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February 2011

SPIRIT IN THE SKY

THE EDITOR

Never been a sinner, I never sinned,
I got a friend in Jesus,
So you know that when I die
He's gonna set me up with
The spirit in the sky ...

 

 

Readers of a certain age will instantly recognise the title and lyrics of Norman Greenbaum's 1969 hit single. For those too old or too young to know or care, it features one of the catchiest guitar riffs in the history of pop music. A hapless product of the rock-pop generation, even as I write my foot is tapping away to the familiar dirge which has spawned innumerable cover versions and continues to feature in dozens of movies and television ads. But apart from its enduring musical effect, Greenbaum's elementary lyrics also captured the essence of the emerging "spirituality" of the late 60s, which quickly morphed from a New Age novelty into the full-blown neo-pagan syncretism of our day.

Long ago when Father Crane perceived the danger and began running regular analyses of the New Age in these pages, many thought he was wasting space on a passing fad. It was hard to blame them. "Age of Aquarius" insanity was always far easier to spoof than critique. Greenbaum's ditty itself was an early New Age send-up, even while appearing to mock Christianity. Yet he intended no offence to believers. It simply happened that after watching a gospel singer on TV he thought: "'Yeah, I could do that,' knowing nothing about gospel music, so I sat down and wrote my own gospel song. It came easy. I wrote the words in 15 minutes." In a 2006 New York Times interview, the Jewish musician said that he has received thousands of e-mail messages and letters about the above verse. "A lot of them say, 'We’re all sinners, we were born sinners, how dare you'." To which he shrugs, "O.K., so what do I know?" In fact he knew more than he realized, and more than his Christian critics would ever admit.

Luther

Just as the tune represented a clueless yet mesmeric take on gospel music, his rapidly penned and apparently fatuous lyrics anticipated with uncanny accuracy the syncretic dissolution of Christian doctrine and belief in our time. Indeed they encapsulate the heretical pap that passes for Catholic education and preaching today. The end result is manifest in our empty confessionals and paraded at most Catholic funerals, where the deceased is canonized from the pulpit before "My Way" sends them off for cocktails with Jesus and a welcoming banquet with the Communion of Saints; no questions asked and no expiatory prayers requested. 

The fruition of Luther’s "justification by faith alone," this ascent of the sinless, ego-centric Christian was set in train when the apostate monk excised the clear words of Scripture: "Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?"; "For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead" [James 2:24, 26]. This biblical cut-and-paste job facilitated the self-absolution which became imperative once Luther had denied the authority of the Church and thereby negated the sacramental power of the priesthood of Jesus Christ: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them" [Jn 20:23].

Left as judge and juror to forgive himself, he dreamed up a rationale whereby faith alone can work justification, and man is saved by confidently believing that God will pardon him, making him magically righteous without recourse to the sacramental means and good works required by St James and the teaching Church. This privatised pseudo-faith not only includes a full pardon of sin, but also an unconditional release from its penalties. Hence Luther's typically unhinged call to

Be a sinner and sin on bravely, but have stronger faith and rejoice in Christ, who is the victor of sin, death, and the world. … the sin cannot tear you away from him, even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders (Enders, "Briefwechsel", III, 208).

It was a slow but inexorable progression from that typically hearty exhortation to embrace concupiscence, conveniently tailored to fit Luther’s particular disorder, to our current epoch sated with sensuality and oblivious to "sin," viewed nowadays as a fanciful or titillating figure of speech.    

"The new doctrine of justification by faith gradually developed, and was finally fixed by Luther as one of the central doctrines of Christianity," notes the Catholic Encyclopaedia, listing these major additional tenets of the Lutheran revolt:

  • The Bible is the only source of faith; it contains the plenary inspiration of God; its reading is invested with a quasi-sacramental character.
  • Human nature has been totally corrupted by original sin, and man, accordingly, is deprived of free will. Whatever he does, be it good or bad, is not his own work, but God's.
  • The hierarchy and priesthood are not Divinely instituted or necessary, and ceremonial or exterior worship is not essential or useful. Ecclesiastical vestments, pilgrimages, mortifications, monastic vows, prayers for the dead, intercession of saints, avail the soul nothing.
  • All sacraments, with the exception of baptism, Holy Eucharist, and penance, are rejected, but their absence may be supplied by faith.
  • The priesthood is universal; every Christian may assume it. A body of specially trained and ordained men to dispense the mysteries of God is needless and a usurpation.
  • There is no visible Church or one specially established by God whereby men may work out their salvation.
  • The emperor is appealed to in his three primary pamphlets, to destroy the power of the pope, to confiscate for his own use all ecclesiastical property, to abolish ecclesiastical feasts, fasts, and holidays, to do away with Masses for the dead, etc. In his "Babylonian Captivity," particularly, he tries to arouse national feeling against the papacy, and appeals to the lower appetite of the crowd by laying down a sensualized code of matrimonial ethics, little removed from paganism, which "again come to the front during the French Revolution" (Hagen, Deutsche literar. u. religiöse Verhaltnisse, II, Erlangen, 1843, 235). His third manifesto, On the Freedom of a Christian Man, more moderate in tone, though uncompromisingly radical, he sent to the pope.

Far from freeing "Christian Man," of course, Luther’s laundry list of heresies enslaved him. Today — stripped of belief in the divinity of Christ and His magisterial Catholic authority in matters of faith and morals; viewing the seven sacraments as superstitious hocus pocus; affronted by the very thought of priestly and saintly mediators and intercessors before God — Luther’s progeny are disarmed and defenceless, easy prey for self-centred, esoteric "spiritualities" touted by agents of an undemanding God-substitute: a pantheistic spirit in the sky.

The spiritual father of extreme individualism and the advent of the Self, both of which define "modernity," I have written elsewhere on those aspects of Luther and his baleful legacy. [see “Luther, Anglicanism and the End of History”] Suffice to emphasise here that this bequest includes a weighty contribution to the emergence and spread of the Self-centred New Age contagion which is nothing less than Luther's rebellious spirit and personality played out over centuries. Indeed it is the Lutheranisation of huge swathes of the postconciliar Church that has seen this occult virus finally infect the bloodstream of the Mystical Body of Christ itself, as attested by the myriad pseudo-spiritual and psycho-sexual programmes and practices entertained by bishops, priests, Religious and laity over the past forty years.

Therefore, despite other major contributors to the spiritual anarchy of our times, one of whom we will shortly consider, we must never understate the corrosive influence of Brother Martin (the goodwill of so many of his hapless "born again" and Evangelical heirs notwithstanding). For the unsparing truth about Luther is essential if dumbed-down Catholics are not to be totally deceived by the ecumenical juggernaut and the accompanying push to rehabilitate him.

The Vatican's most recent contribution to this two-pronged attack against Catholic truth was a ceremony held during the recent Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in which Cardinal Koch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and a delegation from the United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany together planted and blessed an olive tree "as a sign of the ecumenical communion that has grown up to now between Catholics and Lutherans." The Lutheran delegation was visiting the Vatican to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's visit to Rome. They were received in private audience by Benedict XVI, who, we can be morally certain, preferred diplomatic small talk about olive trees to an urgent salvific appeal for the return of erring Lutherans to the one true Church.

Meanwhile, the tree planting ceremony is being twinned with "Luther's Garden," a project in Wittenberg designed to symbolize and celebrate the "global magnitude of the Reformation," as well as the "interconnectedness, interaction, and reconciliation between Christian churches," according to the Lutheran World Federation. Ecclesial groups worldwide are being invited to sponsor the 500 trees projected to be planted in the garden.

Pantheism and Gnosis

Dovetailing with and exploiting the Protestant division and degradation of Christendom, maintained and fostered by the false-ecumenism underlying such fatuous PR stunts, are the recurring streams of Pantheism and Gnosticism; primeval heresies which slip in and out of world history, forever enticing, deceiving and perverting souls. Although too vast and labyrinthine to cover within the limits of this essay, as the warp and woof of the New Age a brief introduction will be helpful to our understanding of its occult roots and inspiration. 

