Friday, October 19, 2007

NZ Bishops Fighting over a Woman?

Back in July, we all read this from the Land of the Lond White Cloud:
The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Barry Jones, is opposing a visit by a controversial feminist nun from the United States.

He has written to priests saying that next week's visit by Benedictine nun Sister Joan Chittister is unauthorised.

Permission for the event had not been sought or given, and Jones did not want it promoted through Catholic churches.

"The point is that silence generates the misunderstanding that this is all approved, when it's not. I have made my position clear to the priests," he said.


Now we read this from Wel-com, the Catholic Newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Dioceses:
Sophia welcomed Archbishop John Dew’s ‘mature approach’ in sanctioning Sr Joan Chittister’s visit to the diocese. We affirmed his openness to the many contemporary views of church in this post modern world and how they kindle the growth of personal and communal spirituality.
Do I detect some dissension in the ranks of the New Zealand Bishops' Conference?

The article concludes with this tantalising cliff-hanger to get you to read the next exciting edition of Wel-com: "Next month we will look at Joan Chittister’s seven deadly sins." We wait with baited breath...

32 Comments:

At Saturday, October 20, 2007 12:48:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Joan also emphasised the importance of relationship—a central concept of eco-feminism. When people are in genuine relationship, domination and exploitation cannot exist. She believes that more nurturing of the earth might have happened if Christian theology had emphasised the creation story in Genesis 2, which calls for relationship with all creatures rather than that of Genesis 1 with its focus on domination—the way of the weak. She ended with an eco-feminist challenge to women who have experienced domination to be the prime movers in seeking ecological justice for Earth.

Well, this does resonate with me because I lived on three continents before I was even 12 years old and I have a deep love for all that lives and breathes. That we've failed in our relationship with creation as well as within humanity is beyond doubt.

But ... I have a problem with the good sister's overoptimistic view that women can makes things right in a way that men have failed to do. History from the beginning to today shows that women can be just as avaricous, scheming and greedy (and yes, cruel) as men. She keeps leaving out that little business of "sin" and how it has affected everything.

As for the "exclusivity" of Christianity, she'll have to take that up with the One who proclaims to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Her rose-colored universalism is never going to work in this fallen world. Nothing short of the parousia will cure it.

Meanwhile, we by all means should love God and neighbor and do what we can to heal the results of the Fall until the Lord ushers in the new heavens and earth where suffering and death will be no more.

 
At Saturday, October 20, 2007 8:22:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Sounds like "Rome sweet home" to me, just as I remember it.

Thanks but no thanks.

 
At Monday, October 22, 2007 11:49:00 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Past Elder, Joan Chittister is not "the Catholic Church".

That doesn't mean that some of her views don't have merit.

With the beautiful and spiritually nourishing liturgy I experienced this past Sunday and a thoroughly catholic homily, I can again reiterate unequivocally that I am still very glad that I am a Catholic.

I don't know just how long you intend to keep going round and round with the same old statements. Can we at least have something new?

This is getting so old.

 
At Wednesday, October 24, 2007 11:17:00 am , Blogger Jeff Tan said...

(I don't understand the exchange above between Pastor Elder and Anonymous, so..)

Wasn't there a book published maybe last year about a heterodox bias in New Zealand?

Sr. Joan is indeed a notorious one among orthodox writers/bloggers in America. I've read only a little of what she says, and they can be disappointing, to say the least. She seems quite dismissive of any form of authority, and I am always turned off by lack of humility disguised as wit and wisdom. Orthodoxy carries little weight with her, and a few months ago, I think she was lauding the Episcopal church as a role model for the Church to adopt, in terms of female and possibly on the basis also of openly homosexual (and co-habitting) clergy.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 2:17:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Sister Joan is one of those "Benedictines" who operate quite independently of the Magisterium (so much for our "dogmatically unfettered" Pope). There's no doubt that she wants to remold the Catholic Church - I think even the Episcopalians aren't liberal enough for her. She's well on her way (if not de facto) a universalist. So what's new? The Church has always had heretics and good Sister Joan and her greying heads are moving off the scale and operating on the fringe of the Church.

