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Can I Trust Fr. Richard Rohr? – Part I

September 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Can I Trust?, Dan Burke

Numerous readers have asked, “Can I trust Fr. Richard Rohr?” As long time subscribers to Catholic Spiritual Direction know, we prefer to focus on the positive side of spirituality and to leave the apologetics and correction of false and otherwise dangerous teachings to those who are called to that emphasis. Even so, we regularly get emails asking if a particular author is trustworthy or not and in a few cases we feel obligated to respond. All of these posts can be found by searching “Can I Trust”. Our readers ask us about these matters because they know that our apostolate is well grounded in magisterium faithful Catholic theology and that we would never knowingly publish any writer or perspective that is not similarly disposed.

Our friends at Women of Grace have also received questions about Fr. Richard Rohr and have given us permission to provide their response here which I have edited. It is important to note that I am familiar with Fr. Rohr’s writings but have yet had time to provide my own analysis. That said, what you will read below is an accurate and trustworthy account of his teachings.

An anonymous writer asks: “I have a Protestant friend who is very interested in the writings/teachings of Fr. Richard Rohr. I’m afraid my friend may be getting wrong ideas about our Church. I don’t know why I have a strange feeling about this Priest, when I really know next to nothing about what he teaches. Do you know if his writings are orthodox and loyal to the Magisterium? Am I completely off-base, or should my friend be warned about Fr. Rohr?”

This writer has a very keen spiritual sense, because there are indeed problems with Fr. Richard Rohr that the faithful should be aware of.

Fr. Rohr is deeply involved in the New Age. On the website for his Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), a “training and formation center” based in Albuquerque, New Mexico that he founded in 1987, he says the purpose of his work is to provide “a faith alternative to the dominant consciousness” (whatever that means).

The CAC was a well-known hub for the Church’s premier dissent group in the U.S., better known as Call to Action (endorses women’s ordination, homosexuality, goddess worship, etc.).

Fr. Rohr has also been a long-time teacher of the Enneagram, an enormously popular New Age gimmick used for discerning one’s personality type. A specific warning against the use of the Enneagram for spiritual direction is included in the pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life.

Another area where he is heavily involved is in the Emerging Church Movement, which consists of a diverse group of people who identify with Christianity but think its beliefs and teachings need to be “updated” to better conform to modern society (read compromise the faith).

Fr. Rohr participates in Emerging Church conferences and workshops alongside the leaders of this movement, such as Brian McClaren, a “theologian” who thinks the current version of Christianity only partialy reflects the truth. Another player, Phyllis Tickle, recently told an audience that “By eating the body and blood of our God, we are feeding the god within us . . .”

I think you get the drift.

Unfortunately, Fr. Rohr is able to promulgate his questionable belief system by being a prolific writer, publishing a quarterly journal, Radical Grace, and authoring more than 15 books thus far. His latest work (as of the writing of this post), The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics is currently #1 at Amazon for books dealing with mysticism. (Whether or not it teaches Catholic mysticism I can’t say because I haven’t read the book, but judging by what I already know about him, I have plenty of reason to doubt it.)

This translates into a wide audience for a version of Catholicism that does not conform to the Magisterium.

Fr. Bryce Sibley, STL, after having read one of his books, concluded that “Fr. Richard Rohr adheres to some very questionable, if not dangerous, beliefs.” In [a Catholic Culture article], he lists several serious flaws in Fr. Rohr’s teachings, such as his assertion that the crucifixion wasn’t necessary because the Incarnation was all that was needed to redeem humanity.

Fr. Rohr also has a “weak understanding” of original sin, Fr. Sibley said, noting that “without a proper understanding of Original Sin, Christ is reduced to nothing more than a prophet who teaches us to love ourselves, and this is unfortunately who Rohr’s Christ turns out to be.”

I could go on and on, but I think you have the general idea that this is a priest in need of prayer whose writings and activities do not reflect the true teachings of the Church. Please pray for him!

Originally published by Women of Grace on March 10, 2010 by SBrinkmann. Used with permission.

Editors’ Note: There are a number of writers and teachers in the Church who sometimes stray to the outer boundaries of theological propriety. In the case of Fr. Rohr, he seems to spend all of his time and energies sucking faithful Catholics well outside of the heart of the Church in down a path of spiritual destruction. Without exception, his writings should be completely avoided. To learn more you can find a trustworthy review, examples, and links via Catholic Culture’s review on Fr. Rohr’s “Center for Action and Contemplation” site here.

You can find Part II here: Can I Trust Fr. Richard Rohr? Part II-Book Review: Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer here.

Photography: Richard Rohr, Svobodat, 2004?, PD-Worldwide self, Wikimedia Commons.

Editor’s Note: A listing of all our “Can I Trust” Posts can be found here: “Can I Trust” Series.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

    Thank you, Dan. A very sound advice you give to us here. My take is that if one is truly committed to learning about, and remaining true to our Catholic Faith, the best way is to stick to the well known personalities and Clergy writers, canonized Saints, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Another way is what this questioner has done. To ask if a certain writer is really faithful to the Catholic Teachings on Faith and Morals in their writings, whether Clergy or whatever. Otherwise, more “Father Corapis” out there prowling will scatter thousands of Christ’s Sheep

    • Mary

      If I remember correctly, Fr Corapi’s sins were if a more personal nature – and we are all in danger of those. I may be wrong (and please correct me if I am), but I do not remember any of his teachings being misaligned with the magisterium. We need to pray for all of our clergy – daily! (Not just priests – my children go to Catholic school and the nuns can say some nutty stuff). I do agree with what you are saying about the plethora of proven authors that our church has – with all the saints and church doctors, we really have little need to seek out newer authors. I highly recommend this site’s book club if you are looking for a great Catholic read – they won’t steer you wrong – new author or otherwise!

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        Mary – you are right. Fr. Corpi gave in to those things that had bound his soul in the past. He was an extraordinary teach of the faith. Orthodoxy is no guarantee of holiness but it is a necessary element of holiness. As you say, we must pray for those in positions of leadership because they/we will incur a “stricter judgement” as St. James says. I also echo your recommendation for the book club. It is a fantastic resource of rock solid books and great people!

