1/09-1/14/2023: Dorothee Soelle, Recreating the Church & Being the Compassion of Christ

Each Sunday we offer a brief summary of the meditations from the previous week as a kind of “index” inviting you to return to a previous meditation which may call to you.


January 9, 2023. The Historic Role that Pope Benedict Played
Christianity has not always been at its best these past 2000 years. Albert Schweitzer said, What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weaknesses and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit can take our great errors and make something good of them. Matthew theorizes that “Maybe the Holy Spirit gave us 34 years of Popes JP II and Benedict in order to kill the church as we know it.” Why? So that we can start over with a new Church where mystics and prophets  true to Jesus’ spirit can flourish.

:Targeted by the Inquisition – REI with Matthew Fox (5/8).” The Real News Network on YouTube.

January 10, 2023. Dorothee Soelle on the Revolution of Jesus
Matthew Fox says that the essence of spirituality is about developing the mystic (the lover who says Yes to life) and the prophet (the warrior who says No to lies and injustice in its many enactments).
Speaking with a prophet’s heart, theologian Dorothee Soelle offers this powerful poem: every day I am afraidthat he died in vainbecause he is buried in our churchesbecause we have betrayed his revolutionin our obedience to authorityand our fear of it/ I believe in jesus christwho rises again and again in our livesso that we will be free/ from prejudice and arrogance/ from fear and hateand carry on his revolutionand make way for his kingdom.

January 11, 2023. Dorothee Soelle on Christ’s Need for Us
Soelle teaches that Christ needs us to accomplish the work of compassion. As Matthew says,  “he did not do it all for us, rather we are invited to do, live, resist, gather, love, act like he did.” 
Another of Soelle’s poems  instructs us that faith is action: Help himthat’s what faith ishe can’t bring it abouthis kingdomcouldn’t then couldn’t later can’t nownot at any rate without youand that is his irresistible appeal.

On a pedestal atop a mountain: “Christ the Redeemer” statue, Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Yvon Maurice on Flickr.

January 12, 2023. Dorothee Soelle: From Christolatry to Mysticism
Soelle writes: The goal of the Christian religion is not the idolizing of Christ, not christolatry, but that we all “are in Christ,” as the mystical expression goes, that we have a part in the life of Christ. 
She also says: This savior is a wounded healer, and he heals so that we may become as he is. Be as he is, laugh as he laughs, weep as he weeps. Soelle’s faith is firmly rooted in social justice.
She says: To feed the hungry means to do away with militarism. To bless the children means to leave the trees standing for them. Rather than put all the onus on Christ, we need to rise to the occasion and do the work that he would have us do.

January 13, 2023. Feminism, Ecology, Transcendence vs. Christofascism
Feminist theology has a different way of perceiving transcendence. Dorothee Soelle says: Transcendence is no longer to be understood as being independent of everything and ruling over everything else, but rather as being bound up in the web of life.  She further says that such a consciousness means that we move from God-above-us to God-within-us and overcome false transcendence hierarchically conceived.
Christofascism doesn’t get this.
As Matthew Fox says: “Racism is often part and parcel of fascism which is invariably buttressed by a religion of a punitive father God.  A father problem exists wherever fascism reigns.  No wonder feminism is an object of scorn and angst among such fevered believers.”

Hildegard of Bingen, “Cultivating the Cosmic Tree,” Scivias.

January 14, 2023. Authentic Mysticism as an Antidote to Patriarchy
Dorothee Soelle believes that authentic mysticism “comes closest to overcoming the hierarchical masculine concept of God.” Matthew says, “Mysticism for her is baked into feminism and marks the opposite of patriarchal consciousness” and Soelle understands a healthy mysticism to be the best antidote, detoxing us from a dangerous “masculine concept of God.”


Banner image: “Dorothee Soelle in the Netherlands, 1998.” Wikimedia Commons.

Recommended Reading

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

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

Meditations with Meister Eckhart: A Centering Book

A centering book by Matthew Fox. This book of simple but rich meditations exemplifies the deep yet playful creation-centered spirituality of Meister Eckhart, Meister Eckhart was a 13th-century Dominican preacher who was a mystic, prophet, feminist, activist, defender of the poor, and advocate of creation-centered spirituality, who was condemned shortly after he died.
“These quiet presentations of spirituality are remarkable for their immediacy and clarity.” –Publishers Weekly.  


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8 thoughts on “1/09-1/14/2023: Dorothee Soelle, Recreating the Church & Being the Compassion of Christ”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Today, instead of writing on a meditation as I usually do, I want to make a few comment s on the interview with Matthew that we have on our Meditation site today titled, “Targeted by the Inquisition.” The reason for the title is that Cardinal Ratzinger is the one who gave Matthew all his problems, and he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition. I had been a supporter of Matthew since 1988 and later wrote a letter to the master general of the Dominicans saying that “not only will Catholics be affected by your decision, but many Christians of other traditions, as well as many non-Christians who have seen hope in his message”–this was even in Matthew’s book Confessions. It is said in the interview, and Matthew has mentioned it before; that there were seven main issues that Ratzinger was not happy with in his teachings. Four are mentioned: 1) Being a feminist theologian, 2) That he called God Mother, 3) That he worked too closely with Native Americans, and 4) He called God a child. The fact that the Church has let go of three of its most creative spiritual thinkers–on three continents who could have brought the Church forward in the direction that the Spirit IS leading, is a shame. Read: Matthew’s book: A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity…

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      Maybe Matthew was God’s ‘vehicle’ to expose the problems with the Roman Catholic faith. Cardinal or Pope Ratzinger was using a form of transference to direct the ‘Church’s problems and inadequacies’ onto others. Those select were the ones offered up as the scapegoats, but in doing so the misguided and evil intent was revealed. What is God other than the ‘truth revealed’. This is not to discount the pain and suffering that Matthew others had to endure, and may still be enduring, during these trials of faith which was most likely substantial.

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    May we all continue to learn to be mystics and prophets and know the Christ within us. Thank you, Matthew for your courage in speaking the truth to power. You have paid dearly for it, for all of us.

  3. Avatar

    It’s heartbreaking and angering to see all the pain and the subsequent the triggering of memories of abuse that the Catholic church has unleashed upon its faithful. How many people must be sacrificed to its facade of righteousness? Catholicism is bleeding out members, especially those scarred from the body-hating guilt trips, sexual abuse, and misogyny heaped upon them in the name of their religion. Yet they continue to shoot themselves in the foot with all their power-mongering and Inquisitional “pruning ” of “controversial” priests (i.e. thoughtful theologians applying the Bible in ways other than ancient Roman). It doesn’t seem to occur to them that people might be intelligent enough to see other options for faithful theology, or that they might find the ancient Roman mindset rather disgusting now, some two millennia later…

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