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The Lowdown On Joseph Ratzinger


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Hey Beach--


Personally I'm not too thrilled about this particular papal election, however, conservatives and traditionalists are probably very pleased. I'm holding it all in prayer.


Ratzinger is quite conservative, although during Vatican II in the 1960s he was known for his progressive views. Before becoming pope, he was head of the RCC's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that safeguards the official teachings of the church. In this post he has done things like: make recommendations to Catholic publishers to censure the works of Anthony De Mello, a respected Jesuit priest known for fostering east-west dialogue, call other Christian churches "deficient," claim homosexuality to be "an intrinsic evil," and try (unsuccessfully) to get rid of altar girls and liturgical dancing.


Some say that his choice of "Benedict" as his papal name harkens back to Saint Benedict, known to be a great listener -- and hope that it means his new role will encourage him to be a great listener to the needs of the church in the modern world. While only time will tell, we shouldn't expect him to make any changes in regards to women's roles in the church, contraception, priestly celibacy, etc. Since he is old (78), it may be that he will be a "caretaker" pope who simply holds things together for a few years as the church continues transitioning into the new millenium. Again, only time will tell.


Some media people are getting on his case for being a member of Hitler Youth when he was in high school -- but it's unfair to focus on this as his high school in Germany required all students to do this during World War II. His family intentionally distanced themselves from the Nazis. Still and all, he doesn't have much of a taste for interreligious dialogue, or for those who participate in interreligious dialogue.


So my mood is gloomy today.




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In this post he has done things like: make recommendations to Catholic publishers to censure the works of Anthony De Mello, a respected Jesuit priest known for fostering east-west dialogue


I heard about de Mello for the first time this year. In a dialogue group on bnet, a poster used to quote him all the time and I absolutely fell in love with him. I cannot believe that Ratzinger tried to have him censored! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because it seems that all my favorite Catholic writers have either been censored, threatened with censorship, or branded a heretic. LOL. :rolleyes: I don't suppose Ratzinger was involved in the censorship of Matt Fox? Do you have any de Mello books? Any recommendations?

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Since he is old (78), it may be that he will be a "caretaker" pope who simply holds things together for a few years as the church continues transitioning into the new millenium. Again, only time will tell.



This is exactly what my partner said yesterday.


Looking around on the net...it appears that many feel gloomy. Some of the people on the Pagan sites I frequent consider this disastrous, of course...though the hyperbole surrounding his "nazi youth" on these sights, and even panic that all Pagans may need to keep "low profiles" now is unfortunate.


We DO seem surrounded on all sides by a staunch conservatism now though, don't we? But if seen as a reaction against the rising tide of liberalism, its not at all surprising, and may even augur times of great change ahead. After all, one can only go so far to one side without ushering in the advent of the "other" side. It would seem to me that the Church of Rome would realize that their position would remain much more tenable in the long run if it was more moderate.


...anyway...I'm no expert on the papacy or politics...but these are my thoughts.




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It would seem to me that the Church of Rome would realize that their position would remain much more tenable in the long run if it was more moderate.


I'm not Catholic, but I doubt that their ultimate goal is to "remain tenable," but rather hold to what they believe is true. IOW, I don't think they are willing to bend on ideas that they think are unbendable, regardless of public opinion. As an aside, I'm not sure those of us outside an institution should expect them to. If we don't agree with their teaching or doctrine, we should find groups (or form them) where we do. Just my opinion. We vote with our feet.

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Pope Benedict XVI.

NBC News and news services

Updated: 9:02 p.m. ET April 19, 2005As a Roman Catholic cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI warned American voters against departing from church teaching at the ballot box, drew criticism from victims of clerical sex abuse and opposed married or women priests.




U.S. Catholics may come to admire the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for his intellect, spirituality and consistent support for the traditions of their faith — qualities he’s shown in 24 years as the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog agency.


But as with John Paul II, the majority of American Catholics seem certain to diverge from him on numerous policy issues.


“In America, he has many avid supporters, but many who are not so keen on the power he has wielded,” says Chester Gillis, theology chairman at Georgetown University. His elevation “is not going to be received unequivocally with great admiration by all American Catholics — no question about that.”


Anguish, joy and concern

The majority of American Catholics told pollsters in recent weeks that they favored married clergy and a greater voice for the laity in the church — and it was clear Tuesday that liberals were anguished, conservatives delighted and others wary about Ratzinger’s election.