        • Becky Ward

          Ditto here. We will not know until heaven, the enormous attacks of evil that our priests have to fight against. Especially when they are doing as much good as Fr. Corapi was.
          Please pray for our priests….all of them!

  • Greg

    Thanks Dan…I cannot judge, as the Lord tells me not to…but I would advise one to stay clear if one prizes his/her salvation… maybe I don’t understand what he is writing, but what I do understand tells me to be very careful… why doesn’t our Church do a better job of protecting us?

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Greg – As I suspect you know, the “Church” has its proverbial hands full. In this case, his local Bishop is responsible to deal with these matters…

  • Hope

    Thank you very much Dan for posting this. Fr. Richard Rohr’s writings are regularly used on the ‘Catholic Ireland’ website’s ‘Thought for the Day’. It is strange how out of all the Saints and Popes, the Teachings of the Church, the Holy Scripture that they use Fr. Rohr’s writings. Fr. Rohr needs our prayers if anything.

    • Michael Brooks

      Probably why Ireland is now Pro-Abortion.

  • Rosemaid

    I believe Merton was also condemned for some of his writings. I guess
    we need to sift out the bad by praying to the Holy Spirit to receive only what
    will be good for our souls. I know that is the approach I take with what I read and hear both Catholic or not. Many non-Catholic preachers speak God’s words if I can hear what they say less their Catholic bashing. Oops I just bashed non-Catholics didn’t I? Judge not….

    • Lee Gilbert

      Rosemaid, you write, “I believe Merton was also condemned for some of his writings.” Not to my knowledge. If you are going to put someone under a cloud of suspicion, then do so with adequate evidence..

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        He has most definitely not been condemned.

      • Jon Fermin

        merton’s early works like seven storey mountain are ok as is basically anything he wrote before 1966. after that date is his slide into eastern religions. Here’s an article on catholic answers on this, http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/can-you-trust-thomas-merton .

      • RobinJeanne

        I had read his early writings were good but then he went off the orient/eastern spirituality… so it’s best not to read his work if you don’t know when the change began. There are to many hundreds of good solid, trueth Catholic writiers to go reading the wishie-washie ones. I’d rather play it safe and stick with the highly reccommended ones.

      • Rosemaid

        Sorry Lee perhaps I should have said St. John of the Cross and/or St. Theresa of Avila were both condemned at one time or another. Really the point I was trying to make was that we need to ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. Blessings on you.

    • Camila

      This may be helpful, it helped me.

      It may help you too.

      check it out: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2013/01/02/can-i-trust-thomas-merton

      • Rosemaid

        Thanks for the link.

    • Michael Brooks

      There will always be Wolves cloaked in sheep’s skins.

    • Gabrielle Renoir

      As Dan pointed out below, Merton was certainly never condemned, though
      some found his interest in Eastern religions and the mingling of those
      Eastern religions with Latin Catholicism less than admirable. I have
      read Merton’s earlier books, and I find them quite helpful. I honestly believe Thomas Merton always had the best of intentions, though I don’t always agree with them myself. For example, I stay away from yoga. If one does not have an expert teacher, one can invoke some evil spirits through that practice. I find I need nothing but my Roman Catholic faith at any rate.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Rosemaid, I am not aware of any official condemnation of Merton’s writings.

      • Rosemaid

        Dear Mr. Burke, I probably should have used another word rather than condemned. Would denounced, reproached, or censured be more appropriate? In any case I evidently am unable to communicate my thoughts in the written word since you didn’t get “it”, my real point, either. I guess I’ll go back to “lurking” on your site. Blessings on all <

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Dear Rosemaid – Please feel free to comment! We like lurkers but we prefer commenters. In my knowledge there has never been any official mention of Merton, positive or negative, from the Vatican.

  • disqus_NAVsMmJ24g

    Thanks so much for this. Catholics really need to realize that there are SO many authors out there that are not in line with what the Church teaches and you have to learn who to stay away from to protect your faith. Websites like yours, Dan, are invaluable, since so much stuff out there about prayer drifts (or full on crashes into) New Age teaching which is not compatible with Christianity. I have found CatholicCulture.org to be indispensable when it comes to info on who is faithful and who is not to the teachings Christ gave us. CatholicCulture has ratings of websites that are very good (sometimes overly strict, but very good) and you can look up individual authors, too. I have used them for years when something does not seem right. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/reviews/ As our parish librarian I really appreciate any articles you can give us. Many authors and many publishers do not print faithful works.

  • jrbarrytx

    Can you confirm if he is involved in the “Catholic Update” that is published and available in our parish? I seem to recall seeing his name aligned with this publication. I recall I engaged the advice and spiritual guidance of a woman in our parish when I returned to the church and I felt she was leading me in the wrong direction and I had a hunch she was involved in this group so I am now seeing a priest for advice. But thanks for this article as I have tried to find out about him and this does confirm what I suspected.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      It appears that he is involved with “Catholic Update”

      • jrbarrytx

        This is a little worrisome but thanks for the confirmation.

        • LizEst

          jrbarrytx – If you ever wish to check an author out, just go to the site and put the author’s name in the search category. It will show you all the author’s publications that the site is promoting. I did it and was amazed at what I found.

  • $1650412

    I think what we want to fine tune our theological radars for in these new age affected theologies is a watering down of the cross of Jesus Christ. Here is where being immersed in the Pauline letters from Scripture might be helpful- Paul said,”… I resolved to know Christ and Him crucified…”- …”for I have been crucified with Christ…”, and…”… I fill up in my flesh what was lacking in Christ’s sacrifice…”- When I begin to run across the idea that there is no reparation, or there is some enlightened form of escape from the ancient path of union with the cross- that is where the first red flag is for me with these flaky so called mystical spins with this neo-Jesus.

    • Camila

      JoFlemings,
      Agreed. I have found the same even relating to ‘catholic’ friends. Unless you help me carry my cross (even if only as my cheerleader) you are more a nuisance than a friend. I need to get to heaven, I need to live in the cross with my Lord, those are my needs. Period. Not interested in justifying myself in any other way nor adding temptations to myself – my own concupiscence is enough to keep me busy drudging along this exile that we live in.

