Ratzinger/Pope Benedict’s Destructive Legacy: Two Catholic Theologians Speak Out and Call Christians to Action to Save Christianity

February 12, 2013

In saying that the two pieces below are from Catholic theologians, we in the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives are insisting that Catholicism is more than what the Vatican says it is. The Church is what the Vatican II said it is: “the community of the people of God.”

Former Catholic priest  Matthew Fox  made one of the most significant contributions to Catholic thought in his book Original Blessing and in the techno-mass he developed at the University of Creation Spirituality which he developed after having been silenced by Cardinal Ratzinger. His newest book, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, details much of what he summarizes below. Fox is a member of the Advisory Board of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives (www.spiirtualprogressives.org) and his writings have often appeared in Tikkun.

Andrew Harvey is a Christian mystic best known for his books, including : *Mary’s Vineyard: Daily Meditations, Readings, and Revelations. with Eryk Hanut. Queest books. *Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998  *The Return of the Mother, 2000 *A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism, 2000. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000  *The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Hay House, 2009.

As is always the case with perspectives printed in Tikkun (the print magazine)  or in our on-line magazinewww.tikkun.org or in our blog Tikkun Daily, the views expressed here do not necessarily coincide with those of the editors or members of our editorial board or members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. But it will provide a needed alternative to the largely uncritical thinking being done by the media, and hopefully will generate a larger discussion. Your views are welcome as long as when you send them you realize you are thereby giving us permission to print them–you can send your perspective directly to me RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com. Please feel free to forward this to everyone you know, post it on your websites and social media, etc–as long as you creditTikkun magazine’s action and education arm, The (interfaith) Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org

Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy

by Matthew Fox

It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the pope has chosen to step down, the first pope in 7 centuries to do so.  What he and his predecessor wrought to the Catholic Church as we know it is nothing short of devastation.  But as a Christian I see their 42 year reign as so destroying the church we know that now the Holy Spirit can give birth to a community far more attuned to the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus than the current and dying structures ever could be.  Those structures are as passe as the Berlin Wall.

Thinking of Benedict the man, I think this was a very wise decision indeed for before he “meets his Maker” he surely has a lot of soul work to accomplish.  Below is a short list of some of the issues history will hold him accountable for both as cardinal and as pope.  Were I his confessor, I would start work on them very soon.  (Since this is a list, I offer page numbers of my study on his life and papacy to see the back up evidence.)