Ric Francis / AP

Catholics pray Monday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, in anticipation of the naming of a new pope.


Mixed reactions


For American Catholics — often called “cafeteria Catholics” for picking and choosing appealing parts of the faith — the reaction to the new pontiff was mixed. In the words of one, this is not a step forward, but a step to the side.


BeachOfEden: Aaaahh.. I hate that term, "cafetria" approuch to faith..that's the same BS that the fundamental JW org always say <_<


As cardinal, Pope Benedict first blamed the scandal on the media.

Visiting the cathedral in Los Angeles, Mary Ellen Phillips of Michigan wanted a younger, more liberal pope. “I'm hoping that maybe there will be married priests, because we need them,” she said.

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Darby -- yes -- and there are many within the RCC who also vote with their feet by openly dissenting from official doctrine. I think it's important to differentiate the institution from the people themselves. I believe the people themselves, in all their variety of opinion, are the church. We recognize that its dogma and doctrine has changed over time, and will continue to do so, even if more slowly than we'd like.


Aletheia -- I have only read bits and snippets of de Mello so can't recommend any particular book by him. But Ratzinger does have a hand in many of the more recent censurings, although I can't say at the moment which specific ones. Hans Kung comes to mind -- they are definitely not buddies. I also read somewhere that there is an effort to keep Thomas Merton out of the revised Catholic catechism--something that Ratzinger had a hand in as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. If this happens, it would be a real shame.


Lily -- I think many would agree that the RCC should intentionally move toward moderation to remain tenable. And in fact, there are already suggestions that Ratzinger recognizes that his papacy could be very divisive and thus he may try to tone down his previous rhetoric. For example, he says that he wants to continue the ecumenical dialogue that JPII was known for. I find that hard to believe given some of the things he's said about other religions in the past, but will keep it in prayer.


Thanks, all, for your thoughts,


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Hi again -- Here's something from Rabbi Michael Lerner -- long but informative.


The Selection of Cardinal Ratzinger Is Bad News for the World and for the Jews


Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the world's largest circulation progressive Jewish magazine, TIKKUN, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in San Francisco, took the unusual step of criticizing the choice made by the Catholic Church for its new Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Lerner was careful to make clear that he was NOT speaking as leader of The Tikkun Community, the interfaith organization whch he co-chairs, which has NOT taken a stand on these issues, but only as editor of TIKKUN magazine. Moreover, Lerner started with the following: "I want to bless the New pope and pray that he transcends his views on gays, women, secularists, the lack of validity of other religious paths, etc. I also pray that all the good people in the Church who do not share his views and want to preserve the social justice orientation of Jesus' teachings will join with us in creating an interfaith Network of Progressive Spiritual Activism--now more than ever such a context both for secular and for progressive religious and spiritual peole is badly needed."


Rabbi Lerner issued the following statement: "Since the days in which he served in the Hitler Youth and Nazi army in Germany (apparently against his will, but nevertheless apparently absorbing the deep patriarchal and authoritarian character structure that the fascists did so much to foster in youth) to his role as the leader of the forces that suppressed the liberatory aspects of Vatican II and purged or silenced the Church of its most creative leadership (including German Catholic theologians Eugene Drewermann and Hans Kung, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, and several prominent American Catholic thinkers), to the present moment in which he is recognized as the leader most identified with the forces of reaction and suppression of dissent within the Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has distinguished himself as a man who can be counted on to side with the most anti-humane and repressive forces, in opposition to those who seek to give primacy to a world of peace and justice.


"Although normally Jews would welcome any choice of leadership by our sister religion, we have particular reason to comment on this choice.


"Jews have a powerful stake and commitment in ending global poverty and oppression. We fully well understand that in a world filled with pain and cruelty, the resulting anger is often channeled in racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic directions. Both as a matter of principle, based on our commitment to a prophetic vision, and as a matter of self-interest, Jews have disproportionately supported liberal and progressive social change movements seeking to end war and poverty.


"So it was with great distress that we watched as Cardinal Ratzinger led the Vatican in the past twenty-five years on a path that opposed providing birth control information to the poor of the world, thereby ensuring that AIDS would spread and kill millions in Africa.