I looked around at my parish last Sunday and was so gratified to see many young families, with children, singles, marrieds, the elderly -- a truly universal gathering of Christ's people. Sister Joan wouldn't even get a hearing there. Our Benedictine pastors preach the Gospel, in season and out, faithful to the magisterium and deeply concerned for their flock's spiritual welfare.

"Green" issues are becoming the concern of all faith traditions, however and the concept of "dominion" is one we will surely have to address if the planet is to heal from past abuses.

If God has dominion over me -- I sure don't want it to be the kind that has sometimes been imposed on creation by humanity. Our greed and callousness are sins before the One to whom it all belongs.

Fedor Dostoevski said it so well:

"Love all God's creation,
the whole and every grain of sand in it.

Love every leaf, every ray of God's light.

Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.

If you love everything,
you will perceive the divine mystery in things.

Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend
it better everyday.

And you will come at last to love the whole world
with an all-embracing love."

Amen.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 2:42:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Um, one more thought I forgot to add -- as good Sister Joan and her ilk fade out monastic renewal will come from the places like the new Benedictine Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek here in Oklahoma:

http://www.clearcreekmonks.org/

They've already got a waiting list of men wanting to enter.

Glory to God.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:28:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Sorry, meant to make that link live
clearcreekmonks

Some beautiful shots of a traditional Benedictine community.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 5:42:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

The illusion that Catholicism is on the ascent since Vatican II and those who appropriated it to their own ends are fading out has got to be a "same old statement" if I ever heard one, and I've been hearing that one for about forty years.

Real monastic renewal will come when these guys get out, get real lives and, as the laity joked in my Benedictine community, find out what poverty, chastity and obedience are REALLY all about.

Not to mention "stability", another Benedictine fiction.

Rock on, Sister Joan!

Don't agree with much she says, but she is what she is clearly and plainly, and I wouldn't be surprised to be in line with her at the heavenly table.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 6:53:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Don't agree with much she says, but she is what she is clearly and plainly, and I wouldn't be surprised to be in line with her at the heavenly table.

Heh, that would never fly in the LCMS. You're showing your Catholic roots.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:59:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh and hey, Past Elder, how do ya like this monastery:

staugustineshouse

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 1:06:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I'm sure Sister Joan could not care less what the LCMS thinks of her.

But I think I read in this big Lutheran book something about humans not being able to look into someone and see if saving faith is there. Part of joining LCMS was to profess my faith in what is stated in that book as a true exposition of Scripture, not faith in LCMS.

If it makes you feel any better, if she shows up for Communion and I'm a distributing Elder, I ain't giving it to her. Not, as my first pastor pointed out at Communion, because we can judge hearts, but because we can't.

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 1:18:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Still up?

Tell then to swim the Tiber and get it over with. They're pretty well there already, Year C and all.

Valparaiso. Figures.

I used to hit the Trappist monastery outside of Dubuque when trying to convince myself it's still the same church.

I'm sure they'd be a big hit back at the Abtei. Pretty much anything but actual Catholicism is.

Hey, we're about to hit archives over at Weedon's Blog!

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 2:15:00 pm , Anonymous Christine said...

Yup, I'm still up. My crazy aging pooch, when he hasn't got his head stuck in the refrigerator every time I open it has to go out many, many times (thank goodness we have a fully fenced yard) or else we find wet spots in the morning. Husband fell asleep on the couch and I didn't have the heart to wake him.

Oh the things I do for love (human and canine)!

No, we can't judge hearts, you are very right about that but we can take the public statements someone makes about himself/herself at face value. Good Sister Joan has made it very clear that historic Christianity is patriarchal, retrograde and in need of updating (Call to Action style). She's not answerable to me, that's for sure, but there is Someone Else ....

I just find it amusing when some Lutherans (I did not have you in mind, though) are "shocked" to discover that there is a Lutheran monastery here in the U.S.

We're about to hit the archives over at Weedon's blog?? Rats, it was becoming so interesting!

Ah well, there will be other occasions.