  1. His silence for years about the notorious pedophile priest Father Maciel who was so close to Pope John Paul II that he was invited on his plane often and was feted to a mass ordination of his seminarians by the pope in St Peter’s Square.  This man, who sexually abused dozens of his seminarians and had two wives on the side and sexually abused his own children (though a priest with vows of celibacy), was not fully investigated until 2005 even though a New York bishop wrote Ratzinger’s office in 1995.  (125-130)
  2. His and the previous pope’s unwillingness to divorce themselves from the politics of Father Maciel who was a great admirers of the blood-soaked dictator Pinochet in Chile.
  3.  His attacks when head of the CDF (formerly “Office of the Holy Inquisition”) on theologians the world over who dared to do their job which is to think.  He denounced, fired, hounded, at least 105 theologians not only from his chair of CDF but also as pope (they are listed on page 238-241 of my book The Pope’s War ).
  4. He and his predecessor brought back the Inquisition and in fact killed theology, reducing it to 1) a catechism and 2) Saying Yes to whatever the pope (or his curia) said.
  5. His unrelenting attacks on base communities and Liberation Theology (thus fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s plans to “split the church” in Latin America) even though this movement, like the civil rights movement of the U.S., was the most Christ-like movement for democracy and justice and freedom in centuries.  One side light of these attacks has been a void of genuine Christianity in Latin America, a void being filled by Pentecostal (and right wing political) churches there. (pp. 41-62)
  6. His (and the previous pope’s) complete pushing of neo-fascist sects as the new “religious order” and shock troops of the pope beginning with the secret “Opus Dei” which is embedded in places of great power including cardinals and bishops all over the world and also financial headquarters of EU, the US Supreme Court, the CIA (especially under George Bush the first), FBI, and the US mainstream media. (pp. 106-124)
  7. His and the previous pope’s rushing the founder of Opus Dei, Fr. Escriva, a card-carrying fascist who actually praised Hitler, into canonization faster than any saint in history (and destroying the age-old process of canonization in the process by eliminating the “devil’s advocate’s” role which is to bring up the shadow side of the candidate). Books by former Opus Dei members include his personal secretary of 7 years were completely ignored and their testimony was never asked for.
  8. The cover-up of pedophile clergy in the US, in Ireland and elsewhere.  The recent HBO film tells the facts about some of these horrors and how the buck stopped with Ratzinger.  All the cover up put an Institution ahead of the rights of young children (see Jesus on this in        ). (pp. 134-174)
  9. His and the previous pope’s putting wind in the sails of extreme right wing groups from Maciel’s Legion of Christ to Communion and Liberation to Opus Dei and their support of zealots such as neo con and theo con George Weigel. (pp. 130-144)
  10. The end of religious ecumenism.  Ratzinger as pope managed to insult Islam; Judaism; all Protestant churches (he says they are not churches); also as cardinal Thich Naht Hahn (whom the Vatican called “the anti-Christ”) and yoga—wrote Ratzinger—Christians should not do it because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.”
  11. The dumbing down of the church not only by condemning thinkers but by appointing  Bishops and cardinals world-wide whose only qualification for the job is to be a loyal Yes man, thus the loading down of church decision makers for generations who don’t have a conscience, an intellect or a clue about the spiritual needs of people.
  12. A complete reaffirmation of a “morality” of Sexism (no women priests ever; Catholic sisters in America are now subject to investigations like theologians have been); and of  Homophobia—Ratzinger composed not one but two documents as head of CDF that were mean-spirited and spiteful about gay persons and ignored scientific research even as pope that has created another Galileo moment in church history.  He stuck by his “no condoms even in an age of AIDS” position that is all about St Augustine’s silly sexual ethic and not anything Jesus ever taught.  Even birth control in a time of excessive human population on a crowded planet remains, in his rigid world view, the law of the church and any theologian (or bishop) who questions such matters is suspect.
  13. [A side note from Fox]: A. The translator of my book “The Pope’s War” into German wrote me that she cried many times translating the book because her generation was promised “no more fascism.” Yet, she said, my book proved that fascism was back in the church and “especially the German and Polish wings of the church. Susan Sontag defines fascism as “institutionalized violence”–there has been tons of that in the past two papacies from condemnation of theologians to support of pedophile priests to hounding of Catholic sisters living norms of Gospel peace and justice. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as “the marriage of corporations and government.”  The United Citizens decision happened in the Supreme Court by votes of five Roman Catholic judges, four of them very conservative Catholics (and probably three Opus Dei Catholics).  Declaring corporations “persons”–is anything more fascist than that? Fascism is a commitment to obedience ahead of all other virtues (including justice).  It is always patriarchal and anti-women.  Yes, sad to say, it has returned.  And Ratzinger was its drum major.
  14. The interference in the presidential election of 2004 wherein Ratzinger instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” (i.e. Kerry) who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion.  The result was three states had very unusual Republican votes from Catholics—if just one of them had had more normal Catholic vote, Kerry, not Bush, would have been president.

With such a trail of devastation as this, Father Ratzinger, ex-pope and ex-Inquisitor, is right to retire.  Hopefully, beginning in this time of Lent, he will do some soul searching and asking for forgiveness.  Unfortunately, because he and his predecessor appointed only Yes Men as cardinals, one should not expect any improvement in the next pope.  Instead we should recognize that history has passed the papacy by and that now is the time for the Holy Spirit to push the restart button on Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant versions, so as to strip down to the essence of Jesus’ teaching and the Cosmic Christ tradition.

Toward this end, Andrew Harvey and myself are starting up a series of “Christ Path” seminars available on line or in person (see info@christpathseminar.org)  This restart of Christianity can be done without basilicas on our backs but mere backpacks.  Travel lightly.  Walk humbly.  Do justice.  And peace will follow.

