Jun 29, 2011

Matthew Fox's The Pope's War and the Return from Medugorje

I returned from Medugorje this afternoon only to find Matthew Fox's explosive new book, The Pope's War, waiting for me in the mailbox. The timing could not be more providential, coming right on the heels of a week's retreat in Medugorje. I'm now going through three books of very moving testimonies from persons whose lives have been changed by their encounter with the Marian shrine, and they encompass the full range of Christian belief and persuasion. Very inspiring and provocative accounts, which I hope to comment on further. But Fox's book makes the perfect complement for reasons I hope to reflect on at a later time.

At the same time, however, I've been reading the great Russian journalist (murdered in 2006) Anna Politkovskaya's collection of essays, entitled Nothing But the Truth, a harrowing account of her investigative reports from Chechnya and beyond and filled with stores of unimaginable atrocities and human suffering. Somehow this felt providential as well, and perfectly complemented my stay in the Bosnian Marian shrine, since there seems to be a connection between the witness of the Heavenly Mother, crying out for peace and reconciliation,  and the very worst of human depravity and cruelty. You cannot go to Medugjore and simply float in a cloud of euphoria and spiritual consolation. Something about the clear, limpid light of the place uncovers all illusions and forces one to remain grounded on earth where humans do terrible things to one another and corruption and duplicity seem to rule the day - except that the message of Medugorje is that they do not rule the day, the Lady in White through the power of the heavenly Mother/Father of us all and the suffering witness of Yeshua triumph over all.

However, truth telling must also apply to the darkness surrounding the shrine itself, and while I teasingly said in the first posting four days ago that 'the critics are full of shit,' that was only tongue in cheek in reference to my frustration at not being able to find a decent, classy restaurant in the village, despite the insistence of the harshest critics that such places exist. (I wined and dined pleasurably in Split last evening) No, underneath the extraordinary peace and joy of Medugorje darker currents swirl, the same viral currents that orchestrated the assassination/murder of the saintly reformist Pope John Paul I. The destructive evil in the church has reached its tentacles into this Bosnian village as well, and if one loves and cherishes the charism of Medugjorje and treasures it as the locus of Mary's holy manifestation, then one must long for, call for, Nothing But the Truth, so that Medugorje can be cleansed and purified and its precious holy mystery protected from all harm. 

I hope to say more about this later, but for now, here is Matthew Fox:

If you can no longer take the lies and theological deadness of the Roman Catholic church, then do as Jesus said to do: "Shake the dust from your feet" and find another community that nurtures you and where you do not have to give out more energy than you receive back. Be assured there is life after Roman Catholicism, lots of it. Become a 'had it' Catholic if your conscience tells you so. Do not settle for denial of what the truth tells you is really happening in the Vatican church today/ Do not waste your precious time or your soul trying to build up or reform that which your gut tells you is unreformable.

There will be some who, upon praying about it, will be called to stay, and others who are called to move on. Support one another in the overall spiritual vocation of invigorating an authentic spiritual renewal. There is no one path to church renewal. When you pray about staying or leaving, ask yourself the following questions: What does all this have to do with Jesus? With his teachings and life? Is this what Jesus would have me do ? Even if you choose to exit, do not imagine you are "out of the church." You are reforming it from another place of leverage. The church is not a box or even a noun. It is where the Spirit lives and comes alive.

postscriptum; I've decided to have a new button made here in Prague, one with a rainbow sash across it and the words, Gays for the Gospa (the affectionate term used in Medugorje for Mother Mary). I plan on wearing it the next time I visit the village. That should set a few wigs on fire. 


Anonymous said...

If you are a "mystic" I can assure you that it's not from God. Buddist? Yeah, that'll let demons through.

I'll say some prayers that you come back to God.

Jayden Cameron said...

Thank you. And I will do the same for you.