In his essay Gnosis: The Occult Religion in History, Orlandi Fedeli of the Brazilian Montfort Cultural Association states that studying gnosis is like entering "a maze full of mist" and trying to unravel secrets which allow you to reach a mystery. No wonder it leads to confusion! He continues:

It is, therefore, necessary to establish distinctions. And the first one is between pantheism and gnosis. The Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique quotes a bunch of pantheistic and gnostic doctrines without distinguishing one from the other. The list goes from Hinduistic, Egyptian, Chinese and Chaldean religions, to both Heraclitus and Parmenides, as well as the sufi Ibn Arabi, Campanela, Diderot, Kant, Novalis and the Romantics.

While pantheism is the doctrine that considers that everything – including matter – is God; gnosis, on the contrary, in almost all its systems condemns matter as an evil work of creation.

By somewhat simplifying the problem, one may say that pantheism represents a quite optimistic trend, while gnosis represents a pessimistic tendency (dualistic, anti-cosmic, and anti-rational, although this distinction in some cases must be attenuated because some gnostic systems are ambivalent in relation to the material world).

[…] It would be convenient to say that pantheism is an anti-chamber for gnosis; which is a system reserved for those whose spirit leans more towards proud mysticism rather than towards sensual materialism.

Essentially, then, gnosis purports to be the knowledge of the unknowable — a quintessentially occult concept. As Fedeli says:

It is a conceptual and logical contradiction to know the unknowable. But it happens that gnosis repels intelligence and logic as being deceptive. True knowledge is intuitive and immediate, not logical and discursive. Knowing the unknowable, in fact, means giving man full knowledge about God and about evil … [Yet] we are unable to comprehend or attain knowledge of the essence of God, Who is infinite and transcendent, by our intellect. We also cannot understand evil and sin: evil as a being does not exist, and moral evil has no reason that justifies itself.

Thus, gnosis intends to offer man a natural knowledge that would put him in the position of understanding – and therefore surpassing – God, of understanding evil and, moreover, of knowing man’s own innermost nature, which would be divine.

Continuing to join the dots, Fedeli goes on to explain why this religion offering man the knowledge of good and evil sounds so familiar:

Now, it is known that the tree of the forbidden fruit of Eden is exactly the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. II, 10). Thus, gnosis would have been Adam’s temptation. As a matter of fact, the serpent promised our first parents that, if they ate of the forbidden fruit, they would "be as Gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen. III, 5). Adam and Eve’s temptation was to become gods. This is man’s great temptation: his pride, as with Lucifer, does not admit his finitude, does not accept his contingency.

This temptation is, in fact, an anti-metaphysical revolt. And this is another way of regarding gnosis: an anti-metaphysical revolt.

If we accept this interpretation of Adam’s temptation, says Fedeli, we must conclude "that there is a continuity of gnosis in history. And that is what scholars certify: gnosis really presents itself as a religion sometimes occult, sometimes public, yet always maintaining unity and continuity throughout history." He elaborates:

Ladislao Mittner, when studying Protestant Pietism, a mystic and gnostic sect founded by Spenner and originating from the works of Jacob Boehme, links this sect to a single huge gnostic movement existent in history.

To represent the unity of the gnostic religious phenomenon, Mittner uses the very appropriate and coherent image of the Karsic river.

In the Karsus, a calcareous [chalky limestone] region in the former Yugoslavia, there are rivers that disappear suddenly into the extremely permeable calcareous ground and then flow underground, only to reappear on the surface many kilometers ahead. A Karsic river is one that appears and disappears, becoming sometimes visible, sometimes hidden along its path.

Mittner says that "it is almost impossible to distinguish pietism from the many other religious sects of the time. Particular veins of the movement display Karsic phenomena: they appear, disappear, and, all of a sudden, reappear further ahead, without the identity of the vein being able to be properly demonstrated."

Such is gnosis throughout history: a religious phenomenon of the Karsic type.

Many authors verify this historical unity of gnosis throughout the ages and civilizations. Dennis de Rougemont, for example, wrote:

"Nearer to us than Plato and the druids, a kind of mystic unity of the Indo-european world is drawn like unto a filigree in the background of Middle Age heresies. If we embrace the geographical and historical dominion which extends from India to Brittany, we verify that a religion spread therein, in a subterraneous way, since the third century AD, syncretizing the set of myths of the Day and the Night just as they had been initially elaborated in Persia, afterwards in the gnostic and orphic secrets and which is the Manichaeist faith."

In his turn, H. I. Marrou testifies:

"(...) indeed, gnosis and its pessimistic duality express one of the most profound tendencies of the human spirit, one of the two or three fundamental options amongst which man must finally choose. Claude Tresmontant demonstrated well the permanency of the gnostic temptation, ceaselessly reappearing under various forms in western thought throughout the course of its history as in the Bogomils and Cathars of the Middle Ages, in Spinoza, Leibniz, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. We could continue on with this history beyond the German romanticism up till our own days: the destiny of Simone Weil is particularly very significant; it was her neo-gnosticism which finally stopped her at the Church’s threshold …."

Religious Indifferentism

Insofar as she embodied the New Age confusion to come, Simone Weil [1909-43] was ahead of her time. The precociously intelligent daughter of agnostic Jewish parents, she was a renowned French philosopher and left-wing social activist who was attracted to Catholicism. During World War II she lived for a time in Marseille, receiving spiritual direction from a Dominican. But she did not limit her curiosity to Christianity, being keenly interested in other religions — especially the Greek and Egyptian mysteries, Hinduism (learning Sanskrit after reading the Bhagavad Gitaand) and Mahayana Buddhism. Even while claiming to oppose religious syncretism, since it effaced the particularity of the individual traditions, she believed that all these and other religions were valid paths to God. As a universalist, she attempted to understand each religious tradition as expressive of transcendent wisdom. Thus confused and conflicted, she declined baptism. 

Despite her "universalism," however, would Simone Weil have sanctioned our postconciliar madhouse? Desirous of preserving the identity of each religious tradition, what would she think of our perfect storm: resurgent pantheistic and gnostic currents converging with rampant Lutheranisation to unleash the faddish occultism advertised in Catholic papers and parish newsletters – yoga, reiki, enneagram, centering prayer, EST, Myers-Briggs and every imaginable Eastern practice, meditative technique and "human potential" scam. 

This demonic portal of New Age lunacy — reflecting that effacement of all religious and pseudo-religious "particularity" even the disoriented Weil abhorred — was opened by the ecumenical free-for-all and the heretical indifferentism it spawned.

In this regard, Catholic Family News editor John Vennari recently explained the "clear rupture with the consistent teaching of the Church" between the current annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the original purpose of the event’s institution as the Chair of Unity Octave in 1908 (then, as now, conducted from 18-25 January). He compared the indifferentism fostered by the fuzzy ecumenical prayers said daily by Pope Benedict XVI at the basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls in Rome, with the crystal clear intention of those said each day of the Octave by Pope St. Pius X (and every pontiff up until Vatican II).

In 2010, around the theme "That All May Be One in Your Hand," Pope Benedict’s prayer intentions for each day of the Week were: 1: by praising the One who gives us the gift of life and resurrection; 2: by knowing how to share the story of our faith with others; 3: by recognizing that God is at work in our lives; 4: by giving thanks for the faith we have received; 5: by confessing Christ’s victory over all suffering; 6: by seeking to always be more faithful to the Word of God; 7: by growing in faith, hope and love; 8: by offering hospitality and knowing how to receive it when it is offered to us.

In 1908, on the other hand, around the theme of conversion of non-Catholics to the one Church of Jesus Christ, St. Pius X’s daily prayer intentions during the Octave were: 1: The Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome [18 Jan.]: The return of all the 'other sheep' to the one Fold of Peter, the One Shepherd; 2: The return of Oriental Separatists (i.e., Schismatic East) to the Communion with the Apostolic See; 3: The submission of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ; 4: That the Lutherans and all other Protestants of Continental Europe may find their way back to the Holy Church; 5: That Christians in America may become one in common with the Chair of Peter; 6: The return to the Sacraments of all lapsed Catholics; 7: The Conversion of the Jews; 8: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul [25 Jan.]: The Missionary conquest of the world for Christ (or, as stated elsewhere in pre-Vatican II Graymoor literature, the "conversion of the entire heathen world").