Ratzinger’s retirement and his fifty years of reactionary religion shed the spotlight on the need for a profound re-start of Christianity–not only its Catholic wing but its Protestant wings as well.  I [ Matthew Fox] have written about that in my recent books, A New Reformation and The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved.

Now Andrew Harvey and I are teaming up (with another thinker who will join us at each event) for a series of “Initiations” that we call the “Christ Path Seminars.”  

They are weekends, four per year; the first meets March 8 to 10; you can attend in person or on line.  We are offering the whole thing as a ‘gift economy,’ that is you can join us for only $50 for the entire weekend (though we will ask for donations afterwards to help pay expenses).  For more info see: info@christpathseminar.org.

Following is a rationale for our project from Andrew Harvey. 

In a sane world – which of course this isn’t – Ratzinger would be hauled before a World Court and arraigned as a criminal whose whole life has been an attack on fundamental human rights. This is a time in which the masks have been stripped from the face of all forms of patriarchal power to reveal the nasty and cruel face beneath.

If we miss the meaning of this stripping away in our desperate need for false certainties and in our addiction to learned helplessness and blind reverence for dying and lethal forms of authority, we will miss the central challenge of our time as Christians. That is, to reinvent a Christianity that blazes with the sacred passion of Jesus for the realization of the truth of justice and universal compassion on every level and in every realm of the world.

Jesus is the supreme revolutionary of love in human history, and his message continues to call us all to the sacrifice of our personal interests to the dangerous creation of radical new forms and ways of protest and social and political transformation.

The adventure that Matthew Fox and I are co-creating in the Christ Path Seminar is not some kind of theological luxury but an absolute necessity. As a series of initiatory workshops, building a beloved community, its vision is to restore the truth of the Christian message and the rousing of…to rousemillions to start acting from sacred love and sacred outrage….and ultimately to change all the existing political, economic, social, sexual and psychological systems that keep us addicted to greed and narcissistically paralyzed before the growing devastation of this planet.

The fall of Ratzinger should make it clear now that the time for this adventure has arrived and that speaking truth to power of all kinds, while it may not work immediately, over time has an extraordinary effect.

I hope as many of you as are awakening to the danger and possibility of our times can join us – because the reinvention of Christianity cannot be done by just a few people. , but It has to be a co-creation in with the Holy Spirit of by all those agonized, inspired and brave enough to follow the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25, and the great mystics of the Cosmic Christ into a vision of the glory of the creation, and the sanctity of all life…a co-creation spurred by and the necessity of creating systems that honor and protect that glory and sanctity with the full force of justice and compassion and radical action.

Every day we do not undertake this great alchemical transformation is a day that takes us closer to potential extinction of the human race and a great deal of nature. Let us realize this without illusion, and let us together reconsecrate ourselves to the dangerous life of love in action and prophetic passion and compassion that costs everything and gives everything.

In saying that the two pieces below are from Catholic theologians, we in the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives are insisting that Catholicism is more than what the Vatican says it is. The Church is what the Vatican II said it is: “the community of the people of God.”

Former Catholic priest  Matthew Fox  made one of the most significant contributions to Catholic thought in his book Original Blessing and in the techno-mass he developed at the University of Creation Spirituality which he developed after having been silenced by Cardinal Ratzinger. His newest book, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, details much of what he summarizes below. Fox is a member of the Advisory Board of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives (www.spiirtualprogressives.org) and his writings have often appeared in Tikkun.

Andrew Harvey is a Christian mystic best known for his books, including : *Mary’s Vineyard: Daily Meditations, Readings, and Revelations. with Eryk Hanut. Queest books. *Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, J.P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1998  *The Return of the Mother, 2000 *A Journey in Ladakh: Encounters with Buddhism, 2000. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000  *The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Hay House, 2009.

