Friday, January 1, 2010

TABERNACLES OF OPENNESS

Just returned from Paris for the New Year and visits to these sacred places with my very Protestant cousins (and second cousins) on my father's side. Burned candles in each Tabernacle for friends and relatives - as well as for the launching of the very special common blog, The Open Tabernacle, a common venture among six progressive spiritual bloggers (and let us hope more) that is a sign of promise and hope for this new year. I really feel this new blogsite is a gift of the Holy Spirit and a blessing on our vocation as catholic, progressive writers,  but it would not have been made possible without the strenuous efforts of Terry Weldon, the Virgin Mother of this project (no disrespect intended). Without Terry's openhearted, cooperative Yes! to this idea, it would not have borne fruit and opened itself to the world on the first day of this promising new year. Please check it out. I prayed for the success of this new venture in these three very special open tabernacles in France, each one drawing thousands of tourist visitors each year of no particular spiritual or religious orientation. Though Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame and Chartres are all rooted in the Catholic tradition, they represent something so universal in the human spirit that people of all spiritual persuasions or none are deeply moved when entering their doors. They are, to my mind, outstanding examples of 'open tabernacles,' signs of the Spirit in a secular age, and this is especially so of the two great Marian shrines. The throngs of tourists mingling with the devout testify to a deep spiritual hunger among their visitors, who encounter a Presence within these sacred spaces that is so much larger than the Catholic tradition which preserves them. Food for thought. The Catholic tradition does not 'own' these places, it has simply been given the responsibility of preserving them for the sake of the whole human community. It is the mission of this new blogsite, The Open Tabernacle, to send a similar message of openness to interested spiritual seekers.  The Catholic tradition is not 'owned' by its present self-appointed leadership. The mystery of this tradition is so much larger, and so much more open,  than it is currently being represented by its official leaders. However, as in times past, the Spirit is at work crumbling old forms and rigid structures, and freeing the liberating power of this tradition, in the image of its all inclusive Crucified and Risen Master.




Basilica of Sacre Coeur


NOTRE DAME


CHARTRES

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're so right. The Church does not belong to the small set of people alive today. It's lead by that most terrible of all majorities...the majority of the saints who are with our Lord already. Those of the Church Triumphant already in heaven.

Now, answer me this. Name one Father of the Church, or one Doctor of the Church, one saint, one ecumenical council...just ONE...who taught that homosexual actions were anything other than sinful.

I will except a wager, and will bet the sum of $1,000 payable by PayPal if you can name just one. I am serious about it. Will you agree to pay me the same $1,000 if you cannot find such person or council?

I'll cut to the chase. This ain't new. You can't blame it on Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI. This is standard Church teaching. I know catechesis is terrible these days. But it ain't that bad. You know this is true.

I lived as an open homosexual for over thirty years before coming back to the Church. I know all about this subject. You don't have to be straight. You don't even have to be perfect. But you do have to know right from wrong, you do have to form your conscience in accord with the Church, and you do have to confess your sins and ask for God's grace not to do them again.

At the end of the day, homosexual actions are no different from any other sin. I still have problems with it, just like I have a problem with laziness and my temper. I don't hate myself for that. I accept that I'm human and that as long as I'm in my earthly body I'll have temptations.

What I don't do is mount a campaign to make laziness and a bad temper into some sort of special category of holiness, or twist the Bible and sacred tradition around to fit my sins.

Anonymous said...

Oh, just another thought...if you're so "open" to diversity, do you support relationships of committed, adult incestuous people? You know, a father and his adult daughter? A father and his adult son?

If not, why?

After all, Jesus never said anything against it. Why all the hatred? Why the bigotry? What are you afraid will happen? Hate is not a family value know. And of course, we know so much more now than before.

I'll wait for your (non)answer.

William D. Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jayden Cameron said...

