Monday, February 16, 2009

USF Update: Fr. Richard Rohr to Visit

From various sources comes the news that Fr. Richard Rohr will be hosting a seminar at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco this Sunday, February 22.

When an event is publicized on the "Oasis California News Blog", the blog of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and "Transgender" Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California, alarm bells should go off. (The February edition of the "Oasis" blog also informs us that "King David was gay" and urges people to go to Sacramento this Wednesday to protest Proposition 8.)

Reading the USF events page, Fr. Rohr's talk sounds harmless enough:

"Richard Rohr's Sunday afternoon talk will explore the little known or understood role of silent prayer (Contemplation) in the 21st Century, suggesting that in relating to God in this way, one is gradually open and capable of becoming a new person, seeing the world with the eyes and heart of Christ, relating to all peoples in oneness of spirit and therefore encouraging and nurturing one's everyday actions to grow out of and be guided by this spiritual transformation."

But dig a little deeper and some disturbing facts come to light:

• On October 8, 2000, Fr. Rohr sent a letter to "Soulforce," commending them for their opposition to Church teaching:

"At last we have a group of dedicated Christians who are willing to use disciplined and Christian means of nonviolent protest against its church's failure to live the Gospel. Christians outside the mainstream did this in the abolitionist movement against slavery, in the civil rights movement against racism, and in the antiwar movement. Eventually, in each case, the church, like Peter running late to the tomb, acknowledged that these were indeed Gospel positions.

SOULFORCE must take the role of John the Beloved, who runs swiftly to the tomb, because that is what love always does. But both of us will find there the Risen Christ who always reigns and transforms human history, but never without our "let it be." Our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered brothers and sisters have been left outside of his realm of grace for far too long. We can do so much better, and we will. I thank SOULFORCE for its courage, dedication, and proclamation of Christian nonviolence in the pursuit of justice and truth.

Yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M."

Harmless? Less than a month later, Soulforce (teaming up with "Diginity USA") issued this press release attacking Catholic teaching, and publicizing a direct action in front of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. That press release cited Fr. Rohr's letter of support.

Just who or what is "Soulforce?" They are a group of homosexual activists committed to changing Church teaching on the homosexuality.

For Soulforce's position on same-sex "marriage," go here. There are 29 pages of links to articles. For their position on Proposition 8, go here and here.

Certainly, it would be unfair to cite a single letter Fr. Rohr wrote eight years ago as a reason to find his presence objectionable.

But on September 11-13, 2009, Fr. Rohr will be the Facilitator of a "retreat for former male religious and resigned priests who are gay" to be held in Marriotsville, Maryland. The event is listed on the "Gay Catholic Forum" a clearinghouse for all things anti-Catholic, as far as homosexuality is concerned. (The site also feature homilies by USF's Executive Director of University Ministry, Fr. Donal Godfrey.)

Even that might not necessarily be objectionable, except for the fact that the retreat is being sponsored by New Ways Ministry. New Ways Ministry is pretty well known; still, a look at their "Next Steps: Developing Lesbian/Gay Ministry" action plan is helpful.

"This weekend of prayer, presentations, dialogue, and planning is designed to assist those seeking ways to include lesbian/gay people and issues in their home parishes, schools, or other ministerial settings."

"Include" lesbian/gay people? All they have to do is come to Mass and confession, like everybody else. What New Ways Ministry wants is for the Church to change it's teaching on homosexualitry. If they are sponsoring a retreat, you can pretty much be sure that is its final end.

• Fr. Rohr dips into politics, as well, and quite passionately. Here are two "Inauguration Day Reflections," the first from 2004, the second from 2008. In both he seems carried away: in the first by bitterness, in the second by idolatry.

Here's an excerpt from Fr. Rohr's essay following the 2004 Presidential elections.

"We want body morality, not really a demanding Biblical morality. No concern about social values, or justice values, or basic truthfulness, just puritanical concern for keeping human bodies so called "pure," by preoccupation with issues like abortion, those terrible gays, and stem cell research. All of which can be addressed by a more nuanced morality." (Emphasis added).

And here's a bit of Fr. Rohr's reaction to the 2008 Presidential election:

"Brothers, I am sure many of us are struck by the overwhelming worldwide response and hope that is being generated by the new presidency of Barack Obama. From our own male archetype background, I cannot but help read this phenomenon in the light of our understanding of the king, the warrior, the lover, and the wise man. I think this man holds all four archetypes, and to an amazing degree! We usually say you cannot be a king before 50, but Obama is clearly a young king and far ahead of his time...

Even if he does not achieve quick victory against all of the problems created by our greed and arrogance, his presence is already healing and hopeful. ("Each time he leans down to kiss his little daughters and his wife, a thousand single women and fatherless girls are healed") How can one pay or give thanks for such life energy?"

Fr. Rohr does point out that President Obama is "not the Messiah."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

Thank you for your comments about the errors of Father Rohr. What are we to do when these speakers visit a diocese and we know that they teach error? Father Rohr

will be speaking in our diocese. Note the lectures and retreats that are offered in our diocese....they do not even resemble the Catholic Faith. Thank you and God bless.

Anonymous said...

These comments are a perfect illustration of the unkindness and self-righteousness of so many right wingCatholics - a great shame that so few of you were able to tap into Rohr's message of love and forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:56:

We don't need to go to Father Rohr for that. We can get it lots of places without the unnaceptable baggage Rohr brings.

Gibbons in SF

Anonymous said...

So sad that committed Catholic priests and lay people are deceived by the likes of Richard Rohr! Scripture says that in the end times, sound doctrine will not be tolerated. So much for this culture of "tolerance." All the hurdles I jumped and inner turmoil I experienced as an Evangelical convert to come in to THIS kind of "Catholicism" tolerated by most Catholics ... it can be very discouraging at times, but my loyalty is to Christ and His Church!