As is always the case with perspectives printed in Tikkun (the print magazine)  or in our on-line magazine www.tikkun.org or in our blog Tikkun Daily, the views expressed here do not necessarily coincide with those of the editors or members of our editorial board or members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. But it will provide a needed alternative to the largely uncritical thinking being done by the media, and hopefully will generate a larger discussion. Your views are welcome as long as when you send them you realize you are thereby giving us permission to print them–you can send your perspective directly to me RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com. Please feel free to forward this to everyone you know, post it on your websites and social media, etc–as long as you credit Tikkun magazine’s action and education arm, The (interfaith) Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org

Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy

by Matthew Fox

It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the pope has chosen to step down, the first pope in 7 centuries to do so.  What he and his predecessor wrought to the Catholic Church as we know it is nothing short of devastation.  But as a Christian I see their 42 year reign as so destroying the church we know that now the Holy Spirit can give birth to a community far more attuned to the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus than the current and dying structures ever could be.  Those structures are as passe as the Berlin Wall.

Thinking of Benedict the man, I think this was a very wise decision indeed for before he “meets his Maker” he surely has a lot of soul work to accomplish.  Below is a short list of some of the issues history will hold him accountable for both as cardinal and as pope.  Were I his confessor, I would start work on them very soon.  (Since this is a list, I offer page numbers of my study on his life and papacy to see the back up evidence.)

  1. His silence for years about the notorious pedophile priest Father Maciel who was so close to Pope John Paul II that he was invited on his plane often and was feted to a mass ordination of his seminarians by the pope in St Peter’s Square.  This man, who sexually abused dozens of his seminarians and had two wives on the side and sexually abused his own children (though a priest with vows of celibacy), was not fully investigated until 2005 even though a New York bishop wrote Ratzinger’s office in 1995.  (125-130)
  2. His and the previous pope’s unwillingness to divorce themselves from the politics of Father Maciel who was a great admirers of the blood-soaked dictator Pinochet in Chile.
  3.  His attacks when head of the CDF (formerly “Office of the Holy Inquisition”) on theologians the world over who dared to do their job which is to think.  He denounced, fired, hounded, at least 105 theologians not only from his chair of CDF but also as pope (they are listed on page 238-241 of my book The Pope’s War ).
  4. He and his predecessor brought back the Inquisition and in fact killed theology, reducing it to 1) a catechism and 2) Saying Yes to whatever the pope (or his curia) said.
  5. His unrelenting attacks on base communities and Liberation Theology (thus fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s plans to “split the church” in Latin America) even though this movement, like the civil rights movement of the U.S., was the most Christ-like movement for democracy and justice and freedom in centuries.  One side light of these attacks has been a void of genuine Christianity in Latin America, a void being filled by Pentecostal (and right wing political) churches there. (pp. 41-62)
  6. His (and the previous pope’s) complete pushing of neo-fascist sects as the new “religious order” and shock troops of the pope beginning with the secret “Opus Dei” which is embedded in places of great power including cardinals and bishops all over the world and also financial headquarters of EU, the US Supreme Court, the CIA (especially under George Bush the first), FBI, and the US mainstream media. (pp. 106-124)
  7. His and the previous pope’s rushing the founder of Opus Dei, Fr. Escriva, a card-carrying fascist who actually praised Hitler, into canonization faster than any saint in history (and destroying the age-old process of canonization in the process by eliminating the “devil’s advocate’s” role which is to bring up the shadow side of the candidate). Books by former Opus Dei members include his personal secretary of 7 years were completely ignored and their testimony was never asked for.
  8. The cover-up of pedophile clergy in the US, in Ireland and elsewhere.  The recent HBO film tells the facts about some of these horrors and how the buck stopped with Ratzinger.  All the cover up put an Institution ahead of the rights of young children (see Jesus on this in        ). (pp. 134-174)
  9. His and the previous pope’s putting wind in the sails of extreme right wing groups from Maciel’s Legion of Christ to Communion and Liberation to Opus Dei and their support of zealots such as neo con and theo con George Weigel. (pp. 130-144)
  10. The end of religious ecumenism.  Ratzinger as pope managed to insult Islam; Judaism; all Protestant churches (he says they are not churches); also as cardinal Thich Naht Hahn (whom the Vatican called “the anti-Christ”) and yoga—wrote Ratzinger—Christians should not do it because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.”
  11. The dumbing down of the church not only by condemning thinkers but by appointing  Bishops and cardinals world-wide whose only qualification for the job is to be a loyal Yes man, thus the loading down of church decision makers for generations who don’t have a conscience, an intellect or a clue about the spiritual needs of people.
  12. A complete reaffirmation of a “morality” of Sexism (no women priests ever; Catholic sisters in America are now subject to investigations like theologians have been); and of  Homophobia—Ratzinger composed not one but two documents as head of CDF that were mean-spirited and spiteful about gay persons and ignored scientific research even as pope that has created another Galileo moment in church history.  He stuck by his “no condoms even in an age of AIDS” position that is all about St Augustine’s silly sexual ethic and not anything Jesus ever taught.  Even birth control in a time of excessive human population on a crowded planet remains, in his rigid world view, the law of the church and any theologian (or bishop) who questions such matters is suspect.
  13. [A side note from Fox]: A. The translator of my book “The Pope’s War” into German wrote me that she cried many times translating the book because her generation was promised “no more fascism.” Yet, she said, my book proved that fascism was back in the church and “especially the German and Polish wings of the church. Susan Sontag defines fascism as “institutionalized violence”–there has been tons of that in the past two papacies from condemnation of theologians to support of pedophile priests to hounding of Catholic sisters living norms of Gospel peace and justice. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as “the marriage of corporations and government.”  The United Citizens decision happened in the Supreme Court by votes of five Roman Catholic judges, four of them very conservative Catholics (and probably three Opus Dei Catholics).  Declaring corporations “persons”–is anything more fascist than that? Fascism is a commitment to obedience ahead of all other virtues (including justice).  It is always patriarchal and anti-women.  Yes, sad to say, it has returned.  And Ratzinger was its drum major.
  14. The interference in the presidential election of 2004 wherein Ratzinger instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” (i.e. Kerry) who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion.  The result was three states had very unusual Republican votes from Catholics—if just one of them had had more normal Catholic vote, Kerry, not Bush, would have been president.