      Is not life on earth a drudgery,
      its days like those of a hireling?
      Like a slave who longs for the shade,
      a hireling who waits for wages…
      (Job 7)

      • LizEst

        C.C. Cross Cheerleader! I think you’ve coined a new term!

    • Michael Brooks

      The fine-tuning begins with the Holy Spirit giving the appropriate gifts for this.

  • lauraf

    Are you sure you are not into Catholic apologetics?

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      🙂

  • Lucy sanchez

    So can anyone explain why he still is a catholic priest?

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Makes no sense to me

  • Merengue

    One reason he is so popular is that his thoughts and writings are at the 9th grade level.

  • Greg Cook

    I bought and read one of his books (“Falling Upwards”) and felt like I could have been reading one of the legion of “spiritual” books on the market instead of something identifiably Catholic. The final straw was when he called the Church a “whore.” I mailed the book back to him with a hand-written note but never received a reply. Recently I wrote a letter to our archbishop about Rohr’s books being for sale at the cathedral bookstore (along with works by Chittister and Garry Wills) but so far have not received a reply.

  • Camila

    In reading the replies I feel like a fish out of the water. Really, there are actual priests out there doing this sort of stuff?! —- I’ll stick to authors with those two little initials before their names St., thank-you-very-much… or those that take me by the hand in order to study those St. authors…. “I like my theology holy, not stirred.” :o)

    • mbley

      I did the same thing when I started out studying the Faith 30 years ago. And it was consoling to see that saint/authors from different centuries all taught the same thing. That brings us to the present century. There are saints alive and writing right now and it would be good to know some of them!

      You might like Fr Jaques Philippe. He has written a few short books which are real classics

      http://www.frjacquesphilippe.com/books

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        Agreed – His books are solidly orthodox and profound.

      • Camila

        Thanks mbley. Ok, ok – I agree – my hyperbole was a tad rash…. ;o) Sorry about that.

        There are many excellent authors that do not have the St. title and even many church fathers. I haven’t read anything from Fr. Jaques Philippe, thanks for the link! God bless you!

      • Mary

        Yes! Fr. Jacques Philippe is an excellent source. His books are small and easy to read yet filled with rich treasures of our faith!!

  • Mary

    I have a question. I have read Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson on the Enneagram,

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Mary, the Enneagram is completely lacking in solid psychological research. There plenty of well researched tools like the Myers Briggs type tests that do not have origins in the occult. Fr. Mitch Pacwa has researched and written extensively about this in his book entitled Catholics and the New Age. This Enneagram is a tool that is not appropriate for use by those who take their faith seriously.

      • kokyjo

        BS Mr.Burke. The enneagram is a tool and the Myers Briggs is another tool. Neither guarantees deeper or greater connection to the Divine. Like any tool, it depends on whether one has learned how to use the tool — not whether or not one owns the tool.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Dear Kokjo ­ what is “BS”? I didn’t point to Myers Briggs as if it were a tool that guarantees deeper connection to the Lord. I merely am pointing out that one is speculative and has cultic origins and the other is a tool that is proven by sound research. Thanks for your feedback regardless.

          • kokyjo

            The enneagram has proven valuable for me and others. If you don’t think so, then don’t use it. Myers-Briggs can be a valuable tool as well but not because it is “proven by sound research”. A tool has value when it most efficiently serves the purpose for which it was engaged. The Myers-Briggs was a common tool offered in the seminary I attended. What individuals do with the information it generates for them is their Choice. Some ignore(d) it and some slept with the test results under their pillow. Who cares? There are similar reports of the influences of the Enneagram. There are as many paths to the Divine as there are human beings seeking Connection with the Divine. As in the words of the Pope, “who am I to judge?”…what is the best tool for another? and who are you to judge “appropriateness”?

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            Dear Kokyjo – Who am I to judge? You ask an important question because it seems you may believe that I am speaking in my own authority. However, in this case I am merely reflecting the opinion of the Holy See on the matter. The Vatican itself has publicly noted problems with the Enneagram. Do you reject the findings of the Holy See?

  • Alexandra Campbell

    Thank you Dan. we all need this help to discern true from false teaching.

  • Cheryl

    Richard Rohr has called Christianity a “junk religion” and said the Eucharist is a “priestly cult.” I think he is a dangerous man. A friend (who is a good person and converted to Catholicism but now is very dissatisfied) sent me one of his August meditations : “All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. If your religion is not showing you how to transform your pain, it is junk religion. It is no surprise that a crucified man became the central symbol of Christianity.”
    .”

    • Lynne Newington

      This reminds me of an Australian woman who at a tender age, entered the TOSF as a postulant seeking a closer relation to God taken serious advantage of.
      When seeking consolation from one of her “spiritual guides, she was given advice very much similiar concluding with “all power to you” and I agree this mentality is extremely dangerous and certainly not conducive to St Francis’s teachings.

  • Heidi keene

    Thank you Dan. I converted to the Catholic faith two years ago and was so hungry for knowledge. Satan wasted no time in leading me directly to Rohr. By God’s grace, I had a very orthodox pastor who set me in the right direction. I have a suggestion for a book totally Catholic, firmly orthodox and utterly transcendent: CCC. Cant get any better and its riches are inexhaustible. I suggest reading the last part first-on prayer, as St Thomas said the most important things come last.

    • LizEst

      I am so pleased your very orthodox pastor sent you in the right direction. God bless him and God bless you. And, if it’s not too late…welcome to our Catholic faith. We are happy you are part of our family!

    • sonny

      In addition to CCC & the Holy Bible, I suggest St Francis de Sales (Introduction to the Devout Life), Dom Chautard (Soul of the Apostolate).

  • ushldcallme

    he is also a frequent annual speaker at the los angles religious congress held at the anaheim convention center, attention archbishop jose horacio gomez

  • Robert Lee

    Having let a friend talk me in to going to one of Mr. Rohr’s men’s retreats, I found him to be an apostate who invited ex-priests who left the church to get married to come up and concelebrate what was called a mass. Rohr was condescending to the point of being rude when confronted about his obvious and intentional deviation from the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Faith.