By the way, did you tell me the name of your new canine companion? I'm always charmed by dogs stealing socks, they enjoy it so much!

I don't want "actual" Catholicism. I want the Catholicism I have right now, vielen Dank!

Guten Abend (oder vieleicht gute Nacht) mein Freund!

 
At Thursday, October 25, 2007 4:13:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Tyco.

My older son came up with than name at the kennel. When either boy goes downstairs for his shower, she stands at the top of the stairs and yowls for them to come back.

For me, after years of a petite poodle Yorkie mix jumping on the bed, the first thing I see with this one is these big German Schnauzer feet coming up.

Soon she will have her first Thanksgiving and Christmas -- complete with turkey from Grandma's, blessed with her "Come, Lord Jesus ..." rather than the LC grace complete with Sign of the Cross we use at home.

Yes, we exactly take the public statements, actions and affiliations a person has at face value rather than judging hearts -- which is why I would deny Sister Joan Communion, but have absolutely no clue whether she trusts the merits of Christ for her salvation and would not in the least be surprised to commune with her at the heavenly table or to see Jerry Kieschnick and Father Godfrey concelebrating.

You're right, I'm not shocked at all to hear about a "Lutheran" monastery. I just put it alongside our local LCMS Willow Creek affiliate megachurch as equal aberrations of the age. Same thing, different style. Maybe there should be a new synod, LINO (Lutheran In Name Only).

Oh wait. There already is. And make no mistake, not to deny the many Lutherans in every best sense of the word in it, who no doubt feel just as I did in the RCC.

Which is really another way to put my only real point here on this blog. The RCC as Catholicism is to me as the ELCA as Lutheranism to you. Or from another angle, suppose I had converted to ELCA as one typically finds it now, and said this is really Lutheranism. This is how the Catholicism those who swim the Tiber find appears to me.

 
At Friday, October 26, 2007 12:16:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Tyco.

My older son came up with than name at the kennel. When either boy goes downstairs for his shower, she stands at the top of the stairs and yowls for them to come back.


Oh, I like the name very much! Sounds like she is totally acclimated to her new home and bonded with everyone.

For me, after years of a petite poodle Yorkie mix jumping on the bed, the first thing I see with this one is these big German Schnauzer feet coming up.

Big Schnauzer feet indeed! One of our former neighbors had several Great Pyrenees dogs. Talk about paws as big as dinner plates (so different from my Chow with his round, cat-like paws).

Soon she will have her first Thanksgiving and Christmas -- complete with turkey from Grandma's, blessed with her "Come, Lord Jesus ..." rather than the LC grace complete with Sign of the Cross we use at home.

Lucky Tyco, she's in for a treat. Oh, and "Come Lord Jesus, be our guest ..." a staple in many Lutheran homes, to be sure and precious coming from the lips of the little ones.

or to see Jerry Kieschnick and Father Godfrey concelebrating.

And wouldn't that make for some interesting conversations among us all!!

You're right, I'm not shocked at all to hear about a "Lutheran" monastery. I just put it alongside our local LCMS Willow Creek affiliate megachurch as equal aberrations of the age. Same thing, different style. Maybe there should be a new synod, LINO (Lutheran In Name Only).

And it's certainly not just some parts of the LCMS -- I was just reading our community bulletin at home and am flabbergasted at how many of our local churches now describe their worship as "modern". Acccck. Move over Joel Osteen, company's coming.


Which is really another way to put my only real point here on this blog. The RCC as Catholicism is to me as the ELCA as Lutheranism to you. Or from another angle, suppose I had converted to ELCA as one typically finds it now, and said this is really Lutheranism. This is how the Catholicism those who swim the Tiber find appears to me.

Well .... yes and no. I didn't really find that much disconnect in the ELCA up until say, the late 1990's between what I had known as a child in other Lutheran bodies, even the LCMS. The "German" presence in most of the Lutheran congregations I knew was also a unifying cultural presence.