With such a trail of devastation as this, Father Ratzinger, ex-pope and ex-Inquisitor, is right to retire.  Hopefully, beginning in this time of Lent, he will do some soul searching and asking for forgiveness.  Unfortunately, because he and his predecessor appointed only Yes Men as cardinals, one should not expect any improvement in the next pope.  Instead we should recognize that history has passed the papacy by and that now is the time for the Holy Spirit to push the restart button on Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant versions, so as to strip down to the essence of Jesus’ teaching and the Cosmic Christ tradition.

Toward this end, Andrew Harvey and myself are starting up a series of “Christ Path” seminars available on line or in person (see info@christpathseminar.org)  This restart of Christianity can be done without basilicas on our backs but mere backpacks.  Travel lightly.  Walk humbly.  Do justice.  And peace will follow.

Ratzinger’s retirement and his fifty years of reactionary religion shed the spotlight on the need for a profound re-start of Christianity–not only its Catholic wing but its Protestant wings as well.  I [ Matthew Fox] have written about that in my recent books, A New Reformation and The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved.

Now Andrew Harvey and I are teaming up (with another thinker who will join us at each event) for a series of “Initiations” that we call the “Christ Path Seminars.”  

They are weekends, four per year; the first meets March 8 to 10; you can attend in person or on line.  We are offering the whole thing as a ‘gift economy,’ that is you can join us for only $50 for the entire weekend (though we will ask for donations afterwards to help pay expenses).  For more info see: info@christpathseminar.org.

Following is a rationale for our project from Andrew Harvey. 

In a sane world – which of course this isn’t – Ratzinger would be hauled before a World Court and arraigned as a criminal whose whole life has been an attack on fundamental human rights. This is a time in which the masks have been stripped from the face of all forms of patriarchal power to reveal the nasty and cruel face beneath.