    Rohr is spreading exactly the type of evil that Father Mitch Pacwa warns us of in his book on Catholics and the new age. I’d love to see Father Pacwa debate Rohr, as Richard Rohr is all touchy feely fluff and no substance.

    No, you cannot trust Richard Rohr. In fact he is who came in to my mind when Pope Francis recently warned us that ‘… it’s true that many times the devil comes dressed as an angel of light,”

  • ellieanna

    As a student of spirituality who has read several of Fr. Rohr’s works, I have never encountered a claim that “crucifixion wasn’t necessary because the Incarnation was all that was needed to redeem humanity.” Thank you for giving me a citation.

    • Robert Lee

      Follow the link and read Father Sibley’s article that quotes directly from Rohr’s books. Solid proof Rohr is an apostate:

      http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=6819

      Don’t be mislead by Rohr’s false teachings, ellieanna!

    • Richard

      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic about the citation comment, but in case you were, Mr. Burke linked to the article from which he was quoting Fr. Sibley, and in that article, Fr. Sibley discusses the implications of a quotation that he found from the first chapter of Fr. Rorh’s book Adam’s Return. Blessings.

      • ellieanna

        Certainly no sarcasm intended. Thank you for the references. I am totally unfamiliar with Adam’s Return but will check out the sources you mention. Thank you.

  • Thomas

    The pastor at the parish I stopped going to for Mass, loved Rohr and called him “A great priest.” The pastor was a member of The Jesus Seminar and said we don’t have to believe in Original Sin…”That was invented by St. Augustine.” The pastor also said “I am a renegade priest…I have issues with the Church.” Need I say any more?

    On Rohr’s website, I read some of his more orthodox comments, but had to check him out for myself. An aide to Rohr wrote back and asked me what I wanted to know and I told him to ask Rohr to tell me what he thought about Jesus’ words that the person who divorces commits adultery. Rohr never responded.

  • mcrognale

    Why is he still a consecrated priest then?

    • LizEst

      Lucy Sanchez, below, asked the same question!

    • Thomas

      Why are all of the progressives still consecrated priests? Answer that question. The pastor and Rohr belong to an institution that suddenly opted for truth by opinion, or wholesale acceptance of simple Protestant theology that we can all decide for ourselves. The bishop and the auxiliary are like most bishops, and they don’t do anything. No discipline within the ranks since ’65. Any wonder the flock is like an unruly classroom? I could go on.

  • Jenn

    I sometimes go to AmericanCatholic.org to hear an audio of the Saint of the Day and saw a video clip promotion for his new book. Franciscan Media is the publisher of his books and of that site as far as I can tell. Alas, yet another example of someone (along with an organization) in the church spreading error and scandal.

  • Gabrielle Renoir

    The Church and all its loyal members need to be vigilant and remain loyal to its roots, i.e., the faith handed to the apostles by Christ, himself. The Church needs no “updating,” no changing of the “rules” Christ gave us. We may seem out-of-step to some, but that is because we are a Church for the ages, not the “new” age.

  • Karm

    I am a Catholic Priest and I read some of Rohr’s books and heard several talks. Hearing you talk like this tells me that we’re afraid to move on. We seem to be happy to be stuck to what we have as if we have it all. If that is so than our God is small. Most of what I read and heard from Rohr is a bit of fresh air just like our new pope is to us with his new interpretations and attitude. I see a lot of what Pope Francis says every day related to what I read in Rohr’s line of thought.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Fr. Karm Debattista, thank you for your comments. Do you agree with Rohr that Jesus did not intend to found a Church? What is the framework you use to determine what is or is not in keeping with the will of God in the Church?

    • Thomas

      How can anyone defend a priest who says things like (the Jesus Seminar pastor mentioned in the combox) “Jesus did not intend to found an institutional church.”? Really? If Jesus didn’t intend it and if he promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide men in leading us, and the Church, then he must have been a liar or a lunatic. The main issue I have with the progressive type of priest is not his advocacy of mercy, compassion, love, and all things Jesus Human, but their underlying issues with authority and with teaching that is truly wise, if not popular. I call that, “subterfuge.”

      • LizEst

        …and we know it was through Jesus’ obedience to the Father that He won for us our salvation. This wasn’t servile fear that makes one afraid of someone but a holy, filial fear that is born of love and respect and adherence to the Father’s will. God bless you, Thomas.

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        Dead on target Thomas

      • Iera Mul

        Dear Thomas, why does “sending the Holy Spirit” mean, Jesus intended to found an ‘institutional’ church?

        Jesus himself had a big problem with authority. For me he is a wonderful revolutionary who shook up the hypocrites of his faith.
        If he wasn’t we would still be stoning women as they do in other religions. if it wasn’t for him we would still believe in a vengeful god.

        Jesus, wanted us to have a real relationship with the father not babbling at street corners and being seen to conform to the church.
        As far as I am concerned, Christianity is built on love, compassion and mercy.

        I have not read Richard Rohr’s books, but have read some of his blogs and so far I have not found anything I would call heretic. but I have seen men beating their wives who as long as they don’t question the church are acceptable.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Dear Lera – it would be a grave misunderstanding of who Jesus was and what he did to say that he had a “big problem of with authority.” He is the God of the Universe and thus the ultimate authority. He established the authority structure that the Jews were following. His resistance was to corruptions of authority that distorted and misrepresented the true message and work of God. “Vengeful God?” I hope you are not speaking of the God of the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the New. With respect to your endorsement of Rohr – I really don’t intend to be harsh but your comments here don’t give me a great deal of comfort regarding your ability to properly discern Church teaching.

          • Iera Mul

            Dan, you are right, I am not very able to discern Church teaching and should have kept out of this discussion. Sorry. interesting website and discussions though and will keep exploring.

          • Thomas

            Hi, Iera. Why should you keep out of the discussion?

            I don’t think I can answer your question as well as Dan Burke has, but I might add some personal reflections.

            I don’t have a problem with authority as long as it is a loving and in-your-best-interests kind of thing. I have seen the effects of exactly what I am talking about as a high school classroom teacher, and the students really crave it. Growing up, I liked tough, smart men to be my role models. They defined goodness and fought evil but never used evil to bring about good. Boys, in particular, crave this type of authoritative manliness, and it is woefully missing in today’s world. In fact, people are deliberately trying to kill it because it is called “patriarchy”–a word that means different things to different people.