I'm glad for LCMS congregations such as Pastor Weedon's that have retained their liturgical and confessional integrity. The fundamentalism that is infecting some of the LCMS is a relatively new thing to me, I didn't see it when I was growing up but then at that time there wasn't the influence of the megaevangelical bodies either.

The Catholicism of my Dad's youth (as in some ways also in Orthodoxy, which reminds me even more of Temple Judaism than current RC practice) was mystical and alluring but in the end too monarchial for my Lutheran upbringing. The transition from the ELCA to the RC with its renewed emphasis on Scripture and the life of the laity proved to be a very good fit for me. Plus, with the Catechism there is no doubt about the official position of the Church on pro-life and other matters and that's something the ELCA needs to recover. Liturgical similarity with the RC didn't prevent her from changing her positions on those issues.

And yes, with David I agree that the authority issue is important. The tyranny of the clergy can be equally matched by the tyranny of the laity at times. Woe to the pastor who crosses the most cherished traditions and beliefs of some of his congregants. It can sometimes lead to a trip to the want ads.

But in the mystery of it all, here we all are, Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodox et al. Jesus, the center, will always hold.

 
At Friday, October 26, 2007 12:19:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh, one more thing -- considering the very high place monasticism occupies in Orthodoxy, especially in the selection of (celibate) Bishops, I'm surprised at your assessment of monastic life.

 
At Friday, October 26, 2007 1:07:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

In reverse order:

I have an abiding admiration for the Orthodox. But I am not Orthodox, and the highly placed, I would say mis-placed, position of monasticism is one of the reasons why. Monasticism is not a uniquely Christian phenomenon, and it represents IMHO another incursion of man's idea of religion into God's.

The "Catechism" did not finally set clearly the Catholic position on abortion. It is one or the areas in which the RCC has not rejected its former self.

But as to the influence of authority, while the RCC is hierarchically "pro-life", the story from the pews is rather different -- "pews" including those in them and those not.

The now and then comparison between ELCA and RCC was meant in a general sense of a church body no longer being what it was.

So who will give Joan communion, Jerry or Godfrey?

 
At Friday, October 26, 2007 3:24:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Tyco clearly understands us to be her pack. But her role in the pack is not Sheba's. Sheba was doggie mom. Tyco is doggie kid. When she got home, her first reaction on being with both boys almost said in so many words Kids! Great! I'm a kid! Let's play! She does not cry when I go downstairs.

The boys are comfortable with both table graces. Sometimes we say them both. I much prefer the LC one, however "Come, Lord Jesus ..." is invariably used at church and family gatherings, and I want them to get the idea that either is really just fine, God didn't lay down any law about it, and if we use the one mostly at home when the other is used nobody is doing anything "wrong".

 
At Saturday, October 27, 2007 12:16:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I have an abiding admiration for the Orthodox. But I am not Orthodox, and the highly placed, I would say mis-placed, position of monasticism is one of the reasons why. Monasticism is not a uniquely Christian phenomenon, and it represents IMHO another incursion of man's idea of religion into God's.

Isn't it amazing, though, how secular society absolutely rails against celibate Christian monastics (Orthodox, Catholic or other) but has no problem with the celibate Dalai Lama? Yes, monasticism certainly didn't originate with Christianity but I think that especially in our current society with its emphasis on carnal joys it provides a powerful witness to those who "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom". St. Paul certainly saw the value of foregoing marriage to serve the Gospel (as well, of course, of the equally powerful witness of married couples who lived out their lives in faithfulness to one another and God).

The "Catechism" did not finally set clearly the Catholic position on abortion. It is one or the areas in which the RCC has not rejected its former self.

Weeell, that's not exactly what I meant. These days when the media et al. go looking for the official Catholic position on this and that they will be referencing the new Catechism, not the Baltimore one and they will find there the consistent Catholic teaching on life issues that has always been there, as you say. That, of course, is something that is being challenged in many church bodies, not a uniquely Catholic problem, but Catholics faithful to the Magisterium can point to the Catechism and say yes, this is what the Church believes.

You are of course absolutely right about that but I'm guessing most Catechisms in the homes of Catholics today will be the new Catechism, not that of Baltimore

But as to the influence of authority, while the RCC is hierarchically "pro-life", the story from the pews is rather different -- "pews" including those in them and those not.