Whereas the same 1908 Octave theme and prayers were retained annually thereafter, nowadays there are new themes and prayer intentions every year. Comparing the two, Venarri notes:

There is nothing ambiguous about the goal and the specific intentions of the original Chair of Unity Octave. It is unabashedly Catholic in the true spirit of all the Popes from the time of Christ until 1958. It reaffirms in word and in action the consistent teaching of the Church regarding Christian Unity, as summarized by Pope Pius XI in his 1926 Encyclical, Mortalium Animos. Pius XI taught, "…unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief, one Faith of Christians… There is but one way in which the unity of Christians may be fostered, and that is by fostering the return to the one true [Catholic Church] of Christ of those who are separated from it."

By contrast, the post-Conciliar Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has drained the event of Catholic content. What remains is an empty shell that is then filled with ecumenical vapidity. The Week is now jointly prepared by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches. ... The new ecumenical program prevails, which does not seek conversion with non-Catholics, but "convergence with non-Catholics."

Venarri concludes that the new programme "is a manifestation of the religious indifferentism condemned consistently by the Popes all through history." He then recounts the teaching of four consecutive popes against this "lethal system of religious indifferentism" (as Pius VIII phased it) — a system which places the Catholic Church on equal footing with false religions and thus proclaims that a man may find salvation in any religion. To quote just one of these papal condemnations, by Pope Gregory XVI in his Mirari vos arbitramur:

Now we come to another very fertile cause of the evils by which, we are sorry to see, the contemporary Church being afflicted. This is indifferentism, or that wicked opinion which has grown up on all sides through the deceit of evil men. According to this opinion, the eternal salvation of the soul can be attained by any kind of profession of faith, as long as a man’s morals are in line with the standard of justice and honesty. You must drive out from the people entrusted to your care this most deplorable error on a matter so obviously important and so completely clear. For, since the Apostle has warned that there is one God, one faith, one baptism, those who pretend that the way to [eternal] beatitude starts from any religion at all should be afraid and should seriously think over the fact that, according to the testimony of the Saviour Himself, they are against Christ because they are not for Christ; and that they are miserably scattering because they are not gathering with Him; and that consequently, they are most certainly going to perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith and keep it whole and inviolate.

Assisi III

Alert to the signs of our apocalyptic times, Benedict XVI is drawing regular parallels between the inexorable fall of the Roman Empire and the state of the decadent post-Christian West today. Concurrently and perversely, however, he continues to facilitate this "lethal system of religious indifferentism" which undermines any possibility of countering the collapse of the West.

"The very future of the world is at stake," he warned in last year’s Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia, describing a world "troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function." Of all people, the Vicar of Christ knows that God’s Church and the Catholic religion it safeguards alone can provide that essential reference point and "consensus" vital to re-establishing the Christian common good. Thus, retreating from the least hint of indifferentism and reasserting traditional Catholic purpose and identity is the clear priority. And yet shortly after deploring the perilous situation of the West, Benedict announced more of the postconciliar same: another summit of the world’s religions at Assisi! Further scattering instead of gathering with Christ; still more convergence in lieu of conversion.

On New Year's day he told the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for the first Angelus of 2011 that this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1986 World Day of Prayer for Peace which John Paul II called in Assisi. He then declared:

For this reason, in the coming month of October, I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St. Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world's religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me … and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace. Those who are journeying towards God cannot fail to transmit peace; those who build peace cannot fail to move towards God. I invite you, even now, to support this initiative with your prayers. 

We should have seen it coming. In 2009 Benedict smattered his Good Friday Meditations at the Colosseum with Hindu quotations.They included a well-known verse from Hindu scripture ("Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality."), a line from Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali ("Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service"), and reference to (the very problematic) Mahatma Gandhi. In response, the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism praised the Pope’s "remarkable gesture," invited him to study more ancient Hindu scriptures, and stressed that all religions should work together for a just and peaceful world.

Since Hinduism is yoga and yoga is Hinduism (as former Brahmin priest and Christian convert Rabi Maharaj insists), the Holy Father’s ecumenical gesture was an even darker compromise than it appeared because yoga is a pervasive Western gateway to occult thought and practice. Ergo, to lend credibility to Hinduism is to pour fuel on the New Age inferno.

In that light, we should not be at all surprised to find ourselves back at John Paul II’s syncretic square one. And just as the decomposition of Catholicism and social, juridical and political attacks against Christian faith and conscience only accelerated after his first two Assisi extravaganzas, we should expect further rapid decline and oppression following Benedict’s Assisi III. For a third time, the old serpent and his Masonic allies will surely benefit from this pan-ecumenical folly heretically telegraphing to the world that everyone has their own path to God and are moving towards God independently of the one true Church he established for their salvation. As Archbishop Lefebvre insisted before the inaugural event:

It is demonic. It is an insult to our Lord Jesus Christ. Who will they pray to? What god will they pray to for peace? What peace can they ask for if they are not praying to the only true God? They will not be praying to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews do not want him, the Muslims and Buddhists do not want Him neither. Lots of Protestants do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. What god will they pray to? God was made flesh and came and lived amongst us to save us. We have no right to pray to anyone else. If we put Jesus Christ aside, we are not praying to the true God. It is an indescribably impious act against our Lord Jesus Christ.

Subsequent events confirmed his worst fears. The October 1986 gathering became synonymous with scandal and perfidy. The late Cardinal Silvio Oddi, former head of the Congregation for the Clergy, witnessed it first-hand:

On that day ... I walked through Assisi ... And I saw real profanations in some places of prayer. I saw Buddhists dancing around the altar upon which they placed Buddha in the place of Christ and then incensed it and showed it reverence. A Benedictine protested and the police took him away ... There was obvious confusion in the faces of the Catholics who were assisting at the ceremony.

Syncretic fallout

Assisi was long in the making but always on the cards. Once the ecumenical dominoes were set falling in the sanctuary of an ecumenical New Mass specifically tailored by Paul VI for the "separated brethren," all bets were off; "lethal indifferentism" inevitably set in, cultivating heresies and sowing seeds of New Age infiltration. At the very least, Assisi III will do nothing to alleviate the mounting pressure of this heretical thought and diabolical practice, which continues to take a heavy toll.

It will only further encourage the likes of Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, a man already so ecumenically addled that he refuses to concede that Truth is more important than a spurious unity [CO, May 2006, p. 37] , and who publicly admits to not knowing if the Church will sanction sodomitical "marriage" [CO, Nov. 2010, pp. 20-21]. Clearly convinced that traditional Catholic morality should make way for a more "humane" pan-sexuality and a new order of "values" attuned to the syncretic zeitgeist — he personifies the confusion and apostasy we encounter at every turn. 

Even the IRA’s Gerry Adams, despite his life-long war against the Protestant hegemony, admitted on Irish television that his religious beliefs are more compatible with Protestantism than Catholicism. "I have formed an opinion — and it’s probably a Protestant thing — that the notion of having some sort of middleman isn’t altogether necessary," he opined on Gay Byrne’s Meaning of Life show in April 2009, referring to Confession. "I think the Methodists are the best, but I love the democratic nature of the Presbyterian Church," he added. "I also think it’s downright nonsense that Christian Churches are so divided. I think it’s madness." Asked if the Host at Holy Communion is the real body of Jesus Christ Adams replied, "Who knows?"

As for the equally notorious Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, in response to an Irish MP’s suggestion in 2008 that government should uphold divine law (in respect of abortion in the province), he objected, asking which of the various religious deities needed to be respected. He sounded like actor Will Smith, who several years ago declared: "I'm a student of world religion. I was raised in a Baptist household. I went to a Catholic school, but the ideas of the Bible are 98 per cent the same ideas of Scientology, 98 per cent the same ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism."

True, we should expect such religious illiteracy from actors, unrepentant terrorists and the spiritually befuddled likes of Prince Charles — whose new book Harmony, a self-important call to "heal the world," is said to read in parts like "the ravings of a Buddhist mystic." However, we need to appreciate that their syncretic worldview is now mainstream. A few years ago, a CO reader wrote to describe a visit to his hometown in Scotland:

Once again I was dumbfounded by what I was hearing from people — cradle Catholics — who really ought to know better: people who see nothing wrong with cohabiting, having children out of wedlock, not having the children baptised or brought up in the Catholic faith, people who regard Sunday/Holy Day Mass attendance, receiving the Sacraments etc. as 'optional extras.' One opined thus:

"The Catholic Church does not have exclusive rights to God and Heaven. I believe it is what is in people’s hearts that is important, not how they worship. When you think of the vast populations of the world it’s unreasonable to accept that the only valid religion and the only valid viewpoint is the Catholic one. I believe people do need to follow a spiritual path in life to find happiness both in this and the next world and also that we can all benefit from listening to people more spiritually enlightened than ourselves.