            I don’t dislike people of your persuasion, nor do I dislike Fr. Rohr or my former Jesus Seminar pastor; I just think the’ve given up on toeing the line by assuming that the Church has let us down since we have not yet found utopia. In corresponding with my former pastor after one of his homily’s, I questioned him on the RCC’s authority, and he said the same thing about an “institutional Church” that you stated above. I can only assume from this that both of you have picked it up from Fr. Rohr. It takes a lot of “sand” to make that statement.

            The Church is not what my concupiscent nature desires it to be, and as a divorced man who may never get an annulment, I fully accept its teaching on this, and everything else. When the pastor, in confession, had told me not to believe I was sinning, I objected because he contradicted Church teaching, through and through. Why? To make me feel better? I told him, “Look, I don’t want you to lower the bar for me; I like it where it is.” I then told him that the best football coach who ever lived, Vince Lombardi, told his Packers they were going to “relentlessly chase perfection” knowing they wouldn’t catch it, but in doing so they would be EXCELLENT.

            I LOVE THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH and I fully accept it as an authoritative voice of the Holy Spirit working through sinners.

            Thank you for allowing me to clarify my post.

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            Thank you for your charitable response Thomas. I also hope that Lera stays engaged and that my comments didn’t come off as too harsh. My intent was to be clear on a perspective that I believe reflects Church teaching, not to scare her off.

          • Iera Mul

            Dear Thomas – thank you very much for your in-depth explanation and I am so happy that you love the Church. I don’t really have a problem with authority – I appreciate that without it we would not have the Roman Catholic church of today and that helps me a lot when I come up against faith “blocks” or doubts. I grew up in a central e
            European village (90%) catholic, where daily mass, devotional reading and praying the rosary was everything, but I am not sure if my parents and grandparents had a bible. Everything rested on authority and religious peer pressure . I had to leave this environment and only now (25 years later) can i see beyond authority and appreciate the church as a spiritual “guide” and not just god’s police. I am still growing up like one of your high school students.

            I know very little about Richard Rohr. I only came across him as i practice (with difficulty) Christian Meditation (With WCCM) in England. I have read Dan’s concerns about the practice and I would agree with him if meditation was the only prayer method someone practiced. However, for me it only it is one aspect of my prayer time. Meditation helps me establish a prayer discipline by placing myself before god without making any demands – just being open. If I felt god was speaking to me, I would listen and after my meditation communicate verbally in the form of praise, thanks, intercession etc. Meditation has its own difficulties for me so I understand why the church is cautious. Emptying the mind when someone has turmoil in their life is very difficult as the subconscious can take the opportunity to fill the void. It is important to be honest with oneself and proceed only if it leads closer to god.

          • Thomas

            Well, you have summed it up quite well, Iera. Whether the subject is reading and interpreting scripture, or methods of attaining a higher state of spirituality in our lives, if there is anything I have learned it is I must do these things within the context of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching, and not of my own.

            For example, when I read or study scripture, I contemplate it but in the end I check my interpretation with orthodox Catholic exegesis. This does not mean I cannot think for myself, but rather that I wish to understand scripture more truthfully. What good would the Church serve if we all went our own separate ways? We would not be one, and we are not entirely one for that reason today: refusal to submit to an authority that, in spite of its toughness, is quite good, loving, and wise.

            I think the same is true for developing our spiritual side. In our attempt to be merciful and tolerant (ouch!), I must do so without compromising orthodox Church teaching. Some people play up the ‘mercy’ of Jesus, but they do so because they actually want to compromise dogma: it is a hidden agenda and it is, therefore, not genuine. If my spiritual methods make me wiser or holier (that’s a tall order for me), I would be a charlatan if I thought I were bigger than the Church. That, to me, is the height of all arrogance and self-centeredness.

            Glad you are hanging in there and glad to see you LOVE the Church too.

          • Iera Mul

            Thank you once again, Thomas, I will definitely ‘hang around’ on this site for some more food for thought.

          • David Hoban

            Iera,
            Emptying the mind…

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            David – assuming the best about your love for the Church. What would you say about a priest who denies the existence of the Devil, who characterize recent popes as not being Christians, who deny the need for reconciliation or that there is judgement or hell?

          • Camila

            Dear Iera,

            Jesus teaches to “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

            May God bless your search and your journey!

            Kindly,
            Camila

        • Camila

          Iera “why does sending the Holy Spirit mean, Jesus intended to found an institutional church?”

          You answered this question in your own response. Because ‘Jesus, wanted us to have a real relationship with the father’. These are all taken from your answer.

          Here’s how it all connects:
          The Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all one. They are simply three persons to the 1 and same God.

          So, by giving us the Holy Spirit what He is effectively giving us is His own life. And at baptism we are infused with the seed, if you will, of the very life itself of the Blessed Trinity – the same life that sustained Jesus 2000 years ago, now sustains the Church. Imagine a natural state and a supernatural state of living. Well, we can be naturally alive but supernaturally dead. In order to be supernaturally alive, and btw this is the kind of life that we need to have to live in Heaven; we need the supernatural life of the Holy Spirit. Voila!

          You see? Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the Church and in turn the Church gives the Holy Spirit to us!

          Does this make sense?

          Now; you mention that guy who beats his wife. Well, the very tragic part of this whole thing is that with 1 mortal sin you can destroy this magnificent life you share with God. And without this life we can do very many stupid things; like beating of a wife.

          The supernatural life of the Holy Spirit within us is a VERY precious gift and one that needs to be cared for carefully. It can be lost… and gained again of course… how?… again via the Church; in the sacrament of confession…. It’s beautiful isn’t it?

          • Iera Mul

            Dear Camilla, thank you very much for your kind answer. I appreciate your explanation. I think I understand most of what you say and I certainly agree with your last paragraph. Unfortunately there is a lot in the catholic faith I don’t understand and i will try this year to get better informed. thank you.

    • Camila

      Hi Karm,
      Can you point me to what you found in Rohr’s book that has been “a breath of fresh air”? I mean specifically, a quote a comment, or an idea?