Tyco clearly understands us to be her pack. But her role in the pack is not Sheba's. Sheba was doggie mom. Tyco is doggie kid. When she got home, her first reaction on being with both boys almost said in so many words Kids! Great! I'm a kid! Let's play! She does not cry when I go downstairs.

I am absolutely charmed by your references to Sheba as "doggie mom" and Tyco as "doggie kid". How they bring joy to our lives!! It's also amusing how they "pick" their mates. My husband is home all day with the pooch, feeds him faithfully, makes sure he always has fresh water, lets him out as needed but who does he hang out with when I come home? Moi, of course. He's always been "my" dog.

I'm glad for your boys that they have a beloved canine friend.

God didn't lay down any law about it, and if we use the one mostly at home when the other is used nobody is doing anything "wrong".

Absolutely spot on! The rich treasury of prayers of Christians of all times and places is limitless and the Lord hears and welcomes them all.

When I first got married my Catholic in-laws used to offer grace at the table (including the Sign of the Cross) but after a while they began to stop I guess for fear of making me uncomfortable. I finally said hey, you're not doing anything unfamiliar, Lutherans cherish the Sign of the Cross and table grace too!

Now, as for who's going to offer Communion to Joan -- are we sure there's going to be such in the World to Come? We will, after all be partaking in the heavenly banquet in the unveiled splendor and beauty of the Lamb right before our eyes!

 
At Saturday, October 27, 2007 12:20:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

You are of course absolutely right about that but I'm guessing most Catechisms in the homes of Catholics today will be the new Catechism, not that of Baltimore

Well, now it seems MY keyboard has flummoxed on me. How on earth did that totally disjointed piece of verbiage get in my post?

Mein Himmel!! Time to get more coffee. Ich bin noch nicht erwachen!!

 
At Saturday, October 27, 2007 1:34:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

I will agree that the secular West seems to have an uncritical acceptance of ritualistic, occult, celibate religion -- as long as it's Eastern.

St Paul seems to have seen celibacy as the exception rather than the rule, and he laid down no rule about it -- unlike Rome.

I know a lot of Catholics. I don't see any catechism in their homes, or much of anything else that used to be common even in nominal Catholics' homes.

There's a catechism in my home. Two of them, one "little", the other "large".

Well to be complete, the Baltimore is in the basement, and the Dutch in a box in the garage. As to the 1992 Catechism, I've read it, but don't own one as I only have Lutheran and Catholic catechisms and what the 1992 teaches seems foreign to either. Maybe I could buy some Scheler and put them side by side -- same thing, one with, one without mitres.

The imagery about the heavenly table is of course whimsical rather than theological. You seemed surprised by my statements about not being surprised to see Godfrey and Joan there. Do you know I am a fan of Teilhard de Chardin?

 
At Saturday, October 27, 2007 2:57:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

PS bet you'll never guess who, as they used to say, turned me on to him?

Ahnungslosigkeit? Ein Anhaltspunkt --

Bye now, and God love you!

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:35:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

I know a lot of Catholics. I don't see any catechism in their homes, or much of anything else that used to be common even in nominal Catholics' homes.

Doesn't surprise me at all. Sadly, the same is true of many Lutherans. They'd rather have books by Bill Hybels and Rick Warren on their shelves.

In some ways we seem to be returning to the environment of the early church. All the churches are struggling with those who are eager to be well informed about their faith and those who seem to get by with the minimum. Believe me, the "numbers" in Roman Catholicism have never impressed me, I know all too well that there are those in name only. I am most grateful for the evangelical catholics in all those Christian communions that still adhere to the Gospel.

The loud "thud" you heard was me picking myself up off the floor after learning that you are a fan of de Chardin.

I read him many, many years ago at a time when I was pretty much not attending any church. Lord, he confused me.

I think I understand him a little better now, although his God of "evolution" is a bit of a problem for me. I suppose I should go back and re-read him to get a current perspective.