"We were brought up in the Catholic faith and the Penny Catechism was indoctrinated into us at school when we did not even know the meaning of half the words in it. Does that have to mean we are now so constrained that we refuse to explore or learn from other faiths and beliefs?

"Regarding popes telling us right from wrong — I don’t buy the infallibility bit and deem this to be a convenient con hatched in the past to keep the masses in check. Certainly latter day popes have been saintly men but if you’ve read your history you will know that there were quite a few in the past who were anything but."

Something surely is fundamentally amiss with 'religious education' in my homeland. I got the usual old guff about how... "it doesn't matter which religion you follow — one is 'equivalent' to another"... I argued that Jews and Muslims 'do not worship the same God as Christians.' They may believe in God the Creator, but the Christian God is the Holy Trinity, which comprises the Father (our Creator), the Son (our Redeemer) and the Holy Spirit, who blesses and sanctifies us. When the Jews, Hindus etc. reject the Holy Trinity, they have only one third of the true picture and this is what makes their 'religions' invalid. This had a few people spluttering in astonishment. ....

How often we have confronted this ghastly (crushing!) reality among our own friends and relatives. It fairly sums up the apostasy of the rank and file who have succumbed to the endemic Modernism and relentless ecumenical propaganda. And there is no let up. Bishops everywhere continue to welcome purveyors of this corruption into their dioceses.

Universally indicative of the workaday indoctrination was Dr Anthony Tambasco’s January 2008 visit to Good Shepherd church in the Arlington diocese (Virginia). The Georgetown University professor spoke there on "The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostic Gospels, and the Gospel of Judas: How Authentic is the Bible?" Both the bishop and the parish priest knew Tambasco’s heretical answer to that question because they were informed in advance by dutiful Catholics of his stated view that "It would not destroy my faith, if a theologian proved that [Jesus’] body rotted in the grave," and provided with a list of other falsehoods he was renowned for propagating, such as: The apostles and early Church fabricated the miracles and prophecies of Jesus; the resurrection wasn’t necessary; Mary’s perpetual virginity may have been a "theological symbol"; Peter never acknowledged Jesus as God; Jesus Himself didn't know He was God until after the resurrection; Thomas never put his hand in Jesus' side.

A man soaked in gnostic pride, Dr Tambasco exemplifies several lost decades in which Catholic belief, identity and purpose has been subverted by egotistical neo-Lutheran "experts," all with episcopal blessing.

Gateway to the occult

According to Father Lawrence J. Gesy, a member of the Vatican Commission on Cults, the dissident likes of Tabasco are responsible for the invasion of the Church by the New Age movement, since, he says, their questioning of orthodoxy destroyed the beliefs and practices that had protected Catholics from the world of evil spirits that seek to destroy man. In 1991, during a talk at the Baltimore Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, he spoke of the diabolic heart of this dissent; the gateway to pantheism, gnosticism and all the false gods of the New Age cult: 

Fr. Gesy singled out Fr. Richard McBrien, head of the Theology Department of Notre Dame, for criticism because of McBrien's attempts to destroy belief in the existence of the Devil. Fr. Gesy sketched the salient characteristics on New Age beliefs and how they differed from orthodox Christianity. He revealed that he had at one time been involved in the New Age movement through EST. EST (Erhard Sensitivity Training) was founded by Werner Erhard in the 1970s as a way to raise human potential. It was a forerunner of the New Age’s preoccupation with self and self-worship. Fr. Gesy said that he had come to Baltimore to study at St. Mary's Seminary in the 1970s. There he had been indoctrinated in a dissenting theology that denied the existence of evil spirits. He was also taught that he could choose the doctrines of the Church he wanted to believe. He became a "cafeteria Catholic."

While an associate pastor at St. Lawrence in Baltimore, Fr. Gesy became involved in EST. He preached about it from the pulpit, and it dominated his life. He even had "EST Masses." The experience left him confused, disheartened, and exhausted. He got out of EST, and while studying what was wrong with this movement, became someone to whom people brought their problems because they or family members were involved in the New Age or in cults.

Fr. Gesy has worked as a chaplain at a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, and is familiar with bizarre psychological conditions. When he encountered his first cases of diabolical obsession, however, it "scared the Hell back into him." People who dabble in the occult and channeling establish connections with evil spirits. Fr. Gesy began working with the local police to investigate occult crimes and he quickly became convinced that the traditional teaching of the Church about the reality of demons and their hatred for man was entirely true.

In the spring of 1991, 20/20 televised the exorcism of Gina, which had been arranged by Fr. James LeBar, a consultant to Cardinal O'Connor of New York. Fr. Gesy had been invited to appear on the Ted Koppel show with Richard McBrien to comment on this exorcism, but he declined. He was appalled at Fr. McBrien's denial of the existence of evil spirits. Gesy said that the constant tradition of the Church was that Satan exists, that he is a personal being, and that he is at work in the world. Paul VI had reaffirmed this teaching, and warned of the operation of Satan in the Church itself.

Fr. Gesv warned against "dabbling" in anything to do with the occult. Even hypnotism, which he admitted has a legitimate medical use, is dangerous because it surrenders control of the mind to someone else. Gesy told the audience "to turn to the Eucharist and to Mary." He said that the evil spirits feared and hated the Eucharist and Mary more than anything else. The audience was advised to stay close to the sacraments, to prayer, to the teaching of the Church, to the saints, and to sacraments like holy water. He said that he did not know how to deal with priests like Matthew Fox, O.P. who spread false teaching and propaganda for the New Age. He had himself done this when he was involved with EST, and asked the audience to pray for such priests and Religious. [The Wanderer, 3 October, 1991]

Twenty years on, Father Gary Thomas, official exorcist of San Jose, California, is issuing similar warnings. On 20 January 2011 he stated that his ministry is essential "not because we are having so many cases of demonic possession" but due to the fact that exorcists and priests in general are seeing far more people with mental health problems, precisely because "there are more and more Catholics, and people in general, who are involved in New Age things, opening doorways to the occult." The author of The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist (upon which the just released movie The Rite is based) Fr Thomas said, "For example, it can be people who get involved in very unorthodox types of meditation. ... I'm talking about people who go off to Buddhist camps, or people who are involved in spiritism ... It is not about a relationship with God; it is about a relationship with self."

Darkness Down Under

In keeping with the enfeebled state of the Church, the darkness continues to spread and deepen, destroying the faith of entire Religious communities, who in turn ruin countless souls. More than a decade after Fr Gesy’s warning, for instance, Paul Likoudis recounted how the Sisters of Mercy, who maintain the largest network of Church schools and hospitals in Australia, have played "an essential role in the transformation of the Church in Australia into a pagan, goddess-worshipping cult."

Queensland, thoroughly Protestantised and long boasting the lowest Mass attendances in the land, has been their focal point. Bishops who view their increasingly priestless Queensland dioceses as "an opportunity for growth," are quick to accept the dangerous counsel of New Age nuns to move from the geographical parish to small faith communities — "sometimes led by a layperson," as one Sisters of Mercy-designed "blueprint" duly advised the vanishing Diocese of Townsville.

Likoudis summarises the extensive reach and influence of some leaders of the demonic programme:   

  • Sr. Elaine Wainwright, founding professor of theology and chair of the new School of Theology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, a post she assumed in January 2003, after her involvement in a radical feminist goddess ritual at the Womenspace retreat centre became a national scandal.

Her specialty is biblical interpretation "informed by feminist, ecological, and postcolonial hermeneutics," and Sr. Wainwright not only played a major role in the education of Australia’s seminarians over the past 20 years, but was frequently called upon by bishops to lead retreats for priests and bishops.

According to Australian laywoman Christine Howes, "the Catholic people of Brisbane are shocked to see the extent of her continuing influence despite the major scandal at Womenspace. She was called back from New Zealand to speak at a priests’ retreat in October 2003, in the Toowoomba Diocese.

