In this Christmas season and invitation from a New Year to renew ourselves as a species and as individuals, we have been meditating on the moxa (prophetic moxie) and doxa (mystical glory) that are part and parcel of the Christmas story and our stories.
On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, died at the age of 95. Since then a number of articles have appeared about his legacy. Jason Berry in The Daily Beast focused especially on his “failure” vis a vis the horrors of the priestly pedophile scandals. Another article focused on his failures regarding Ecumenism such as his insulting Jews by undoing the excommunication of a British Bishop who denied the holocaust and re-inserting a “conversion of Jews” prayer into Good Friday services.
As regards Islam, in a talk in 2006 he cited a centuries-old diatribe against the prophet Mohammad that talked of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”
That he insulted Buddhists by declaring that Thich Nhat Hanh was “the anti-Christ” was told to me by TNH himself when he came to speak at our University of Creation Spirituality. I counseled him by telling him that I had read his two books on Christ and that he obviously knew more about Jesus than the Vatican did.
In his last will and testament we are told Pope Benedict apologized to all the people he may have offended. That is a lot of people.
He insulted Hindus by declaring that Christians should not do yoga because “it gets you too much in touch with your body.” Shades of his commitment to St. Augustine and his patriarchal dualisms (“the soul makes war with the body;” “spirit is whatever is not matter.”). Ratzinger did his doctoral thesis on Augustine.
It seems every time Ratzinger wrote complaints about my work to my provincial he invoked Starhawk being on my faculty. Starhawk is a feminist and justice activist who explores the wicca tradition. Once when I told her that she was keeping the Vatican awake at night she responded, “I don’t know why they are threatened by me—we did not burn any of them at the stake.”
He declared that Protestant churches were not really churches and non-Christian religions were “severely deficient.”
Benedict was uncomfortable with Native American spirituality also. One of the charges he leveled against me was that I “work too closely with Native Americans.” Perhaps he was ill at ease with the fact that we had a Lakota teacher in our program who built a sweat lodge on Holy Names campus and led our faculty, staff and students in regular sweat lodges, a deep spiritual practice that has benefited me for years.
Deep Ecumenism was not Ratzinger’s forte. To be continued
See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved.
Fox, A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity.
Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
How have you incorporated deep ecumenism into your spiritual life?
The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.” — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II
A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity
A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography
Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)
Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self