Hmm, this weekend will be the Reformation festivals in Lutheran Churches. Last year one of the associate pastors at my parish made note of it and the wisdom of "Semper Reformanda" for all the churches in all ages.

Vielen Dank for your kind wishes, pax et bonum to you, the boys, Tyco and the kitty (Smokie, was it?)

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 5:04:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Oh, and (banging my head on my keyboard) my usual "one more thing":

Your mom is a wise woman, PE. Her observation reminded me of the night before Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed and he held services with all the Christians imprisoned with him, Catholic, Protestant, Reformed -- all the Body of Christ. Same for Father Alfred Delp whose Catholic identity never prevented him from forging bonds with other Christians.

Praise God.

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 9:37:00 am , Blogger Past Elder said...

The good wishes are good wishes, yes -- but they are also a clue about from whom I first heard of Teilhard.

Oddly enough, I'm not a big fan of Reformation Sunday. Not at all that I do not find the Lutheran Reformation worth celebrating. But what ensued under the general label of Reformation had little to do with that, and now we'll hear all kinds of nice things said about Luther, Reformation, semper reformanda, etc, from churches which uphold things absolutely at odds with the Lutheran Reformation.

Smokie was Nancy's cat when I met her, who now with her awaits the new heavens and earth. The cat still here is Zeke. Nancy got him from the pound. He's meowing at me now, and likes to be petted like a dog. The boys like him too, but they understand a cat just isn't going to be like a dog and run and jump and lick you when you come home.

After we were first married, Smokie used to stand on top of Nancy and just glower at me, as if to say We don't need you! She eventually mellowed out, but it took a couple of years.

Another hint -- Uncle Miltie.

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:54:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Well, Reformation Sunday (notwithstanding its theological and ecclesiastical significance for Lutherans) without a doubt also serves as an "identifying" marker for Lutherans and others (and the same can be said in other traditions). It was always a very big event for my German Lutheran family, especially on European soil.

When one comes into a faith tradition as an adult there are somethings that, I think, will never take on the importance that they had to those raised in the tradition (I heard my sister rejoicing in the upcoming traditional Reformation Pork and Sauerkraut dinner at her church :). For myself, the Nicene and Apostles Creeds tell me for the most part all I need to know and be as a Roman Catholic.

My spiritual and devotional life are centered squarely on the Scriptures and the liturgy. When I pray a rosary it is always a Scriptural form.

I really am getting a kick out of your description of Smokie. When I got married I had two kitties. My husband wasn't a big fan of cats but one of them totally won him over and many times I'd see him snoozing in the rocker with one kitty snuggled in his lap.

The other one used to hide on top of the water heater in the basement and hiss at him when he passed by. He was not amused.

I'd like to get a couple of shelter kitties (bless your Nancy for adopting one from the pound.) eventually.

Yikes, Bye now and God love you -- wasn't that the good Bishop Fulton Sheen himself ?? (I was still pretty young when he was around).

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:19:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Sauerkraut is an aquired taste for me. I'm English, remember! But you could find it everywhere where I grew up amid all these German and Germanic folks. Never could stand it until I was an adult. My dad, who was also not German, cooked sausages of all kinds, usually with history of the region for which they are named. He learned his German in grad school, and was reading fluent.

Any of the things I was used to raised in the RC "tradition" are long gone.

Yes, it was a Fulton Sheen telecast that turned me on to Teilhard. I remember being absolutely riveted, when after a basic exposition of his thought, Sheen spoke of his prayer to die, as a sign, on Easter -- which he did. Sheen was absolutely glowing when he finished with that.

I still have my Divine Milieu and some other works. They are not in the garage but about three feet away on my shelf.

Sometime later, I remember a lecture by William Grosvenor Pollard, an Episcopal priest and head of the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. I remember his discussion of the explanding universe, of nothing that is not an empty something but truly nothing, and of the creation of nothing into which something could be put. Lots of heads shaking after that one, but not mine, truly one of the most incredible lectures I ever heard, which after a little Teilhard wasn't hard at all! Which traces back to Sheen.