If we miss the meaning of this stripping away in our desperate need for false certainties and in our addiction to learned helplessness and blind reverence for dying and lethal forms of authority, we will miss the central challenge of our time as Christians. That is, to reinvent a Christianity that blazes with the sacred passion of Jesus for the realization of the truth of justice and universal compassion on every level and in every realm of the world.

Jesus is the supreme revolutionary of love in human history, and his message continues to call us all to the sacrifice of our personal interests to the dangerous creation of radical new forms and ways of protest and social and political transformation.

The adventure that Matthew Fox and I are co-creating in the Christ Path Seminar is not some kind of theological luxury but an absolute necessity. As a series of initiatory workshops, building a beloved community, its vision is to restore the truth of the Christian message and the rousing of…to rousemillions to start acting from sacred love and sacred outrage….and ultimately to change all the existing political, economic, social, sexual and psychological systems that keep us addicted to greed and narcissistically paralyzed before the growing devastation of this planet.

The fall of Ratzinger should make it clear now that the time for this adventure has arrived and that speaking truth to power of all kinds, while it may not work immediately, over time has an extraordinary effect.

I hope as many of you as are awakening to the danger and possibility of our times can join us – because the reinvention of Christianity cannot be done by just a few people. , but It has to be a co-creation in with the Holy Spirit of by all those agonized, inspired and brave enough to follow the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25, and the great mystics of the Cosmic Christ into a vision of the glory of the creation, and the sanctity of all life…a co-creation spurred by and the necessity of creating systems that honor and protect that glory and sanctity with the full force of justice and compassion and radical action.

Every day we do not undertake this great alchemical transformation is a day that takes us closer to potential extinction of the human race and a great deal of nature. Let us realize this without illusion, and let us together reconsecrate ourselves to the dangerous life of love in action and prophetic passion and compassion that costs everything and gives everything.

 
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19 Responses to Ratzinger/Pope Benedict’s Destructive Legacy: Two Catholic Theologians Speak Out and Call Christians to Action to Save Christianity

  1. Thomas McGonigle February 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Not for a moment does a thoughtful person give credence to Mr Fox… He reads like a crank of old: unbalanced and with no audience except himself and his fellow converts…let him natter on in the void of his dissent

    • Vincent Faini February 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Some may question Matthew Fox’s intelligence, or even if his motives for speaking out against the Catholic Hierarchy are 100% pure. That is anyone’s prerogative.
      We cannot discount that there have been many abusive priests who have been protected and shuffled around to different areas – allowed to continue as a priest – when they should have at the very least been excommunicated.
      Also, as a previous Catholic – I have always been annoyed that the church is so slow in admitting when they have been wrong or to hand out apologies.
      My questions to those assertions is “Why.”
      Doesn’t the Pope have the power of the Almighty to back him up?
      Crank or not, I think it is an extremely healthy to have people such as Matthew Fox to call things into question.
      And though I am not an atheists, my fondest wish would have been to witness each of the Cardinals and the Pope in an open and public debate with Christopher Hitchens.

  2. Rabbi David Seidenberg February 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Matthew Fox does important work on the nexus of Spirit and ecology, but his work, for all its joy, is also sloppy and misrepresentative of people he disagrees with (and people he agrees with). For example, in this column he claims that Ratzinger wrote that “Christians should not do yoga because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.” That bears almost no relationship to what the Vatical actually said. If you want to read what the Vatican and Ratzinger had to say about yoga, go to this link:

    http://www.skeptictank.org/files/rumor/vaticanz.htm

    There’s a lot to critique about the pope. Yes Ratzinger is tendentious, yes his work undermined creative theology (and creation theology and liberation theology). But if you study this Vatican statement about yoga, you’ll see that it is quite insightful about some of the pitfalls of treating yoga and other body-centered practices as spiritual paths that are sufficient unto themselves. Of course that’s no reason not to do yoga, but it is good reason to be critical of New Age spirituality rooted in materialism. Fox does everyone a disservice, most of all himself, when he distorts the world to fit his own ideology.