"And we watched with even greater distress as this Cardinal supported efforts to involve the Church in distancing itself from political candidates or leaders who did not agree with the Church's teachings on abortion and gay rights, prioritizing these issues over whether that candidate agreed with the Church on issues of peace and social justice. As a result, Cardinal Ratzinger has led the Church away from its natural alliance with Jews in fighting for peace and social justice and toward a stance which in effect allies the Church with the most reactionary politicians whose policies are militaristic and offer a preferential option for the rich.


"We can't help noticing that under Cardinal Ratzinger's tutelage the Church began moves to elevate the infamous Pope Pius XII to the status of saint. Instead of repenting for the failure of the Church to give unequivocal messages telling all Catholics that they would be prevented from receiving communion for collaborating or cooperating in any way with Nazi rule, or for failing to hide and protect Jews who were marked for extermination, Ratzinger has sought to whitewash this disgraceful moment in Church history. Many Jews are outraged at a Church that denies communion to those who have remarried or those who oppose making abortion illegal but that did not similarly deny communion to those who participate in crimes against humanity.


"In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger publicly praised the fascist movement in the Church known as Opus Dei and supported canonization of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, an open fascist who served in the government of Spain's dictator Franco, and who publicly praised Hitler.


" While many of us agree with Ratzinger's critique of moral relativism, he extends that critique in illegitimate and dangerous ways, equating secularism with moral relativism and suggesting that secularism is now repressing religion. Since many, many Jews are secular, we have much concern about the way that this assault can quickly turn in anti-Semtiic directions (some of us remember the Nazi-supporting priest Father Coughlin of the 1930s whose US radio show always insisted that he was only agaisnt the secular Jews and hence wasn't "really" anti-Semitic). But whether or not he turns against Jews, those of us who are religious Jews or people of faith in other religions should rally against the attempt to demean all secular people and blame on them the problems of selfishness actually rooted in the dynamics of the the global capitalist market.


Ratzinger also publicly critiques all those inside the Church who are tolerant enough to think that other religions may have equal validity as a path to God. This is a slippery slope toward anti-Semitism and a return to the chauvinistic and triumphalist views that led the Church, when it had the power to do so, to develop its infamous crusades and inquisitions.


In 1997 Ratzinger said that Europeans attracted to Buddhism were actually seeking an "autoerotic spirituality" that offers "transcendence without imposing concrete religious obligations." Hindusim, he said, offers "false hope," in that it guarantees "purification" based on a "morally cruel" concept of reincarnation resembling "a continuous circle of hell." At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger predicted that Buddhism would replace Marxism as the Catholic church's main enemy.


"Ratzinger is being falsely described as a conservative, when in fact he, despite his publicly genteel manner, is a raging reactionary. Unlike many American conservatives who oppose gay sexual practices but not their legal rights, Ratzinger in 1992 argued against human rights for gays, stressing that their civil liberties could be "legitimately limited."


"Those of us in the Jewish world who have enormous respect for Christianity and for the wisdom and beauty of the Catholic tradition are in mourning today that the Church has confirmed for itself a destructive direction that will hurt not only Catholics but all those who seek peace and justice in the world.


"We remain hopeful that the new pope may return to his original more progressive positions (pre-1968) and realize that the world needs a church that can respond compassionately and wisely to what is needed rather than remain wedded to dogma that is so destructive. In a statement that Ratzinger made a few years ago, he seemed deeply aligned with TIKKUN's ciritque of the selfishness and materialism of the contemporary world. We hope that he stops blaming that on secularists and comes to understand that secularists too, as well as people from other faiths, can be allies in the struggle for a new ethos of love and generosity. We pray that he may find a way to bring a better, kinder, more loving and compassionate agenda to the Catholic Church.


It is precisely because we continue to feel allied with the Church and see it as an important ally in the struggle for social justice and peace that we are so dismayed at this misdirection. Meanwhile, we reaffirm our solidarity with the many millions of Catholics who had hoped for a very different kind of Pope who would make the Church more open to women's leadership, to prioritizing social justice, to rethinking its opposition to promoting birth control, and to returning to the hopeful spirit of Vatican II. We can say publicly what many of you can only say privately-that this new Pope does not represent what is most beautiful and sacred in the teachings of Jesus."


