilhard had been communing and sublimating with some serious hallucinogens when he wrote that.

Anonymous said...

I like Father Rolheiser very much and am grateful for his words which have brought comfort and insight to me over the years. You never can estimate just who God will use and for what purpose. So, don't get your panties in such a wad over it all.

TH2 said...

That's fine, Anonymous. But bringing "comfort" to someone does not necessarily mean consistency with Catholic truth. Oprah brings comfort to many.

Yeswellso said...

This is another website sadly filled with bitterness and condemnation.  Our Lord specifically warned about calling others fools.  Fr. Rolheiser's writing has been very helpful to me also.

TH2 said...

Yeswellso: Strange that you would refer to him as "Fr." Ron Rolhesier. At his website, it's just "Ron Rolhesier", minus the collar of course. Don't want to be too much of a sign to the world.

As for "bitterness", no - just the hard facts. As for "condemnation" - nothing wrong with that. I suggest you read some of St. Athanasius' stuff and, perchance, a few papal encyclicals.

If he was "very helpful" to you, it's too bad that you missed Rolheiser's recent seminar with Richard Rhor, the latter known for his naked "Wild Man" retreats. Read about it here http://bit.ly/jcnuaV  (see end of post, para. X).

If you really want to know about the human condition in relation to Catholicity, I highly recommend reading Fr. Benedict Groechel's books. He's a trained psychologist, the real deal. You will not find therein any of the me-centred, Oprahesque emotionalism that characterizes Rolheiser's works.

Dcavaiani said...

Your website may have relevance (I hope to learn that), BUT stay off of Fr. Ron - you MUST have better things to say.  How about sending me your comments on the "beast" in Revelation.  How can Protestants link that to the Vatican ??

TH2 said...

Take a gander on another piece on Rolheiser's collaboration with a certain Richard Rohr here and then get back to me.

Dcavaiani said...

Things Hidden from the learned, clever  (wonder who said this ?? - IT iS SURE TO CORRUPT a faithful Catholic)

...

Why? Clearly intelligence and learning are good things. Intelligence is the gift from God that sets us apart from animals and access to learning is a precious right given us by God. Indeed, ignorance and lack of education are things every healthy society and every healthy individual strive to overcome.

Scripture praises both wisdom and intelligence and the health of any church is partly predicated on having a vigorous intellectual stream within it. Every time in history that the church has let popular piety, however sincere, trump sound theology it has paid a high price. The Reformation arose out of just that and one of the first things that the Council of Trent mandated for Roman Catholics was that its priests be better trained intellectually.

Intelligence and learning are good things. God did not give us intelligence and then ask us not to use it. Naiveté is not a virtue and should never be confused with innocence. So why is being "intelligent and clever" something that can work against our understanding of the deeper secrets within life and faith?

The fault is not with intelligence and learning, both good things in themselves, but in what they can inadvertently do to us. Intelligence and learning often have the unintended effect of undermining what's childlike in us, that is, the very strength that they bring into our lives can allow us to unconsciously claim a superiority and have us believe that, given our intelligence, we have both the need and the right to isolate ourselves from others in ways that the natural neediness of children does not permit them to do. Children are not self-sufficient even though they fiercely want to be. They need others and they know it. Consequently they more naturally reach out and take someone's hand. They don't have the luxury of self-sufficiency.

When we are "learned and the clever" we can more easily forget that we need others and consequently don't as naturally reach for another's hand as does a child. It's easier for us to isolate ourselves. When we are less aware of our contingency we more easily lose sight of the things to which God and life are inviting us. The very strength that intelligence and learning bring into our lives can instill in us a false sense of self-sufficiency that can make us want to separate ourselves in unhealthy ways from others and understand ourselves as superior In some way. And superiority never enters a room alone, but always brings along a number of her children: arrogance, disdain, boredom, cynicism. All of these are occupational hazards for the "learned and the clever" and none of these helps unlock any of life's deep secrets.

But we must be careful not to misread the lesson. Faith does not ask us to not stretch our minds. Neither ignorance nor naiveté serve faith. Faith not only doesn't fear the hard questions it invites us to ask them. The depths of infinity are never threatened by finite intelligence. And so it's never a bad thing to become learned and sophisticated; it's only a bad thing is we remain there. The task is to become post-sophisticated, that is, to remain full of intelligence and learning even as we put on again to the mindset of a child.

TH2 said...

Diversions don't work here. You have not specifically addressed what was suggested for you to peruse. I, too, can cut and paste. Here is another post to consider.

I am regularly amazed that the devotees of Rolheiser (mainly aging baby boomers) apparently cannot stand the fact that there are others out there who find fault in his writings, let along a single blogger like myself. It's like their whole world has been torn asunder. The man has received accolades for decades, so what's the worry? Well, post-Vatican II playtime is over, of which Rolhesier is a notable representative. His advocacy of inwardist emotionalism, feelings, pop-pyschology, non-judgementalism, happy clappiness, political correctness, etc. has done enough damage. Time to call it out.

Dcavaiani said...

Hey Pal,

You have rapidly proven to me that you are essentially an egomaniac with really no clear purpose toward  bringing people to the belief that Jesus Chist is the ruler of their lives.  I have absolutely no particular allegiance to Ron R, except that I totally trust in and believe in the Catholic Paper (named the Compass) sponsored by our awesome Diocese of Green Bay (even though I AM A DETROIT LION'S FAN).!!!

Peace be with you, and GOOD BYE!

Don C.

Dcavaiani said...

I just earnestly prayed about my last response to you.  I asked our Lord how I could instead encourage you to carry on the very important and loving and eye-opening part of your vision (rather than just pissing your off and forcing you to angrily reply)? 

I don't want to slam you or clam you up, but rather I hope to have the Holy Spirit speak through me, and that I will find a word or phrase to spur you on to more cleary and lovingly proclaim our Lord's message.  You surely do NOT have an evil purpose in your message.

Thank you for your important ministry.  I will remember you in my prayers!

TH2 said...

Sir, I do not mind being slammed or being called names. Things are dished out pretty rough 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.

Anyhow, I appreciate you dropping in to reade. And please feel free to comment again, as harshly against me as you want.

Anonymous said...

I am not a baby boomer but a thirty-something Lutheran who is absolutely dumbfounded by the total lack of gentleness and grace on display here. How can anyone possibly come to the conclusion that you are Jesus' disciples let alone His true Church when you show no evidence of loving one another (not even members of your own priesthood who wish to serve you)? I guess you'll only love them when they conform to your expectations...just like the pagans do. If this is Jesus' true Church then let's keep on singing Kyrie Eleison...we have a rough road ahead!

blaise said...

Sadly, Fr. Rolheiser is recommended reading at this Canadian parish, along with some other names you may recognize:
http://www.assumption.rcec.london.on.ca/recommended.html

TH2 said...

 Had a look at the list. Not very good, indeed.

Post a Comment