    • Meghan February 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      And this is part of the Vatican’s response to the issue of youga” “Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience,when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to suchan experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also
      lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.” This response shows incredible hypocrisy in light of all those children who were molested! How dare he comment in such a way! He knows nothing about yoga, because he has not studied it …. and he lumps it in with Zen which he also has not studied. If he had, he may have learned that many people, including Buddha, were completely and irrevocably awakened by the practise.

    • PJ February 15, 2013 at 5:06 am

      The article that you posted wrote:

      “But, it said, such practices “can degenerate into a cult of the body and
      can lead surreptitiously to considering all bodily sensations as spiritual
      experiences.’”

      My interpretation, in the context of the article (cited in your note), suggests that a spiritual practice Yoga, puts a person into their body, but that the Pope was afraid that through feeling, it can lead the person toward sexual misconduct.

      At the very least the article suggests that feeling in our bodies is generally “bad”. Thereby making the person’s body an enemy to that person.

    • Vincent Faini February 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Many Thanks for the link Rabbi,
      I have read the page and it gives me a few things to ponder.
      WHen I have chewed on it for a bit, I will get back to you.
      The link talks about the 23 page of which Ratzinger writes concerning Zen and so forth.
      Where may I find a copy of such a document?

  3. Bob Boldt February 12, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Thomas,
    I have always thought of myself as a thoughtful person. What I have read of Matthew Fox sounds very credible, especially since it is born out by other witnesses. Hopefully these ideas will find the widest audience possible. Clearly Christianity needs reformation (or its abandonment).

  4. Trish Crew February 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Matthew Fox appears to have forgotten his New Testament. When Jesus established his Church, he promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against it. If the Church were able to teach error in the areas of faith and morals, then Hell would have indeed prevailed.

    At another time, when he was talking about his ascent into heaven, he said that he would send the Holy Spirit and that he would lead the Apostles into all truth. Since Peter, and his successors, in turn, have been guided in all truth by the Holy Spirit, then the truth has been taught by the Church, guided by these men.

    Of course, there have been sinful popes, but none of the, has ever taught errors in faith and morals from the Chair of Peter.

    Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II were not to the liking of people who wanted to relax the teachings of the Church. Those people, Nuns, priests, former priests, dissident theologians, appear to have forgotten, is that the Catholic Church cannot change her positions because they are popular at the time. That is why a Catechism is possible at all. Any person can look at it and find what the Catholic Church teaches, and if anyone, like Mr. Fox dissents, then he cannot call himself Catholic.

    Mr. Fox may be a nice person, though I doubt that anyone capable of so vicious and name-calling a diatribe could be someone I’d like to have dinner with, but his views are not and have not been Catholic for years.

    Why doesn’t he just give it up and become some other religion, or no religion and stop carping at Jesus’ Church?

    • Vincent Faini February 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Perhaps you are right. Clearly, If one believes that an organization is too restrictive and hypocritical and unlikely to change – that person can simply say so and give good reasons as to why any and all who are like minded should quite with them.
      It is why I left the Catholic Church at a young age.

    • rkh February 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      In case you haven’t noticed,while the Roman church has been quite slow to admit error, it has done so implicitly. Various popes have changed official teachings such the moral validity of slavery, the condemnation of Galileo and at Vatican II, the primacy of conscience in matters of faith
      was embraced by not just a Pope but by the world’s bishops.

      • Trish Crew February 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        Thanks to one and all for reading my comment.

        It it truly sad, though, that there is so much hate, or at least anger directed at the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, any Orthodox Church, Greek, Coptic, Russian, teach essentially the same doctrines. But, the Roman Church gets the muck thrown at it. Tell me. Is there any institution, run by mortals, that is 2000 years old, that has not had problems? Do you expect perfection from humans?

        The only areas in which the Church has never officially taught error are the areas of faith and morals. Think. This doesn’t mean that all priests, bishops, cardinals, or popes, were good. Some of them have been quite bad. But no pope has ever taught error of faith or morals.

        The issue of child abuse by pedophile priests would have been better handled as an issue of child abuse by homosexual priests. The abused little girl was very rare indeed. I am glad these scandalous actions are finally being handled and pray that no child has ever to be afraid of a priest again. How true that it was covered up and how true that those who did that covering will answer for it to God. In the meantime, all anyone can do with anyone who is repentant is to forgive. Not forget.