As a kid, I never missed Red Skelton, Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason -- and Fulton Sheen. And pro "wrestling".

Milton Berle used to joke about his ratings rival Sheen "He has better writers!"

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:30:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Yep, where there's Germans there's bound to be sauerkraut. And lots of sausage.

But I have to admit I don't eat very much of the ethnic cooking I grew up on.

These days I'm much more inclined to eat Chinese, Indian or other Asian cuisine.

For the life of me, I see lots of reruns of Fulton Sheen on various channels but I just can't get into him. Not that there's anything *wrong* with what he says or how he says it.

Just not my cup of tea.

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:33:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Well, Christine, before we go off to archives on this post too, if we ever meet outside of blogdom it will be in a Chinese restaurant. As you might expect, I insist on chopsticks -- but only for me. Metal shovels were not an option on my introduction to Asian food, and now on the occasions when I have had to use them, they seem revolting and destroy the taste entirely. So I stick to chopsticks.

I think for many people Sheen may be like the movies on AMC -- interesting, but not the way movies are made now, acting styles are quite different, and what may have been moving once seems histrionic now.

I saw Sheen preach once toward the end of his life at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral. Amazing!

I have seen his Life of Christ on Lutheran bookshelves.

Sheen himself would probably say it doesn't matter what one thinks of him, but the message.

But for me growing up, it was Sheen and the Baltimore Catechism. And the Bible too -- though it is not popular to say it since this is supposed to be a fruit of Vatican II, a priest for whom I often served gave me one in 1958 before Mass and said I should read from it daily. I still have it, along with a booklet he enclosed with it, The Bible Made Me Catholic, by a convert former Protestant minister.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 1:51:00 am , Anonymous Christine said...

Well then if the good Lord wills, Chinese it is, Past Elder (with chopsticks for you!)

I remember my husband telling me that when he was in the Marines and stationed in Viet Nam one never saw cats -- or too many dogs. Gulp. Literally.

As for Sheen I have no objection to his persona whatsoever. He was a fine representative of the Church of his time. Nor did I have any objection to the "rote", as they now call it, memorization of the Baltimore Catechism (which is showing up again quite regularly in Catholic bookstores). That's sure I how learned Luther's Small Catechism --memorize, memorize, memorize.

It's still amazing to me that what eventually brought me back to the Church was a coworker of mine who was married to a fundamentalist minister of the Churches of Christ. Although I didn't agree with their hermeneutics her challenge to me to read the Bible again from an "adult" perspective brought much fruit.

God truly does work in mysterious ways.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 12:57:00 pm , Anonymous William Tighe said...

Professor Thomas (T. C.) Reeves' biography of Sheen (*America's Bishop*) is well worth reading; it portrays him "warts and all."

When I was a graduate student at Yale in the 1970s, my doctoral supervisor was the late J. H. Hexter (1913-1996). He was Jewish by background, and very left-wing in his younger days, but he had become a sort of "private Christian" by the time I knew him at Yale. He was a valetudinarian, but on one occasion he had me over to supper at his house, and it turned out that his wife was a Catholic who had become an Episcopalian in the 1950s. When I or the other guest asked her why, she replied "because I disliked Fulton Sheen's television programs so much." The conversation shifted to other matters, and I never learned what she had so disliked in or about Sheen.

 
At Thursday, November 01, 2007 1:40:00 pm , Blogger Past Elder said...

Oh yeah, the good old Vietnamese cook-book, 101 Ways to Wok Your Dog (your husband may remember that one, and if he does, ask him if he can hear "Jingle Bells" without the parody coming to mind from the era. I can't. Jingle Bells, mortar shells, VC in the grass ... ).

For many people Sheen epitomises everything that was "wrong" about the pre-conciliar church -- association with rich and powerful people, mediaeval pageantry, too much "me and God", etc. Maybe that was the problem, though many had the same opinion of 1950s Episcopalianism.

Looks like we were graduate students in the same decade, Dr Tighe. My supervisor was a very liberal convert to post-conciliar "Catholicism". We rarely spoke of religion in personal terms.

 

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