Late this evening, Rabbi Lerner was interviewed on a national call-in radio show on the issues discussed here, and he mentioned the problem that Catholics have of speaking out on these issues, given Cardinal Ratzinger's tendency to take retributive actions to purge from positions in the church those who disagreed with his views. A retired catholic priest called in, said he agreed 100% with Rabbi Lerner's position, and said that he wouldn't dare say these things under his own name for fear that his retirement pension would be cut off, so he thanked Rabbi Lerner for saying for progressive Catholics what many do not dare say for themselves.



Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of TIKKUN and author of ten books, including Healing Israel/Palestine (North Atlantic Books, 2003) and Jewish Renewal (Harper Perennial, 1995).



Meanwhile, we invite our Catholic brothers and sisters, and people of all faiths, and spiritually-sensitive secular people, to join with us in creating a voice for spiritually or religiously committed progressives--by helping us create The Network of Progressive Spiritual Activism, at our founding conference on Spiritual Activism, July 20-23 at the University of California, Berkeley. For more details, go to www.tikkun.org and REGISTER NOW. More than ever, this alternative voice is so badly needed!

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And here's more from Beliefnet...


Why Liberals Are Disguisted With Cardinal Ratzinger



German Inquisition meister. Prince of the New Dark Ages. Torquemada of the 21st century. God's Rottweiler. And Pope.



By Deborah Caldwell



Since 1981, Ratzinger has served as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—the Vatican department once called the Office of Inquisition. In that job Ratzinger maintained strict discipline on church doctrine, excommunicating and silencing dissenters. He's been the driving force behind the Vatican's crackdowns on liberation theology, religious pluralism, challenges to issues such as homosexuality, and dissent on women's ordination.


Conservatives are thrilled.


Yet the the idea of a "Papa Ratzinger" makes many other American Catholics cringe, particularly Progressives who see a Ratzinger papacy in apocalyptic terms. "What this says to American Catholics is quite striking: it's not just a disagreement, it's a full-scale assault," writes Andrew Sullivan. "There is simply no other figure more extreme than the new Pope on the issues that divide the Church. No one."


Beliefnet members also weighed in: "I am so terrified for the future of the church. I'll just have to wait and see with the rest, but this makes me as black as can be."


There are also accusations afloat that Ratzinger was a Nazi. (In fact, he was a reluctant member of the Hitler Youth.)


Why are liberals diguisted him so? Here are some reasons:



1. When he arrived at the Vatican in 1981, he first turned his attention to "liberation theology" popular in Latin America, ordering the one-year silencing in 1985 of Brazilian friar Leonardo Boff, whose writings were attacked for using Marxist ideas.


2. In 1986 he issued a denunciation of homosexuality and gay marriage, calling it an "intrinsic moral evil."


3. In the 1990s he brought pressure against theologians, mostly in Asia, who saw non-Christian religions as part of God's plan for humanity.


4. In 1998, Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minn., destroyed 1,300 copies of 'Women at the Altar' on orders from Ratzinger due to objection of book's encouragement of women as Catholic priests.


5. In 2000, his office issued Dominus Iesus, aimed at restating the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church against the more inclusive views in Asia. The document seemed to brand non-Catholic Christian denominations as deficient, leading to an outcry among liberal Catholics and many Protestants.


6. In 2002, he excommunicated seven women who underwent an illegal ordination ceremony.


7. In a 2004 document he denounced "radical feminism" as an ideology that undermined the family and obscured the natural differences between men and women.


8. Last summer, he told American bishops that Communion must be denied to Catholic politicians who support legal abortion. While never mentioning Sen. John Kerry by name, the memo implicitly aimed at the pro-choice Catholic presidential candidate.


So on Tuesday, when Pope Benedict came to the window at St. Peter's Square after the announcement, many interpreted the less-than fulsome response in St. Peter's Square—at least, compared to that of John Paul II--as muted shock. He clasped his hands and smiled--barely. Warm applause followed but was not sustained.


Why would the cardinals pick this guy—and so quickly? Why not go with a friendly Italian, or a trendy African or Latin American, as many people had speculated? Father Charles Curran, one of the theologians silenced by then-Cardinal Ratzinger for questioning church doctrine on contraception, homosexuality, and divorce, said Pope Benedict is "obviously just an interim."