 "She is deconstructing Scripture, training priests, promoting goddess worship on multiple Internet web sites, was a major writer of the Lent 2003 adult education program studied in all parishes in Brisbane, and the children’s Lenten program as well. This program spoke of 'Sophia-Christ' and even carried a picture advertisement for the Sisters of Mercy’s 'earth link' eco-spirituality/witchcraft retreat centre which promotes goddess-worshipping books on its web site."

  • Sr. Anne McLay, a reputed follower of Marian Green [a well-known witch and author of Natural Witchcraft: The Timeless Arts and Crafts of the Country Witch] is the chairman of Brisbane’s Womenspace, a major promoter of goddess spirituality, witchcraft, and other pagan New Age occultic practices, which is owned by the Sisters of the Presentation. The co-chair of Womenspace is Patricia Rose, who holds a doctorate in "goddess worship."

  • Sr. Margie Abbott, is author of Sparks of the Cosmos: Rituals for Seasonal Use, a book which contains 80 rituals to celebrate earth, air, fire, and water. Abbott is also coauthor of Sparks of Life: Rituals for Children, which is designed to teach young people to pray in an "earth-centered" way.

Sr. Abbott, according to her biography in the Australian Catholic Leaders of Religious Institutes, "works part time as a Gender Equity Consultant with the Catholic Education Office Adelaide" and also "edits Join the Circle for MediaCom."

MediaCom is an ecumenical religious communications agency founded in 1980 which produces religious materials for 20,000 churches and individuals, including parish bulletin front covers for Catholic churches.

Despite a 2001 Brisbane Courier-Mail expose detailing the role of Womenspace in promoting Dark Goddess celebrations, goddess chants, and, particularly, the radical feminist theology of Sr. Wainwright, Womenspace continued on promoting occult "women’s spirituality," ignoring a token wrist-slap by their neo-Lutheran Archbishop John Bathersby, who failed to shut down Womenspace offerings such as:

  • "sacred hour" prayer groups "appropriate to any spiritual tradition";
  • "Celtic Guidance with [Sr.] Anne McLay," in which Sr. McLay provides spiritual counseling (at $40.00 per hour) by consulting a Celtic oracle, and reads cards based on the symbolism of Ogham, the ancient Tree Alphabet;
  • Summer solstice rituals;
  • a variety of New Age programs involving "journaling," meditating on the birth process, meditating on the eight chakras, creation spirituality, making dream catchers, enneagram, conscious dreaming, massage, yoga, astrodrama playshop, and circle dancing.

"We have been bewildered that no action has been taken to stop those nuns," said Christine Howes. Not least because the Womenspace centre, as Likoudis notes, is "located within a ten minutes’ drive of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and also of Archbishop John Bathersby’s own residence."

Yet neither the Archbishop’s failure to act against such flagrant diabolism nor the abject state of his infamous archdiocese is the least bewildering. Bishops form the priests and priests form the people. For a logical explanation of events, therefore, we need merely consider Archbishop Bathersby’s own spiritual disorder.

Fittingly, this was revealed by Fr Peter Kennedy, a renowned Brisbane dissident who Bathersby coddled for many years until Rome finally intervened. Kennedy once stated on ABC radio: "John Bathersby himself, as spiritual director in the seminary … introduced Terry and many people to Buddhism." The "Terry" referred to is Fr Terry Fitzpatrick. In a book published in 2009 about Fr Kennedy, a chapter devoted to Fr Fitzpatrick elaborates on a week-long Zen Buddhist retreat for seminarians: 

Fitzpatrick sat on his mat, incense wafting, listening to the eastern bells being rung, and bowed as he had been taught. The sacredness of the practice enthralled him. He was immediately drawn by the contemplative aspect of Buddhism, captured by its beauty. It was unlike anything he had experienced.

But perhaps what is more surprising, in the light of recent events at St Mary’s [Fr Kennedy’s anarchic New Age parish], is that the man he sat next to for eight days on that retreat was the spiritual director of the seminary, Fr John Bathersby, now the archbishop of Brisbane.

After the retreat, Fitzpatrick set up his own Zendo place in the seminary, in a spare room downstairs — a place used for private Masses. The Zen practice had opened a door to contemplation, to being present in any given moment. He learnt how to really sit for meditation, how to empty the mind. He also discovered the concept of embracing paradox. He couldn’t help reflecting on it, and continues to do so decades later. The Zen experience also taught him to respect diversity. [Peter Kennedy: The Man Who Threatened Rome, One Day Hill, 2009]

The Goddess

If they still retained a shred of Catholic faith, the biblical floods which recently devastated Queensland would serve as a belated wake-up call for Archbishop Bathersby and his brethren. For their State is truly a universal paradigm of Modernist cause and effect; pride and disobedience breeding dissent and heresies which, as Fr Gesy explained, give rise to the occult.

Instead of donning sackcloth, however, the Archbishop preferred to grandstand, sending an open letter to the people of Queensland claiming that his allegedly "Catholic community" would pull out all stops to assist the State's recovery. Meanwhile, Benedict XVI sent $50,000 to the relief effort. No amount of money, however, will save that Lutheranised, occult-infested wasteland.

Ironically, Bathersby is asking for the intercession of Australian saint Mary McKillop. But St. Mary's own order, the Sisters of St. Joseph, along with the Presentation Sisters, the Capuchins and the Christian Brothers, are also leading souls into New Age religion based on worship of the elements and pagan spirits and deities. In particular, this involves the propagation of the Goddess myth, which is seriously compromising Australian Catholics despite its recasting God the Father as a symbol of oppression, viewing the crucified and risen Christ as an irrelevance, and presenting the Church as one of the prime villains in history.

The influence of the Goddess worshippers can be seen on a many fronts, says Likoudis. For example, many churches, as a matter of custom, contain "pagan blessing trees" — dead tree limbs festooned with red, large yellow, green, and blue ribbons. Also, prayers — even official prayers such as that used for the success of Brisbane's Archdiocesan Synod 2003 — omit any reference to "God" or the traditional formulary "through Jesus Christ our Lord," but rather refer to the "Holy Spirit of Fire ... [to] help us recognize wisdom even from unlikely sources."

The notion of the Goddess is also insinuated into Catholic minds through Church art, architecture, prayer, and catechesis.

So who precisely is this ubiquitous figure?

She is, in short, the imaginary deity and symbol of a new religion which sees itself in opposition to all that Christianity has represented over the past 18 centuries in which it has been a dominant presence in Western civilization. What then is she doing in the Church. ...

She is not simply there as 'God in a skirt,' a device for describing the biblical God in more gender-balanced terms. On the contrary, the Goddess is being used as a vehicle for changing the nature of the Christian religion from within. With her Wiccan, neopagan, and ultimately occult ancestry, the Goddess stands for an entire alternative body of beliefs and practices.

According to her own devotees, the Goddess is an immanent, pantheistic deity; transcendence itself is derided as a stereotypically male notion which denies the value of the self and the world. Being immanent, she is to be known through neither revelation nor reason, but through subjective intuitive experiences. Such experiences are to be sought in many ways, ranging from neopagan magical ceremonies to the active exploration of multiform sexuality as a sort of spiritual exercise. Moral norms are also subjective and intuitive, guided only by the so-called Wiccan Rede, "An ye harm none, do what ye will."

Concluding this explanation in the July 2000 New Directions magazine, author Philip G. Davis wonders if the "theological education of the people of God is so lacking that too few recognize the radical departure from received truth which the
Goddess represents."

Stupefying ignorance

There is no doubt about it. Among Catholics high and low, Modernist decimation of orthodox faith and belief has produced stupefying ignorance of the nature and dangers of the occult.

In September 2006, The Times of India reported that "the principal, a dozen staff members and about 250 students from the prestigious Loreto Convent School in Lucknow (the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh) were privy to a special occult session during which a medium transformed into Christ and blessed them." It related how a priest and the school’s principal, a Loreto nun, conducted the session during which a rickshaw-puller from a local Cult served as a medium to bring Jesus to "heal and bless" the gathering. He went around grunting and growling, making hissing sounds while "inducing" Jesus to enter his body. He then started shuddering and collapsed.