Thanks, Bill, this really helps. I found the 'anonymous' comment heartbreaking and sad, if true, that an openly gay man could be so seduced by false doctrine as to turn his back on his own God given and God-loving nature. How utterly sad and tragic, no wonder the individual feels such a need to project this darkness onto others. I would suggest that the real question to be asked is this. Can we find one significant teacher, Doctor of the church, bishop, Pope who did not teach for hundreds of years that Jewish people were Christ killers and their refusal to accept Christ 'anything other than sinful'?
Or that women were 'misbegotten males' and that the adornment of women is "not devoid of mortal sin. For whatever is contrary to a precept of the Divine law is a mortal sin. Now the adornment of women is contrary to a precept of the Divine law; for it is written (1 Pt. 3:3): "Whose," namely women's, "adorning, let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel." Wherefore a gloss of Cyprian says: "Those who are clothed in silk and purple cannot sincerely put on Christ: those who are bedecked with gold and pearls and trinkets have forfeited the adornments of mind and body." Now this is not done without a mortal sin. Therefore the adornment of women cannot be devoid of mortal sin."
One would be hard pressed to find a single theologian or Bishop dissenting from Thomas Aquinas's view (during his lifetime) that female adornment was intrinsically mortally sinful. I've simply chosen the most serious and the most trivial of churchly errors where 'sin' is concerned, though the list goes on and on. We are now at a point in history when the Church's scandalous error regarding the ethics of same sex loving relationships has become only too glaringly obvious. Hopefully, through the heroic efforts of gay theologians like John McNeill and James Allison, together with so many spiritual gay writers, no Catholic gay person may ever say again, "I lived as an open homosexual for over thirty years before coming back to the Church." Heartbreaking, the destructive power of such ignorance and bigotry. I would like to end this very rushed reply with the moving words of Theologian Norman Pittenger spoken some forty years ago (quoted in John McNeill's The Church and the Homosexual)
The primary spiritual problem that faces the Christian homosexual is his or her need, in Tillich's words, "to accept divine acceptance": I should add that the homosexual who decided for a long relationship, as he may hope a life-long one, with another of his (sic) own sex, is almost certainly doing the very best thing that is open to him. Nor do I have the slightest doubt that God can and does bless the relationship. The basic question here for the homosexual is whether he will let the human love which to him is so wonderful find its grounding in the divine Love, in God himself. That it is so grounded I take to be a matter of fact, so far as Christian faith is concerned...
But to let it be grounded, to allow it to be consciously realized and felt, requires human surrender. So I should ask the homosexual: "Will you let God bless you? Will you let him work in your life and in your friend's life and in the life you share together?"
God made men (sic) to become true lovers; he wants them to be the best they can possibly be. To acknowledge this and try to base one existence and one's relationships on it, in full responsibility, gives that existence and that relationship a meaning and a dignity which otherwise they cannot have."



Objection 2.

William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, the author of this anonymous posting is someone (whose identity I know) who has been posting posting numerous comments on my Bilgrimage blog, on the new Open Tabernacle blog, and now I see, on your blog, as well. The spate of comments on all these blogs began when the Open Tabernacle site opened.

Each comment says the same things in the same words. It seems evident that something about the launch of the Open Tabernacle site has elicited a negative reaction on the part of this particular blogger.

As I've just stated at the Open Tabernacle site, in response to one of the blogger's comments there, I've blocked him from my Bilgrimage site--the first and only person I've ever blocked.

My statement to him when I blocked him told him that if he agrees to 1) stop the abusive name-calling, 2) engage the real arguments of a posting rather than make up red-herring arguments, and 3) produce real arguments of his own rather than ranting, I will gladly welcome his comments.

I am sharing this information with you not to tell you how to handle any such comments, but just to provide information you may need.

I am concerned about this person, nd told him this both on my own blog and by email when he contacted me at my email address. He is very much in my prayers, and I hope he will find healing. I've also asked that he keep me in his own prayers.

Terence Weldon said...

"Now, answer me this. Name one Father of the Church, or one Doctor of the Church, one saint, one ecumenical council...just ONE...who taught that homosexual actions were anything other than sinful."

I'll go further. I'll name several saints who were themselves gay: Saints Sergius and Bacchus, Saints Polyeuct and Nearchos, (two pairs of martyred soldiers who were also gay lovers), Saint Paulinus, Archbishop of Nola , who not only had a boyfriend, but wa renowned for the erotic love oems he wrote for him (you can still read these poems int he Penguin book of Homosexual verse).... the list goes on.

In the 11th century, an openly gay man was consecrated a bishop in France, in spite of the fact that it was well-known that he was not only gay, but promiscuous. There was an attempt to have his appointment cancelled - not because he was gay or promiscuous, but because he was young and could be too easily influenced by his lover, the bishop who had nominated him. And this was during the greatest period of church reform before the Council of Trent!

A more useful question would be to ask which doctors of the church taught clearly that homosexuality WAS a major sin. The answer is, that for the first 100 years, very few. Augustine was one, but for centuries, he was in a minority. There er others who agreed it was
"wrong", but only of a minor variety. In London, an English council in the 12th century wanted a decree compelling harsh penalties, but St Anselm oif Canterbury, head of the English Church refused - because, he said, it was so common and most people did not realise it was wrong.

At about the same time, St Peter Damian petitioned the Pope with a long list of proposed reforms, also asking for harsh penalties againsthomosexaual practice, which he said was widespread among the clergy. Of all his proposed reforms, this was the only one that was not adopted.

There was not any clear statement by the church as a whole that homosexuality was wrong until the third Lateran council, in the 12th century.

The simple fact is that the popular assumption, and the claim by the Church power structures,that loving homoerotic relationships are clearly against Scripture and the "constant teaching" of the church is simply false. There are numerous modern theologians who reject both claims, and their number is increasing constantly.

For substantiation of these claims, see several posts at http://queeringthechurch, where I discuss these ideas and the sources.

Paris Photo said...

nice evening shot..awesome!