Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, May 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 40 Comments
What say we pay another visit to Roman Catholic turned Episcopalian turned God-only-knows-what-these-days Matthew Fox, or as some of us like to refer to him, Christianity’s Senile Grandfather? What’s Matt been up to lately? Quite a bit, actually. Seems he’s got a book on Pope Benedict XVI coming out:
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, and how the devastation the past two papacies has wrought can be a blessing in disguise to reinvent Christianity for a third millennium.
Matt’s got issues with Benedict.
An internationally acclaimed theologian who was a member of the Dominican Order for thirty-four years, Matthew Fox was forbidden to teach theology by the then-cardinal in 1988 and was later dismissed from the order. Now he presents insights from his twelve-year, up-close-and-personal battle with Ratzinger, tracing the historical roots of degradation in the Church and offering a new way to understand why Benedict XVI is mired in crisis as pope.
Fox begins with Ratzinger’s life story as a youth and as an upcoming theologian at the Second Vatican Council as well as his “conversion” from progressive thinker to ecclesial climber and chief inquisitor. Also covered are eight of the 110 theologians that Ratzinger silenced and denounced. He next turns to Ratzinger’s allies—Opus Dei,
Cool! Albino monks!
the Legion of Christ, and Communion and Liberation—three of the special groups that he praised and protected for years while attacking theologians and spiritual movements that did not fit his criteria of über right-wing politics and religiosity.
Let’s just say that you took your worst break-up WAY better than Matt took getting run from the Dominicans.
As Bruce Chilton points out in his Forward, I am not just a pundit; I am not a journalist per se. I am a theologian.
Of what, I have no idea.
As a theologian I am trying to ponder how the recent events of Catholic history can be seen through the eyes of the Holy Spirit. Is there some good that come out of so much anguish, so much betrayal, so much disappointment with the false direction the church has taken under Pope John Paul II and Ratzinger? And I come to a clear conclusion that Yes, the Holy Spirit is still at work in the events of deconstruction and reconstruction that are at hand. It is time to restart the church. Let many of its forms go; let them die as they are doing.
And then what? Replace them with this hippie crap?
The fact that I stepped out of the Roman Catholic box so that I could think and act more true to my conscience some sixteen years ago gives me more freedom to tell the truth as I see it. I know many Roman Catholic theologians and sisters and priests who are too busy looking over their shoulders, too engrossed in surviving in a closed system, too weighed down by the “chill” of heresy hunters to be able to speak their truth. Since the Vatican used the Dominican Order to expel me some sixteen years ago, I am not part of that “chill” that has descended on theology in the church at this moment in history.
Matt’s old standby. Mention all these people who agree with Matt but aren’t as brave as he is. Doesn’t much matter whether they actually exist or not what with Matt being as religiously important as he is.
Also, my work for forty-some years has been in spirituality, not in ecclesiology as such. Thus my thirty books bring to the fore, I believe, the most important direction that religion needs to go in its reconstruction—that is spirituality, the experiential dimension of religion. The mystical-prophetic tradition I have been recovering including the Cosmic Christ, Hildegard, Aquinas, Eckhart, Julian and others, together with today’s post-modern science, offers new and deeper expressions of healthy religion. They are among the treasure to take from the burning building.
The old coot’s intellectually invested in this twaddle so I guess that’s why he doesn’t seem to realize that people with actual brains are laughing at him.
The fact that I relay my conversation with Fr. Schillebeeckx in which he used the “S” word is very important. The “S” word rarely gets used these days but I think that Schism properly summarizes what the past two papacies have been about. They deliberately turned their back on a valid Ecumenical Council and in doing so are in schism. This means that its appointed cardinals and bishops are in schism. They do not represent the lineage of the church. This opens up whole new possibilities of seeing the church anew. All the Yes men and sycophants that have lined up at the papal trough for a piece of the power these recent decades are seen for what they are in their transparent reality.