Curran, who now teaches Christian ethics at Southern Methodist University after he was forced to leave Catholic University in 1986, says "many people in the Catholic Church were overly optimistic. There were expectations that were very unrealistic." And, Curran argues, it's not as if any new pope would have waved a wand and made the changes—optional celibate priesthood, relaxation of rules on divorce, permission to use birth control, for instance--that Progressive Americans want.


Naturally, conservative Catholics are thrilled with the choice; they can now relax, content that the church will remain relatively unchanged for the foreseeable future.


In his Monday homily before the opening of the conclave Pope Benedict said: "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism.."




All is not happiness between Ratzinger and Protestants, however. The Rev. Ted Haggard, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, has major concerns. "This new pope is known as the guardian of the church's doctrine," he says. "And of course we evangelicals are Protestants, so we celebrate areas where the Catholic Church upholds Bible-based doctrine--but our reservation is with the Catholic theologies that aren't Bible-based."



Chief among those theologies for many Protestants was Dominus Iesus, ("Jesus is Lord") issued by Ratzinger's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document caused immediate controversy among many Protestants because it declared that Christianity "subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."


Ratzinger defended the document, countering that it restated the traditional Catholic position that Christ's church is a visible entity, in contrast with the Protestant position that it is an invisible ideal in which communities of believers participate.


Bishop John Shelby Spong, the liberal author and retired leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark was so angry at the way Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger behaved toward theologian Hans Kung—a rising star theologian whom they exiled in 1979—that Spong publicly broke off relations with the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, then headed by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Soon after, Spong retaliated further by inviting Kung—whose sin was to question the idea of papal infallibility--to speak in his diocese.


Today, McCarrick is the Cardinal of Washington—one of the men who sat in the Sistine Chapel conclave that elected Joseph Ratzinger the new pope. Spong is retired, though still a popular and influential author. He's still annoyed with conservatives. And he still keeps a picture of Hans Kung on his desk.




Deborah Caldwell is Senior Editor and National Correspondent at Beliefnet.

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It would seem to me that the Church of Rome would realize that their position would remain much more tenable in the long run if it was more moderate.


Perhaps not. Intuition tells me that if a pope passionately guided the church back to a strict, extremely traditional (orthodox, I suppose) Catholicism that it might just invigorate the struggling church. Moderation hasn't helped the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Episcopalians, has it? Over all, conservative churches are the ones with energy and growth. In an increasingly complex world, people are looking for a rock to stand on, even if they are getting beat over the head with it from time to time.

Edited by fatherman
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People are strange..they want someone else to think for them. Many would perfer an abusive spouse to none at all..and weirdly and think many apply the same views on belonging to a religious group. I think the logical idea is sooner or later the Progressive UMCs, Presbyterians will have to break off from their roots combined together and start a new non-denominational and contemporary Progressive church and that the progressive Catholics, Pro Lutherns and Episcoplains should do the same.


Cause like someone here said, the older people have the money and they rule all these churches, both Protestants and Catholic,ect alike..and they tolerate us Progressives and liberals..(sometimes just barley) but we'd like to be more than just tolerated..we'd like to be accepted..and I think that's why we all need to break away from our conservative roots and form our own churches....

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I think the logical idea is sooner or later the Progressive UMCs, Presbyterians will have to break off from their roots combined together and start a new non-denominational and contemporary Progressive church and that the progressive Catholics, Pro Lutherns and Episcoplains should do the same.


Just curious: Why do you think the Lutherans should or would combine with Catholics? You've said it a couple of times and each time it's made me stop and wonder why?

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I say this because Lutherns, Episcopains and Catholics have said themselves that their rituals are very much alike and thus is why they say that if Catholic was/is too fundamental for them or if their Luthern Church was/is..they say Episcopalains is enough like the rituals they are acostumed to. Inlight of this, it makes sense to me that the liberals/progressives of these '3' faith groups combine and that the '3' non-ritual Protestant churches Progressive/liberal UMC and Presbyterians combine.


Cause some people who are Progressive/Liberal still like ritual just not the fundamentalism attatched to it..and then others like UMC and Presbyterians don;t like ritual. Some find ritual inspiring and others find it boring...so different strokes for different folks.

Edited by BeachOfEden
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Hmmmm. I never knew Lutherans used ritual. Is Lutheran ritual liturgical like Catholic and Episcopalian ritual? Anybody?