        Despite all that, no institution has stood for Christianity since the time of Christ, except the Catholic Church. Since I was old enough to care, I have read of priests and nuns who have criticized and derided the very Church they pledged themselves to, for Jesus said, “If they hear you, they hear me.” And it has puzzled me how lone voices of dissent cropped up here and there and it was always the Church’s fault for whatever physical, moral, or intellectual cramp they were having.

        Why didn’t they leave? If they didn’t like what the Church taught and teaches still, why didn’t they leave? There are 36,000 other denominations out there. Each one has the Truth, they will tell you so. I think the reason is that no matter how uncomfortable the fit, the dissenters still believe that the Church is founded by Jesus Christ and that it gives us his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.

        That is what I believe.

  5. Grahame Warren February 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Trish crew seems to be working under the assumption that what the (roman) church stands for is actually right in the first place! For many of us who see it as misguided, mislead and patently out of touch with the teaching of Jesus himself and of interpreting the Bible to its own ends, it is well past the time that they should change.

  6. Carol February 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Where Trish Crewe gets her information from that the Catholic Church is true is beyond me. It does not follow the bible, at all it has its own beliefs and where it gets them from I’ve no idea it is certainly not from the bible. It in no way resembles the apostolic times or the first teachings. All done up in their purple and red I do not see Jesus there. Doesn’t she read history at all and know the horrific crimes it is guilty of, the abuse of children is tame compared to the horrendous crimes it has to answer for. Over 60 million deaths it is responsible for during the dark ages, this is not a Christian church. Wake up Trish for goodness sake. The Bible says Leopard’s don’t change their spots so watch what we are in for if we oppose!

  7. Mary Brown February 14, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I’m just responding to add my support to those like Grahame above. Matthew Fox is the only reason I have retained any form of Christian faith. Original Blessing is one of the most inspiring theological books I’ve read. sure Father Fox is partisan but after what he has had to put up with it’s not surprising. For me and many others he is someone who does practise what he preaches about the love of God – a love which the power structures of corporate Christianity – of all denominations, not just the Catholic version – seems to have lost touch with. I wish Father Fox would come to the UK – I would love to hear him speak in person!

    • Vincent Faini February 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      I have also been a fan of Matthew Fox – despite the fact that I am a deist.

  8. Leslie Aguillard February 15, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Matthew Fox is to be respected and acknowledged for pulling no punches, albeit his opinions, which some have disagreed. The RC Church tradition is a double edged sword – to have carried a faith through 20 centuries, and also dragged people terrorized through the muck at the same time. I would happily see the past be put into the past, a legacy we can do little about except not to repeat the mistakes and horrors. Let us have a new vision of light and love and hope for the future, open our arms and invite all to share in the LOVE we know underlies all the Universe.

  9. William Read February 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you for speaking the TRUTH.

  10. Kevin H February 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Fr. Fox is, as one critic put it, “enthusiastic,” or, as the rabbi on this thread put it…sloppy. Father Fox is a former Dominican, and I’m a former Benedictine. I find that much of his analysis of what’s wrong with the church, though it may sometimes be poorly worded, is spot-on. Let’s face it, the Vatican is thoroughly corrupt. There are far more victims of clerical sex-abuse than I had imagined, and that’s not even counting the ones who haven’t come forward. The Vatican bank has been questioned over possibilities of money-laundering, and to my knowledge there has been no fully transparent audit performed. I think if all the cardinals who had covered up even one instance of child molestation were excluded from voting for pope, over half of them, at least would be ineligible. Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Mahony of New York and Los Angeles, respectively, come to mind. You may have priests in your parish that love you and care about your well-being, but beyond that, I don’t think you can trust your bishop, and certainly not the cardinals. I don’t agree with every solution to problems that Father Fox suggests – for example, I like Taize worship better than the “techno-mass.” But I’d bet I could have a reasonable discussion with him about my differences of opinion, which is more than I could say for the bishops, cardinals, and pope.

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