  • Michael Dowd

    On the question of Fr. Rohr: Why can’t a Catholic Index of Questionable/Forbidden books be re-introduced? This should be the job of the Bishops who are supposed to be the guardians of the faith. Trying to be a good orthodox Catholic is getting harder and harder and we need all the help we can get especially from those whose job is to provide it.

  • Lynne Newington

    A word of warning, spiritual directors are human too, Richard Rhor included and the higher the pedestal you place them on the harder the fall.

    • LizEst

      We need to always listen to what the Church believes and teaches. That which deviates from it is not for emulation.

  • Mary Rudd

    I think you shouldn’t lead people away from an author or teacher if you are unfamiliar with his or her works. Richard Rohr is one of the reasons I have remained Catholic and I believe he is very, very good for our faith. His books are compelling, contemplative, and inspiring. I also think you should spend some time with the enneagram and with someone who is a good teacher of the tool. It provides an adult framework for understanding people and how and why we all do what we do. Father Rohr has an excellent CD set about it and some books, too. Why don’t you give them a fair try before you judge? You probably should stay away from judging in the first place, and tell people that they can think for themselves as long as they undergo prayerful discernment processes. As a lifelong Catholic, it’s the arrogance and judgement I have seen within this church that have nearly pushed me out. For me, teachers like Rohr and tools like the enneagram have taken a lot of that learned judgement away and replaced it with compassion.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Mary: Your assumption that I have not read Richard Rohr might be warranted because I used a post from another site. However, I can assure you that I would never reject or warn people about an author if I didn’t have first hand knowledge of his or her writings. Even so, I suspect you either didn’t read the article or don’t care about the Vatican’s public document that condemns the use of the enneagram. If you did read it and still insist on promoting this, I would then understand why you cling to Richard Rohr instead of to Christ and His Church. But, maybe you missed it and didn’t read the article? We have given hundreds of hours and will continue to do research into Rohr’s books, and the deeper we go, the worse it gets. I do pray for him that he will repent and return to the heart of the Church. In the meantime, I also sincerely pray that you will stop drinking and promoting this spiritual poison. With all sincerity – please consider the possibility that you have spiritual blinders that are keeping you from seeing what many of us clearly recognize and turn your attention away from that error to the true depths and riches and beauty of faithful Catholic Spirituality. If we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      • Mary Rudd

        That’s the type of arrogance to which I refer. You know nothing about my entire spiritual journey and I assure you there is not “error” in this path. I said that the enneagram is a tool, a framework. It’s a very small part of my journey. That you would call something “poison” that has resulted in compassion and forgiveness is the true blinder. Do you really think that you have all of the answers and that all people should think the way you think? My contemplative journey has brought me into wonderful faith dialogue with truly prayerful, kind, compassionate people–of many Christian faiths, not just Catholic. Our dialogue is always about Christ, about prayer, about living in the world in love despite its many challenges. I believe that God is big enough for all of us. You seem to take an exclusive view. By the way, I have a spiritual director. She’s an 80 year old sister and very wise.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Thank you Mary. You have made my point more clear. God bless you in your continued journey with Him.

      • Mary Rudd

        Dear Dan, “The deeper we go, the worse it gets” is not very specific. I have read most of Rohr’s books in conjunction with a daily prayer schedule, participation in a centering prayer group, in a Merton group, and in weekly mass. I have also experienced great forgiveness and compassion through the use of the enneagram, which is just a tool, but a useful one for many, many people. Perhaps it could be twisted in some evil way–I’m not sure how–but that responsibility lies with the person who misuses it—just like the priesthood or any vehicle within the church and outside of it. How can you just dismiss people and their ideas when many people have found deeper faith with their help? I have a spiritual director–an 80 year old lifelong Catholic–a sister of Notre Dame. She did not introduce me to Rohr or to the enneagram, but she didn’t judge me for finding them useful, either.

        It seems like you have good intentions, but I urge you to consider that there are many ways to live Christ’s message, and also that the Vatican has corrected a few errors in its time and it will do so again. God is BIG, Dan–big enough for all of us, and I have strong doubts that HE categorizes people in the way that earthly minds do.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Thank you Mary. I have a question that is one of sincere interest in your perspective. I am not looking to argue but to understand where you are coming from. Do you believe that we as Catholics should recognize and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in and through the magisterium of the Church or do you think Church documents, decisions, teachings etc. are optional for us as Catholics?

        • Camila

          Hi Mary,

          You say “the Vatican has corrected a few errors in its time”. Which errors are you referring to?

          Dogmas have never and will never change. No pope has ever promulgated a document contradictory to church’s teaching.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Mary – as you have a moment, I have another question of sincere interest. Do you think that Jesus would agree with the idea that there is such thing as good or bad approaches to prayer or would he say that all “prayer” good as long as it works for the person?

          • Mary Rudd

            With all due respect, Dan, I am uncomfortable with your “either-or” question. It seems as though you are trying to discredit my experience by getting me to take a narrow path–neither of which is accurate. What is faith if it doesn’t lead one to a deep, personal, prayerful connection with the Hoiy Spirit? I happen to relate to Rohr’s style of expression and to his inclusive view. We shouldn’t create tribes with our faith; we should open our arms to all. I’m leaving your site. You don’t listen very well.

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            Mary – my goal is very simple and honest. To listen and understand. Funny that you claim the opposite while refusing to answer a sincere question and then running away when I do the very thing you accuse me of failing to do… oh well. Sorry to see you go. Blessings on you and yours.

    • Camila

      Hi Mary,

      Why do you think Richard Rohr is a good teacher?

      • Mary Rudd

        Camila, he is a model of compassion and is very reflective. He has an edge, for sure, because truth always does come with some discomfort. But he includes himself in that discomfort, never trying to place himself on a pedestal. It’s the combination of his knowledge and human-ness that appeals. Pick up his book “The Naked Now” in a store and read the preface he wrote. After reading that contextual self-reflection, you will know his tone and passion. This is a priest who is REAL. I’m moving out of this site, now. it’s clearly not for me at this time.

        • Camila

          Thanks Mary. I looked up the book you recommended. I have not read it. I read the quick summary posted on the book’s page and a little red flag goes up in my mind. Let me explain.