"During the session, a dozen students fainted and a couple needed medical attention," said the Times. "Most girls were either horrified or too shocked to explain the phenomenon." The head nun, however, described it as a "holy experience." She explained, "It is not unusual to be terrified when the Lord comes before you. Even I was frightened. It is very painful when Jesus enters his body. That is why he was writhing on the ground."

Addressing the media concerning the occult session, the Loreto School’s community leader, Sister Tressia, said that their intention was the "spiritual and emotional development of children. It was a prayer experience." She added that "they just wanted their students to experience the power of God as the spiritual development would help children."

Even worse, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India claimed that the events were "totally blown out of proportion," stating that the occult session was organized "in good faith" and was merely "a prayer meeting in the school premises," even though "a few children fainted due to exhaustion"!

Vatican warning

From Australia to India to America, episcopates all over remain blind or indifferent to the naked face of evil within the Church. Diabolically disoriented and ecumenically neutered, serious Vatican warnings and critiques like Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age' [JCBWL] are surely incomprehensible to very many prelates and the souls they have betrayed. 

A 90-page document published in 2003, JCBWL analyzes the context in which the New Age has arisen, as well as its characteristics, and contrasts it with Christian spirituality, ending with a glossary of New Age terms. Upon its release, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, then president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, explained that "the New Age means the age of Aquarius. It is an astrological concept, according to which the age of Pisces, which was that of Christ, has developed and is now passing to the age of Aquarius, in which everything is gentle, there are no longer the rigours of Christianity, everything is based on harmony with creation, with the cosmos."

The document warns us that Catholics who read New Age books or go to New Age meetings should be taught that they are in serious danger of being lured into "a form of false worship." The "New Age" teacher may be disingenuous, irrational and "mystical," attacking Christian beliefs while avoiding serious discussion about the issues.

When presenting JCBWL to the press, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, described "the New Age phenomenon" as "one of the most urgent challenges for the Christian faith." With its doctrines on God, man and the world, which are "incompatible with the Christian faith," the New Age "is a religious challenge," he said, but “at the same time, a cultural challenge ... [the] symptom of a culture in profound crisis and a mistaken answer to the present situation of crisis."

According to the Cardinal, the Church must respond to this situation by proposing Christian doctrine first of all, with "clarity and discernment" and, at the same time, by welcoming "people seeking meaning." This requires "a pastoral program directed to the specific culture of modern and postmodern societies, which give birth to the New Age phenomenon."

The ready-made means for teaching basic Christian doctrine with absolute "clarity," both to the dumbed-down Catholic masses and anyone "seeking meaning" is, of course, the incomparable and timeless Penny Catechism Yet that first protective step in a fuller response to the New Age "challenge" is too elementary and clear cut for postconciliar bishops. Their preference is for fuzzy "pastoral" verbiage in keeping with the lengthy and often ambiguous texts of Vatican II (by far the most verbose Council in the history of the Church).  

The New Age relies on such Modernist complexity and confusion to subvert moral and doctrinal clarity. Alas, the liberal pedigree of our present pontiff often facilitates this process, sending contradictory and confusing signals to the faithful. On 24 July 2009, for instance, in the Italian cathedral of Aosta, he managed to undermine the Vatican's New Age warning.  

Teilhard

Reflecting on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Pope Benedict explained Christ's sacrifice as being necessary not in order to effect the taking away of original sin, but rather as a "river" or ocean of goodness, truth, and love which became incarnate in order to counter the river or ocean of evil.

God must enter into this world in order to set against the ocean of injustice a larger ocean of goodness and of love. And this is the event of the Cross: from that moment, against the ocean of evil, there exists a river that is boundless, and so ever mightier than all the injustices of the world, a river of goodness, truth, and love. Thus God forgives, coming into the world and transforming it so that there may be a real strength, a river of goodness wider than all the evil that could ever exist.

The Holy Father then described his reflection as "the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host."

That brief statement ignited controversy. The press, of course, missed the possible doctrinal implications of the Pope’s explanation of the Incarnation and Calvary [see "Point of Departure," CO, March 2004, for a study of then-Cardinal Ratzinger's peculiar take on original sin — www.christianorder.com]. Predictably, they seized instead on the positive reference to French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, whose quasi-mystical, quasi-scientific evolutionary writings have been repeatedly condemned by the Church as a danger to the Faith. In 1962, seven years after his death, the Vatican officially warned that his pantheistic works "abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine." Liberal journalist John Allen commented:

Though offered only in passing, and doubtless subject to over-interpretation, Benedict's line nevertheless triggered headlines in the Italian press about a possible "rehabilitation" of Teilhard, sometimes referred to as the "Catholic Darwin." That reading seemed especially tempting since, as a consummate theologian, Benedict is aware of the controversy that swirls around Teilhard, and would thus grasp the likely impact of a positive papal reference.

At the very least, the line seemed to offer a blessing for exploration of the late Jesuit's ideas. That impression appeared to be confirmed by the Vatican spokesperson, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, who said afterward, "By now, no one would dream of saying that [Teilhard] is a heterodox author who shouldn't be studied."

Teilhard's most prominent living disciple in Italy, lay theologian Vito Mancuso, told reporters that he was "pleasantly surprised" by Benedict's words and that they have "great importance."

The chuffed Mancuso is right that the words have "great importance," but for wholly negative reasons. Teilhard, who died in 1955 at the age of 73, is a veritable patron saint of the very New Age which the Vatican’s 2003 document seeks to counter.

Teilhardian psychic mumbo-jumbo, positing naturalistic evolutionary flux and change, provides a reference point for the anti-dogmatic New Age creed. And yet the late Secretary of State Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, for one, extolled Teilhard in 1981, praising the "astonishing resonance of his research, as well as the brilliance of his personality and richness of his thinking." That arch-Modernists like Casaroli continue to venerate Teilhard speaks volumes.

In contrast, the great philosopher-theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand, a twentieth century champion of the Faith, wrote:

I had an opportunity to speak to Teilhard privately. When our talk touched on St. Augustine, he exclaimed violently: 'Don't mention that unfortunate man; he spoiled everything by introducing the supernatural.' This remark confirmed the impression I had gained of the crass naturalism of his views... It was only after reading several of Teilhard's work's, however, that I fully realized the catastrophic implications of his philosophical ideas and the absolute incompatibility of his theology fiction (as Etienne Gilson calls it) with Christian revelation and the doctrine of the Church.

Teilhard's gnostic gobbledygook not only excites impressionable laity and clerics, like Fr Lombardi, it also supplies Modernist prelates with a pseudo-religious rationale for refashioning Catholic sexual morality according to the dissolute tastes of the modern world. Thus, the pragmatic Vincent Nichols is a Teilhardian apostle of the New Age who doesn't know it. Von Hildebrand makes this clear in Teilhard de Chardin: A False Prophet, appendix to The Trojan Horse in the City of God (1967), as he goes on to compare the Christian faith with Teilhard’s antithetical approach to religion: 

Christian revelation presupposes certain basic natural facts, such as the existence of objective truth, the spiritual reality of an individual person, the radical difference between spirit and matter, the difference between body and soul, the unalterable objectivity of moral good and evil, freedom of will, the immortality of the soul, and, of course, the existence of a personal God. Teilhard's approach to all of these questions reveals an unbridgeable chasm between his theology fiction and Christian revelation.

This conclusion inescapably follows from Teilhard's oft repeated arguments for a "new" interpretation of Christianity. Time and again he argues that we can no longer expect modern man, living in an industrialized world and in the scientific age, to accept Christian doctrine as it has been taught for the last 2,000 years. Teilhard's new interpretation of Christianity is fashioned by asking, "What fits into our modern world?" This approach combines historical relativism and pragmatism with a radical blindness to the very essence of religion.

[...] With a religion the only question that can matter is whether or not it is true. The question of whether or not it fits into the mentality of an epoch cannot play any role in the acceptance or the rejection of a religion without betraying the very essence of religion. Even the earnest atheist recognizes this. He will not say that today we can no longer believe in God; he will say that God is and always was a mere illusion. From the position that a religion must be adapted to the spirit of an epoch there is but a short step to the absurd drivel (which we associate with Bertrand Russell or the Nazi ideologist Bergmann) about having to invent a new religion.