The only thing I know (think I know?) about Lutherans, is well, "Luther", who broke away from the Catholic church. So in my mind Lutherans and Catholics would be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Episcopalians, trying to keep the best of both Catholicism and Protestantism, would be in the middle.


But like I said, I really don't know anything about the Lutheran church. I have an online acquaintance who is Lutheran. Perhaps I shall throw the ritual question at him. :)

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Aletheia -- Yes, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Catholic liturgy are quite similar. I've been to all three of these kinds of churches, and if one is not very familiar with them, it would be difficult to tell them apart . . .


Beach -- Many of us progressives prefer to stay with our home denominations because we are working to change things from within the tradition. (For example: Jesus did not set out to start a new church -- he remained a Jew and a rabbi who worked for change within his own faith. Of course, another tradition developed from that, which is wonderful. But my point is that some of us find that our path remains in our home denomination, even as we dissent from it.)


Catholicism has nourished me, nurtured me, made me who I am today -- (which, imo, means it can't be all that bad . . . ;) ). As a daughter of the Catholic Church, I recognize that my motley family is a bit crazy, wounded, in pain, and needs my support. I know that some of my family has left because they got badly hurt by some of my misguided brothers and sisters -- if that is what they need to do to survive or to love God, then I bid them a fond farewell with great love -- and continue to have a friendship with them. But I have had the fortune, the blessing, the grace, to have been met with great love and compassion by something within Catholicism. So I stay here and work to bring more of that love out into the world -- to other Catholics, to other Christians, to non-Christians, to agnostics and secularists (like my husband). I do this not because I believe everyone should be Catholic, but because I want to be a part of that compassionate flow that God has generated within me through the medium of Catholicism -- that same flow coming from that same source that exists in all the world's great wisdom traditions.


Another analogy: Staying within your denominational tradition is also kind of like being an American while people like George Bush are president. Some people have decided to move to Canada rather than remain in a country that would have him as president. That's certainly understandable. But me, I feel like: I was born here. This is my country; it is a part of who I am; and I love it. George Bush is a part of it, but he doesn't represent its totality. I will stay here because my country and my fellow/sister Americans may need me more than ever now. . .




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(For example: Jesus did not set out to start a new church -- he remained a Jew and a rabbi who worked for change within his own faith. Of course, another tradition developed from that, which is wonderful


I have to disagree, Curly. I don't think Jesus just set out to change the Jewish faith, and the new tradition didn't just sort of devolop from that. He talked about believers no longer having to fulfill the law. He talked about the New covenant in His blood. He made Himself, as the Jews charged, "equal with God." This was radical stuff, completely against traditional Jewish teaching. He did much more than just make changes in his own faith.


I think He most definitely set out to start a whole new movement.


On another note, Curly, I understand and appreciate your desire to "work from within." OTOH, I question many in the public today who said the CC or the new Pope needed to "moderate." Why does the CC, or any group, need to change because many of it's followers, or outsiders, say it should?


For example, TCPC or Unity Church were founded on certain principles. If I, on the outside, called for them to "moderate" because much of America is conservative, that would be wrong. Even if those in TCPC/Unity began becoming more conservative, would they be correct in expecting their group to "moderate" to meet the changing views? I don't think so.

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On another note, Curly, I understand and appreciate your desire to "work from within."  OTOH, I question many in the public today who said the CC or the new Pope needed to "moderate."  Why does the CC, or any group, need to change because many of it's followers, or outsiders, say it should?


Since the Catholic church doesn't define itself as solely fundamentalist, conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive, I think that people might desire moderation because it helps avoid the excesses of the extremes at either end. Moderation also might be seen as something that serves as a better "container" for a group of folks with such a wide variety of political persuasions. It tends toward tolerance. (We liberals and progressives like to think that we are tolerant, but I've seen how we can be pretty intolerant of conservatives . . .).


Back to Jesus -- In Matthew 5:17, here are Jesus's words: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."


Ciao for now,


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What is "church"?


Is "church" the bishops, cardinals, popes, elders or priests? Or is "church" the masses, the faithfull, the pew-fillers or the tithing-givers?


Or is church BOTH?


And if it is both, then shouldn't the adherants that sit in the pews have input too?