          It says “this examination reveals how many of the hidden truths of Christianity have been misunderstood or lost and how to read them with the eyes of the mystics rather than interpreting them through rational thought.”

          Now, I realized this is probably not written by the author, but we could probably agree that it is written with the purpose of giving a quick view to future interested readers. Here’s the problem phrase “rather than interpreting them through rational though” – this is a concern if the book really does try to do this.

          Mary, good theology will not discourage rational thought. If you look into history you can find theologians going both ways, those that emphasize experience above all things, and on the other those that abandon experience of God for a total rational, disputation theology – this isn’t good either. St. Thomas Aquinas for example is a great model of the balance between both extremes.

          You don’t want to be guided spiritually by someone that would encourage you to put rational thought aside regardless of how many quotes he gives from the saints or how friendly and ‘real’ he may seem. You see, if this is true, this idea is something many have tried to steer into throughout history, but time an time again it has been proven that one must not leave reason.

          This is just a quick example of a red flag I picked up from the summary.

        • oldbrit75

          So Mary Rudd finds a priest, who can say this about the Catholic Church, spiritually uplifting, hmmm
          “Everything the Catholic Church offers in the way of its sacramental rituals and moral and doctrinal teachings is an obstacle to having a relationship with God”.
          Said in 2001at a conference in Los Angeles. His topic was, “Religion as Membership vs. Religion as Transformation”

  • Jonathan

    Read him before you throw him under a bus man! Sounds like you’d probably also throw Pope Francis under a bus!!

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Jonathan – It is a bit amusing to get comments like this. The assumption is, that the concerns would be aleviated by exposure to his writings. Jonathan, the concerns come out of exposure to his writings and what he has said. Regarding Pope Francis, he is a powerful blessing to the Church. No clue what he has to do with Richard Rohr.

  • Clifton Leon Painter

    Shame on you! Misinforming where you are ignorant. When the blind lead the blind, they all fall into a ditch. You should withhold from judgement unless and until you hear your brother’s case. Shame!

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Clifton, thank you for your note. In what way are we ignorant in this post? What do you specifically disagree with? Looking forward to your insights.
      Sent from my iPad

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        Another non-response.. Please pray for Clifton.

  • Travis Apollonius

    Aside from Jesus Christ himself, there are five writers that I can thank for my own conversion to Christianity. Had it not been for Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, John Dear, and Daniel Berrigan, I might never have seen Christ in a positive light and never decided to convert to Catholicism.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Thank you Travis. Praise The Lord that he uses broken instruments to help us to know and love Him.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Mary Wiley

        We are all broken vessels in the hands of the potter. Some are just more aware of that than others.

        • Joe Nutt

          Absolutely, Mary! We have ourselves and all the saints and prophets to vouge for that one.

      • s_xanthos

        …your arrogance astounds me…!!!!

        RR a broken instrument? Do you ever dream to be part of a holy inquisition board?? It sounds so appropriate…

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Arrogance? Is any one of us not a broken instrument in need of God’s redemption? I certainly consider myself in this category.

  • $1650412

    I looked at Rohr’s website and I have serious misgivings about whether or not his teaching is orthodox. It comes across as new age. The mystical life is about knowing Jesus Christ- if I have to dig around on the website to even find any mention of the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ I have issues with that-I am not just using my rubber stamp method as some kind of litmus test here either. When I have been in the fire of spiritual trial- at the end of myself in interior darkness- the only tether for me is the ultimate grounding, primal reality ‘Jesus Christ is Lord!’ If I cannot find something to this effect easily, on a Roman Catholic spiritual director’s website- I find it immediately suspect, and I don’t think it is in any way judgmental to have that concern. I think in our day and age- it is a sign of prudence. If God has used Richard Rohr to bless and strengthen Catholics in fidelity to the Church and to their faith, then this is a testimony to the power and glory of God- all honor be unto His holy name! I think this is wonderful- but it does not prove in any way that Rohr is orthodox or trustworthy as a source of inspiration in the faith. It proves that God is faithful- the gift and challenge still lies with each one of us to discern what is most consistent with the timeless teaching of the Church, and to ensure that our faith is conformed to those teachings in Christ- not stopping short in the beauty of the appeal of the reflection of those teachings as colored by the reflections of an engaging personality.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Well said as usual Jo

  • James Steerforth

    For anyone brave enough… [Dear James – we don’t allow ad hominem or vitriolic attacks on this blog. If you would like to be specific about what you disagree with in the post without condemning or judging the author, you are welcome to provide feedback. Please read the FAQ for posting guidelines.]

    • James Steerforth

      Specifically, I am saddened that a Catholic writer would seek to tarnish the reputation of a priest who has devoted his entire life to serving the Catholic Church.

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        James – we and others cited in the post are simply responding to a question we were asked and answering based on his writings and public comments. If his reputation is tarnished it is by his own words. We are simply pointing out that he is at odds with the magisterium of the Church. Would I be right to assume that you have no issue with the issues pointed out in the post?

  • Bruce Brodowski

    I believe that we should be careful as to what lens we are looking through. This is what we are taught in seminary classes. See through the lens of the author that wrote the particular book of scripture. That then also translates into seeing the world through the lens that God is looking through. How big is that splinter in your eye? Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Once you cross that line, you are now in the enemies camp being used by him. Maybe you would like to be judged through the same lens you are looking through?

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Bruce, thank you for your comments. The lens I look through is the lens of the magisterium of the Church. We make no qualms about that here. If I am asked a question about someone’s writings, this is the lens through which we make the assessment. We are not condemning as you claim but merely assessing. If the Church teaches X and Fr. Rohr rejects X, there is no condemnation in bringing that reality to light. I am very happy to be judged by the same standard that I hold which is why we regularly have scholars review our materials and my writings. Now that we are past your ad-hominem red herring with me, do you have any concrete objections to what was written that might help the conversation? Is there anything we can clarify for you?

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        It is notable that Bruce did not respond to my request for specific disagreements. I didn’t expect that he would offer one. Please pray for these folks They are obviously trapped in spiritual darkness and need our prayers and support.