New Age totalitarians

This totalitarian tendency intrinsic to the New Age makes it especially appealing to the self-styled mystics of the United Nations, such as Robert Muller. For 40 years the Under-Secretary-General of the UN, where he promoted the New Age movement, Muller has since drawn up a "Framework for Planetary and Cosmic Consciousness." Known as "the father of global education," he bases the "World Core Curriculum" of his Robert Muller School on the teachings of Masonic Theosophist Alice Bailey and her "Ascended Master" Djwhal Khul — an occult spirit who supposedly channelled knowledge to Bailey. On 30 March 1995, in a passage of textbook Teilhardian cant, Muller stated that the UN should rule the planet:

The United Nations is the biological metaorganism of the human species. We have now the birth of a global nervous system. We are beginning to have a global heart, be it only our love for nature, to preserve this earth — this planet of ours — and we will also see the birth of a global soul. Whoever will understand that we are a part of the universe and of evolution — that we are cells of a total humanity. We should replace the word politics by planetics. We need the planetary management, planetary caretakers. We need global sciences. We need a science of a global psychology, a global sociology, a global anthropology.

This recalls Teilhard’s process of "psychic convergence," leading to the development of a collective psyche and to a super organism with its own psyche — a "thinking planet" and "the very soul of the earth." A theological Mr Spock exploring fantastical outposts of his pantheistic universe, Teilhard called this organism "the noosphere"! Truly, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry himself never matched Teilhard's hilarious sci-fi lexicon! 

Like Robert Muller, however, Teilhard was deadly serious. As are the fellow-travelling French Masons who speak in similar socialist terms of "assimilating Christianity and other current forms of spirituality" so that "the world of the future will be established and, if allowed, principles analogous to the phenomenon of total collectivism will be systematically taught and a form of pantheism will be born, wherein all the modes of present day thinking will be blended; united into a new, inconceivable dynamism to achieve their objectives" [The New Montinians, 1977].

Von Hildebrand explains Teilhard's contribution to this pantheistic-collectivist vision of a neo-Marxist world religion:

In a letter in 1952 Teilhard wrote: "As I love to say, the synthesis of the Christian God (of the above) and the Marxist God (of the forward) – behold! that is the only God whom henceforth we can adore in spirit and in truth."

In this sentence the abyss separating Teilhard from Christianity is manifest in every word. To speak of a Marxist God is very surprising to say the least, and would never have been accepted by Marx. But the idea of a synthesis of the Christian God with an alleged Marxist God, as well as the simultaneous application of the term "God" to Christianity and to Marxism, demonstrates the absolute incompatibility of Teilhard's thought with the doctrine of the Church. Note, moreover, the words "henceforth" and "can." They are the key to Teilhard's thinking and expose unmistakably his historical relativism.

In Christian revelation, the stress is laid on the sanctification and salvation of every individual person, leading to the beatific vision and, simultaneously, the communion of saints. In Teilhard's theology, the stress is laid on the progress of the earth, the evolution leading to Christ-Omega. There is no place for salvation through Christ's death on the Cross, because man's destiny is part of pancosmic evolution.

Teilhard's conception of man and his implicit denial of free will, his tacit amoralism and his totalitarian collectivism cut him off from Christian revelation — and this notwithstanding his efforts to reconcile his views with the Church's teaching. He writes: "Yes, the moral and social development of humanity is indeed the authentic and natural consequence of organic evolution." For such a man, original sin, redemption, and sanctification can no longer have any real meaning. Note that Teilhard does not seem quite aware of this incompatibility: "Sometimes I am a bit afraid, when I think of the transposition to which I must submit my mind concerning the vulgar notions of creation, inspiration, miracle, original sin, resurrection, etc., in order to be able to accept them." That Teilhard applies the term "vulgar" — even if not in the pejorative sense — to the basic elements of Christian revelation and their interpretation by the infallible magisterium of the Church should suffice to disclose the gnostic and esoteric character of his thought.

 He writes to Leontine Zanta: "As you already know, what dominates my interest and my preoccupations is the effort to establish in myself and to spread around a new religion (you may call it a better Christianity) in which the personal God ceases to be the great neolithic proprietor of former times, in order to become the soul of the world; our religious and cultural stage calls for this."

Not only, then, is the Christ of the Gospels replaced by a Christ-Omega, but also the God of the old and new covenants is replaced by a pantheistic God, "the soul of the world" — and again on the strength of the unfortunate argument that God must be adapted to the man of our scientific age.

It is no wonder that Teilhard reproaches St. Augustine for having introduced the difference between the natural and the supernatural. In Teilhard's pantheistic and naturalistic "religion" there is no place for the supernatural or the world of grace. For him, union with God consists principally in assimilation into an evolutionary process — not in the supernatural life of grace which is infused in our souls through baptism.

Papal complicity

Before all that, one can well understand the reaction of philosopher Etienne Gilson. During correspondence with noted Teilhardian Henri de Lubac, SJ, he declared: "Myself, I'd a hundred times rather be a Lutheran than a Teilhardian." This is tantamount to saying: I’d rather be an honest heretic than a snake oil salesman.

For all his foundational errors which unleashed the rampant subjectivism and individualism at the heart of godless modernity, at least Luther’s new creed was a clear and unapologetic attack on the detested Church of Rome. On the other hand, Teilhard’s faux-mysticism seeks to subvert the Faith from within.

So why on earth would the current Pope give him even the slightest credit? After all, Teilhard's thought had famously revived opinions proscribed by St. Pius X in the decree Lamentabili and the encyclical Pascendi and condemned ex cathedra as heresy or intimately linked to heresies. His ideas and influence were also condemned in Pius XII's 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, and again in the Creed of Paul VI in 1968. Finally, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed its 1962 condemnation of Teilhard’s heretical fantasies in 1981 — just four months before then-Cardinal Ratzinger took over as prefect of the CDF!

During his salad days of Liberal agitation, Benedict himself had been listed by the Holy Office as doctrinally "suspect." Doubt-less, therefore, he harbours a certain sympathy for those who are subject to official condemnation. Hence, soon after his elevation to the papacy, the four hour chat over tea and biscuits at Castel Gandolfo with Hans Kung, a purveyor of heresies long stripped of his right to practise as a Catholic theologian. But just as his personal association with Kung goes back many years, so too his sympathy for Teilhard. As long ago as 1968, in his work Introduction to Christianity, Father Joseph Razinger had argued that Teilhard gave authentic expression to the Christology of St Paul.

On the other hand, John Allen notes that "In a commentary on the final session of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), a young Ratzinger complained that Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, played down the reality of sin because of an overly 'French,' and specifically 'Teilhardian,' influence." It seems to Allen, therefore, that "Benedict finds much to like about Teilhard's cosmic vision, even if he also worries about interpretations at odds with orthodox faith."

If that is the case, he should have recognised the conflicting elements typical of Modernism and shunned Teilhard's work immediately and forever. But since he did not do so (worrying enough!), and given his exclamation of praise at Aosta and his occasional lurching into Teilhard-speak, it seems that Benedict on the contrary finds far more to like than dislike.

In his 2006 Easter homily, for instance, he referred to the theory of evolution, describing the Resurrection as "the greatest 'mutation,' absolutely the most crucial leap into a totally new dimension that there has ever been in the long history of life and its development." He could have been channelling Teilhard, who speaks of an evolving "Cosmic Christ" and "a super-creation" (his "strictly biological" version of grace) which "raises us a further rung on the ladder of cosmic evolution."

Insofar as it affects his personal theological views and so leads others astray, we should be concerned by the Pope’s long held regard for the erring Jesuit. Far from possessing the "great vision" attributed to him by Benedict, according to von Hildebrand the New Age icon is a man who finds "no place for salvation through Christ's death on the Cross, because man's destiny is part of pancosmic evolution." And this in turn renders impossible the Holy Father’s astonishing belief that Teilhard’s Christology reflects that of St Paul. For as Etienne Gilson explains:

The real Saint Paul is the one whose Christ takes away the sins of the world, not the type that would cause a theologian to reject the very possibility of sin. Whoever does not believe in sin has no right to the Christ that Saint Paul believed in. This point is a revealing one because if there is no such thing as a sinful nature, then nature is completely good. Chastity is a curiosity that should be relegated to the antique shop. What we have here is just pure naturalism.