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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I see your point, curlytop, in observation of many conversations on the web/beliefnet and have heard from many individuals from Catholic backgrounds as well as Southern Baptists, JW and Mormon who deeply desire that there be a Progressive alternative to each of these faith backgrounds..and I do understand. There DOES seem to be a Liberal Catholic Church and Liberal Baptist churches and even a Liberal Mormon church...and I don;t know if these alternatives meets the desires of these Progressives...it would be interesting to ask and see...but I realize many feel they are Progressive but there churches are NOT and that is why the web is a blessing. I have created a MySpace group for Liberal catholics so that they may simply have a place to talk..since I noted there really is not one. I also made one for Progressive Christians who are XSouthern Baptists and well as another one for Progressive christians who came from JW background.


BTW, any of you ever remebering watching that progressive show a few years back called "Nothing Sacred"? It was GREAT! :) It was about this young liberal Catholic priest and a liberal catholic young nun who were Progressive minded but the church leadership and bishops were constantly ruining their progressive efforts. One episode, which was my favorite was one in which the young liberal Catholic nun runs across a childhood friend. in conversation the nun's friend excitedly explains how she had become ordained as a minister in the Episcopalian church. The Catholic nun is glad for her friend but this also inspires annoyance towards her own Catholic faith that forbids her to preach. She voices this to her friend and he friend suggests she come give a sermon at her liberal church. The Catholic gal smiles and thanks her but politely passes on the offer stating that she felt she would simply wait and hope for changed in her own church. My best friend, a gay guy and a JW ( I did not know he was gay then and either did he)was watching this with me and I voiced my annoyance with the Catholic nun's decision and that i thought she was wind-fell dreaming that her church would simply comes to its senses and chance. At this, my friend became annoyed at my opinion and sided with the Catholic nun, basically exaplianing he, being like the nun in this story, was also waiting and hoping our JW faith we were riased in would come to its senses and stop being sexist to women and become more liberal.

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" Since the Catholic church doesn't define itself as solely fundamentalist, conservative, moderate, liberal, or progressive, I think that people might desire moderation because it helps avoid the excesses of the extremes at either end."


Whether they like it or not. The Pope is the speaker for The Catholic church and he, in his own words has made it quite clear that believes Catholicsm IS conservative and fundamental and he voiced that he iS very much against any reform leaning in a liberal direction.


It like this....Billy Graham has been crowned (figuritively ..that is) as the spokesman for evangelical Protestantism. He belives in the rapture and believe that everyone must choose Christ now or be eternally lost. Now, granted there could be many Protestants who embrace the term "Evangelical" but..like it or not..unless they voice that they DO NOT concure with Graham's views..all will asume that they AGREE with Graham on all these points.


Another example..I have come to know a number of JW individuals who embaced the restored earth belief and the non-trinity belief held by JW...but...they voice..at least in private that they do NOT agree with the JW organization's stated views on forbidding women to be elders (pastors) or their views agaibst birthday celebrations or against voting or the view that all non-JWs will not be saved. But they will NOT voice these views publically..for the same reasons that the Progressive Catholic will not publically voice disagreement with the Pope or how the Liberal Evangelical with not publically voice disagreement with Billy graham...cause none of these want to be labled "UnChristian" by the leadres of their faith group.


Personally, myself I don;t give a damn if my former JW /too liberal/New Age. If I cared I'd by in the organization bending over backwards to kiss their @#$ in order to oppese them.

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I hope that this is not too over the top...but are any of you familiar with the prophecies of Edgar Cayce? According to these prophecies there will be a Pope for short duration after Pope John Paul and then ONLY one more.


I heard this on another site and did a brief search on it and it does appear to be true information. Are any of you familiar with this?



"St. Malachy, (d. 1148) Irish Bishop and Seer, produced an accurate list of future popes which began with Pope Celestine II in the year 1143. His list consists of a single line which gives a clue to the characteristics of each pope. From this list of 112 popes there are to be just 2 more after Pope John Paul II who passed away on 2 April 2005. His predictions regarding the popes have been for the most part pretty accurate regarding the identifying characteristics that each line reveals. St. Malachy doesn't give any predictions or information about what happens after the last pope. According to some other seers, we will have arrived at the end times."


Okay, this is what I found and it doesn't seem to be a Cayce prophecy but a prophecy of St. Malachy (whoever that is :unsure: )


...something to make you go "hmmm"




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