Showing posts from May, 2010

Ratzinger & Haight disagree

Oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and short attention spans have pushed off the front pages the Catholic Church’s embarrassment over the sex scandal, at least in this country. But I hope pressure on Catholic officials continues so that the wider Church can be liberated from official statements of belief and give attention to authentic promptings from Spirit within. Roger Haight, Jesuit theologian and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, wrote Jesus: Symbol of God , which rejects the same literal beliefs I reject in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky —that Jesus is God and his death saved the world. Predictably, Haight was punished by the Vatican’s doctrinal agency that Joseph Ratzinger headed before he became Benedict XVI. Critics of Haight’s theology complain that it promotes relativism and religious pluralism, which accept the validity of other beliefs. One critic said that Haight reduces the Christian message to something even atheists can affirm, and Ratz

Prototypes of Christ

I often say that every school of theology should require the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. They explain the origin of religious beliefs. No, they’re the first to say no one can really explain the depths of the human psyche, but they come as close as anyone. When I was trying to be an atheist—it was after I realized that Christian mythology resembles pagan mythology—I did what I see my atheist friends do. I chucked it all, all that crap in the Bible and in corrupt churches. And then I found Jung. And then I was given the gift of my Higher Power. And it all fell into place. I can’t remember the sequence of revelations but Joseph Campbell is certainly in there. Oh, and finding my way back to the monastery that had helped to mother me. With all this forming me, I now say “Amen” to both religious and atheist proclamations. I do this by translating religious language to a degree of symbolism deeper than most Christians can handle. The symbol of Christ, for instance. Jung teaches us

Catholic sex scandal

Posted September 15, 2009 Fr. Richard McBrien : . . . it is a relatively new development that the pope appoints all the bishops in the Roman Catholic church. For most of the history of the church, especially during the First Christian Millennium, the selection of bishops rested with the clergy and laity of each diocese, in keeping with Pope Leo the Great's dictum, "He who is to preside over all must be elected by all." “Today's common practice in which bishops move up a career ladder from a smaller diocese to a larger diocese, and from bishop to archbishop, was explicitly prohibited by the Council of Nicaea in 325 and again by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. A reform movement in the 11th century tried unsuccessfully to restore the ancient practice where the clergy and laity as well as the neighboring bishops played a key part in the selection process. This is “consent of the governed,” a principle of democracy. In today’s Church, suppression is tightening instead of

Deformed Catholic power

Power is the aphrodisiac, the hidden cause of this tragedy; everything else is symptom. Pat Marrin In analyzing what’s wrong with the Catholic Church , Marrin names power and another crucial ingredient: Isolation and lack of human affection, the absence of real friendship with both men and women . . . can produce trouble in a person. Loneliness, thwarted desire and a structure of obedience that renders a man impotent before his superiors to his own responsibility to choose his life at every stage, all of these dynamics can and do converge on a priest to force the question: Who am I? Who loves me? Why am I so angry and frustrated on the one hand, and so compulsive in my personal needs on the other? Compulsive celibacy is imposed on men who are divided from women and other men by a wall that proclaims their privileged position but really imprisons them in a shell/cell segregated from ordinary human decisions and growing experiences. No man ever came to terms with his sexuality, his spi