This is the bait he will use to catch all the Christians who secretly aspire to appropriate what naturalism calls freedom while still calling themselves Christians. I wish I could in good conscience think as much of this man as so many Christian theologians do. I absolutely loathe this kind of discussion.

You can't get any benefit or enlightenment from thinking about Teilhard. The ravages that he has wrought that I have witnessed are horrifying. I do everything I can to avoid having to talk about him. People are not content with just teaching him, they preach him. They use him like a siege engine to undermine the Church from within (I am not kidding) and I, for one, want no part of this destructive scheme [Letters of Étienne Gilson to Henri de Lubac, Ignatius Press, 1988].

Gnostic oligarchy

It is a measure of the damage effected by Teilhard, both within and without the Church, that footnote 15 of the 2003 Vatican document on the New Age states that the pantheism and pelagianism rebuked in the text as New Age errors, were in part products of his thought. This footnote cites a poll of prominent New Age luminaries conducted several years before the publication of the document. The only Catholic among the 37 figures they mentioned, these respondents identified Teilhard more often than any other person as the thinker who had launched them on the road to the New Age.

Journalist Farley Clinton neatly captures the self-deception and self-serving of these Teilhard devotees: "Considering themselves lovers of the highest kind of spirituality while disbelieving every Christian doctrine, these people prefer the language of mysticism to the concepts of dogma and liked to talk about 'leaving religion to find God.' They venerate the most obscure Christian mystics but ignore every statement found in the catechism" [Inside the Vatican, June-July 2003].

Priests and scholars of different Vatican dicasteries laboured on the New Age text for more than five years, reported Clinton. And since the document "treats of questions of faith — it has as its object settling difficulties affecting the faith, and explaining what Catholics must shun as attacks on their faith — it was undoubtedly studied with care by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and probably scrutinized several times. That must have taken place, in virtue of the general regulations of the Curia. Thus, the footnote so damning to Teilhard, documenting his importance as a source for many of the leading 'New Age' thinkers, could not have been accidental. Among other things, then, this document is warning Catholics to be cautious about the theological legacy of Teilhard de Chardin." 

Precisely where that leaves Pope Benedict is an open question. For most of us, though, rather than praising Teilhard's "legacy" it is far easier to spoof its many absurd manifestations, as we do in this edition, sending up Hollywood’s latest New Age offering and the sort of declaration we might expect from a future world president in the Robert Muller mould. Insofar as it continues to inform the totalitarian New Age mindset, however, Teilhardism is a very real danger to individual souls and the world at large.

In his review of the Vatican’s New Age critique, Farley Clinton notes, for example, that it "issues the same fundamental criticism, tantamount to an excommunication, that Pius XI pronounced upon Hitler in his anti-Nazi encyclical of March 14, 1937. (Pius XI insisted that by 'faith' the Nazi leaders never meant faith as the Church understands the word. As the 'God' sometimes invoked in the Nazi propaganda was certainly not the God who is proclaimed and served by the Church, and as from start to finish in its use of religious language the Nazi government violently opposed the very idea of God taught in the Church, Pope Pius XI insisted that Catholics could not possibly accept this language or those who used it.)"

John B. Shea similarly warns of the real dangers inherent in the underlying gnosticism of New Agers like Teilhard and his adherents, who do not speak of the teaching authority of the Catholic Church or of its tradition. Rather,

[Teilhard’s] dominant teaching ... is the law of Complexity/Consciousness. It is a new gnosis, a new saving knowledge. This gnosis, they tell us, will lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven. In short, they teach a new religion, which has become the religion of a new society. This society is in danger of becoming dominated by a globalist oligarchy composed of an elite, who have mastered the emerging biomolecular and quantum computing technologies. This new religion worships humanity, and it is one in which morality is determined by the powerful alone ["Prophets of Pantheism," lifeissues.net, 2000].

The prayer which opened the global warming summit in Cancun last December is a typically ominous portent of this increasing New Age gnosticism among the eco-elite. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and a native of Costa Rica, opened the two-week summit involving 193 countries with an invocation to the ancient Mayan jaguar goddess Ixchel, saying that Ixchel was "the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you — because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools. Excellencies, ... I am convinced that 20 years from now, we will admire the policy tapestry that you have woven together and think back fondly to Cancun and the inspiration of Ixchel."

This is the political trend, even in America. Less than 40 years after Norman Greenbaum wrote his tongue-in-cheek hit, not one of the 100 US Senators objected on the record when the Senate was opened on 12 July 2007 with an actual invocation to the Spirit in the Sky. "We meditate on that transcendental deity supreme who is inside the heart of us and inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heavens," prayed a Hindu chaplain, officially renting the veil of "One Nation Under God" — the one true God of the American Christians, that is, without Whom there is only chaos.

When Ante Pavkovic, a senior figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, together with his wife and daughter spoke out politely against this outrageous invocation, they were arrested and jailed for disturbing the Senate. Such violent overreaction, a worrying trend throughout the West, is putting us all on notice: the implacable gods of the New Age brook no dissent; they will be worshipped, by force if necessary — even unto human sacrifice en masse, as the bloody sacrificial offerings required by the false gods of the Nazis and today's abortion industry both cruelly attest. 

Heretical endgame

Alas, there will be few Pavkovic families to resist the idolatry. Pervasive Lutheranism and the more ancient Pelagianism revived by Teilhard — a heresy that denies original sin and so rejects the need for redemption through Calvary — have done their dastardly work. The fulminating German heresiarch and the heretical French sci-fi writer stand condemned before the theologically illiterate, spiritually confused and utterly vulnerable worldlings they have spawned. For just as Martin Luther, though not a modern man any more than he was a Protestant in its latter-day sense, embodies the rebellious spirit at the heart of a modern world soaked in Star Trek theology, so Père Teilhard stands as the personification of the end product: the naturalistic New Age man shouting incomprehensible drivel to drown out the voice of objective Catholic truth and magisterial authority (the bête noire of Protestants and totalitarians alike).

This Protestant-New Age endgame was neatly summarized in the chastening response of an American Episcopalian blogger to his naive brethren distraught over the dissolute state of their "Church" on the eve of the 2008 Anglican Lambeth conference:

Have you still not learned? THERE IS NO SIN. Sin has been abolished. Every sin has already been wiped off the books. We are all going to Heaven. So there can be no sinners on the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

Oh, yes. There is no Righteousness, and there is no Judgment either. Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment have been stricken from the Canon. Forget the Old Testament. Forget the New Testament. Forget the Ancient Creeds. We know Jesus directly now, as He guides us into new true truth about how gay is good.

All that is left to believe in is the Holy, Immutable (until mutated), and Infallible Rulings of the General Conventions of The Episcopal Church. So where does this leave us? According to The Episcopal Church, we do not walk in repentance. We do not need the constant renewal from the Word of God. The Jesus Who spent His entire earthly life living out the Scriptures is a myth. We have a new Jesus now, and we walk a new path, and it is glorious.

The One, True, historical person, born of a Virgin in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, crucified on Golgotha, bodily raised from the dead on the third day, is no more. We do not need to hear about Him. He is so ... well ... yesterday. Now Jesus is whatever Jesus is in your own heart.

The Episcopal Church may be a new path. But its connections with historic Christianity are now limited to its ability to borrow liturgical terms from Christianity and redefine them in accordance with [UN] Millennium Development Goals and the Holy Social Gospel.

Beam me up, Scotty!

Is it any wonder that several decades after the release of his song, Norman Greenbaum could truly observe: "It sounds as fresh today as when it was recorded. I’ve gotten letters from funeral directors telling me that it’s their second-most-requested song to play at memorial services, next to 'Danny Boy'."

A classic one-hit wonder, Norman himself disappeared from sight. But as the world retreated from Christ and Satan infiltrated the Church, laying waste to moral, doctrinal and sacramental barriers to his "spiritual" seductions, Greenbaum's hymn to sinless New Age man lived on with ever greater relevance. And make no mistake, it's coming soon to a Requiem near you! Altogether now:

Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die,
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best,
When I lay me down to die
Goin' up to the spirit in the sky ...

 

 

 

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