Roman Catholic Church? If you’re reading this, and I know you are, I’ve got your next American ad campaign for you. “The Roman Catholic Church. We’re so awesome that we can even split from ourselves!”
How would that work ontologically? Did John Paul II nail up 95 theses somewhere and then excommunicate himself? Or did Benedict posthumously excommunicate John Paul later and then go through that whole beatification thing to throw off the laity?
I mean, what’s the point of having a schism at all if people don’t know about it? John Calvin didn’t write the Institutes and then file them away for safe keeping. Still, I guess the Vatican had a lot on its plate the last decade or so what with ordering the election of George W. Bush in 2004.
When Ratzinger interfered in the US presidential election of 2004 by telling bishops to publicly announce that a Roman Catholic voter cannot vote for a politician (i.e. Kerry) who favors women’s choice and the vote of three states (Iowa, Ohio and New Mexico) was determined by that intervention as studies show, then the fact that the Vatican got Bush elected his second term is of concern for all.
The Vatican. Ordered the election. Of a United States president. Who’s a Methodist. Either you snackeral mappers are the craftiest people in the history of the world or you’re pretty much at the bottom of the World Domination Conspiracy standings and you’re looking at some long-term rebuilding.
Anyway, you get the idea. Let’s see, what else? The doddering old fool is posting theses again. At the Vatican this time. The following will give you some idea of how well that went for him.
I especially wonder if Stephano the filmer got the attack by the Vatican thugs of the second film maker on film?
Matt’s got a rich fantasy life, you have to give him that.
How right Barbara was about 1) Vatican police dictating orders to Roman police and 2) the thugs that are policing the Vatican these days. Just as I learned after my Wittenberg action how much darker the Vatican was than I had anticipated, so with this Italian, Roman, action, I learned how much darker still were the forces and veritable police state ruling not only Vatican City but, in many respects, Rome itself. Penny Lernoux’ words are chilling: “Ratzinger is only a front man for the German-Polish mafia,” she said. Or Barbara’s words: “The Vatican is run by a gang of mafia thugs.”
Told you my man has issues.
Our videographers and photographers were taking pictures of the police videographers and photographers and vice versa. It was like a scene from old East Germany. The Stasi. That was the feeling emanating from the Vatican police.
Before we began, one man came up to me who was about 44 years old and said: “I no longer call myself a Catholic but simply a Christian.”
Nah, he was 46 if he was a day.
Their final act was to keep the thug Vatican cops demanding my papers engaged while one of their group quietly slipped away, came rapidly up to me and said “walk away fast” to the taxi stand at the side of the church.
Prolly cranked up some Judas Priest on the way back to the hotel, dincha? “Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law…” Anyhoo, emetic fans might enjoy this. A megalomanical old fraud writes another megalomanaical old fraud.
Your book, Original Blessing, was the work that first brought you to my attention. It was in many ways a breathtaking book because it challenged the core of the primary interpretative Christian myth that proclaimed the basic fallen sinfulness of human life. That myth had been used historically primarily to enhance the power of the institutional church and its ordained hierarchy. In the service of that myth the church was destined first and foremost to be the dispenser of guilt. Someone has observed that the church “does guilt” more successfully does anything else, and guilt is, as one person noted. “ the gift that keeps on giving .”
To convince people of their on unworthiness is step one in creating a controlling mentality, especially when the church claims to be the only dispenser of forgiveness. It was also this definition of human life as fallen and hopeless that inspired the interpretation of the Christ as the Divine Rescuer. This, in turn, caused Christians to view the cross as a human sacrifice which would be pleasing to God who required a blood offering in order to restore the fallen world. It was and is a strange way to tell the story of the love of God found in Jesus Christ, but for centuries we Christians seemed to know no others. Finally, and in no small measure because of your work, we awakened to the reality that this way of proclaiming Christ presented us with a God more grotesque than worship worthy.
This gets even dumber so I’d stop right there if I were you.