  • David Hoban

    I suggest that all those people who are hostile to Fr Richard Rohr read his book ‘The immortal Diamond’ pages 59 to 61. Perhaps then you will feel the need to pray for forgiveness for some very harsh and nasty comments on here of all places….By the way Dan Burke, you can dress it up in whatever way you want but calling him a broken instrument is certainly attacking his reputation in my opinion.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Thank you David. What do you specifically disagree with in the article?
      Sent from my iPad

  • David Hoban

    I have made 7 comments on here and only one has appeared in full. The other comment that was printed was reduced to only 3 words! I believe all of my comments have been within the ‘guidelines’ so why are they not appearing? However, when I look at those who have favourable/similar views to Dan Burke, their comments and contributions are fully recognised and printed! (Mods such as Camilla and Liz for example) Very strange – I just hope there isn’t a more sinister reason. Therefore, I don’t see the point in wasting my time in trying to contribute and then not being recognised. It SEEMS that this site is all about like minded people patting themselves on the back for being so pious while SELECTIVELY ignoring the more theologically challenging comments or only printing those comments that they feel they can comfortably put down.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear David – please review our FAQ. Our approach is consistent and clear. You are correct in one point – you have been edited. The reason is that we don’t allow promotion of authors that teach or offer perspectives that are contrary to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. One of the authors you attempted to promote is vehemently opposed to the teachings of the Church and in a recent event quipped that he doubted the salvation of recent Popes. So, yes, we are selective. Our commitment and loyalty is to the truth of Christ and His Church. We are unashamed in this commitment and desire to bring the great joy and beauty of this reality to all we can. If you reject it or refuse to see it, this is unfortunate for you but out of our control. Yours in Christ.

      • David Hoban

        Okay, we must just agree to disagree then. I have to say though, surely if you are asking whether or not you can trust someone then you need to hear all sides and not just print those views that generally favour your argument. This is only fair and common courtesy. As to whether or not Fr Richard Rohr’s teaching goes against the magisterium of the Catholic Church, then I would have thought that the people on here would be mature enough to decide for themselves, without the need for censorship. A healthy out in the open discussion, as long as it is not deliberately rude and offensive, must be better than that. What I have tried and not been allowed to do is to defend Fr Richard against some of the accusations on here that, in my opinion, have been wholly misleading and his remarks and sayings taken completely out of context. To quote a couple of sentences, whilst plucking them out of the context of a 2 hour speech is unjust, unfair and goes against all that our Lord stood for. The magisterium of the church have no problem with Fr Richard or he would not still be a practising priest and that is not an opinion but a fact.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          David – thanks for your comments. This is not a debate site. It is a place where we come to sit at the feet of Jesus in and through those who thoroughly embrace his teachings as they come in and through the magisterium. If you would like to start your own blog and set your rules as you see fit, you are welcome to do so. Rejecting our approach and then claiming it is unfair is frankly nothing less than childish foot-stomping. Anyone who understands the teachings of the Church and has spent any time in Fr. Rohr’s books or at his talks will have no problem seeing the blatant contrast between his positions and those of the Church. It is not a matter of context, it is a matter of fact and a willingness to see the truth. With respect to your argument about him operating outside of discipline – I would submit that there is a time and place for everything. The Church always tries to err on the side of mercy. In Fr. Rohr’s case, those who have authority over him are either too busy with other challenges or they do not love him or the truth enough to exercise the discipline that would bring him back to the true faith. Just because a pedophile has yet to be discovered and then held accountable, doesn’t mean he is not guilty. It just means he has yet to be discovered and held accountable. To be clear, I speak all of this with great sadness for Fr. Rohr and all of those who have been sucked into his errors. Lord have mercy.

          • David Hoban

            Dan….It’s your site and your rules and I respect that. However I’m going to leave one more contribution that I believe to be very apt. I don’t know whether you will print it or not but at least you’ll get to see it and I hope you will reflect, think and pray about it, in order to see how it completely disagrees with your own position. It is a quote that comes from Pope Francis, a man whose authority we both recognise. As you know his level of MAGISTERIUM is regarded as ‘extraordinary’. He was talking about the internet and this is what he said…………..”.A DIALOGUE means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to ENTERTAIN his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does NOT MEAN RENOUNCING our own ideas and traditions, but the pretence that they ALONE are valid and absolute.”……………..Pope Francis on Thursday 23rd January 2014.

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            David – I won’t quibble with you about your misunderstanding about extraordinary expression of the magisterium or your blatant misuse of the Pope’s words. However, your quest for dialogue is really, however well intended, a very distorted one. Maybe you are feeling personally slighted? I am sorry if this is the case. I don’t know why you struggle so much with the idea that if a teacher in the Church blatantly and openly rejects the teachings of the Church that promotion of or discussion about their teachings is not welcome on this site and would in no way be a violation of the Pope’s exhortation. I am really at a loss as to why you struggle with this idea. Why, when you have the doctors of the Church – the saints of the Church – the incredible beauty and riches of the Church at your disposal, the thousands of years of tested wisdom, the martyrs of the Church who died for these truths, do you cling to men who reject it? What is there to dialogue about? Would you seek to “dialogue” with the devil? Would the Pope ask you to dialogue with the devil? We are not an apologetics site or a site of intellectual wrangling David. We are a people seeking to learn from those who know the Lord – not to “dialogue” about those who clearly reject Jesus and His Church. The bottom line is that this is another example of the very very sad situation that results when good people come in contact with false teachers – they develop attachments and a blindness and they cannot let them go. I sincerely pray that you are released from this blindness and come to know Christ and come out of this profound darkness you are trapped in.

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            One other thought David as I just did while praying to the Lord ensure I am charitable – take a look at this entire thread. You will notice a profound pattern. 1) Folks express outrage or attack me. 2) I ignore the attacks and ask about specifics (you might call this “dialogue”). 3) They either attack more or disappear… Not a single person dealt with anything specific in the post. This all speaks to a deep spiritual darkness David. Again, I pray that you and the others that have been seduced will be set free by the power of Jesus.

          • Camila

            David,

            So if I understand you correctly when I dialogue with an atheist on whether the existence of God can be proven by reason then both he and I hold true premises?

            The atheist claim there is no God.

            I claim there is a God.

            And the fact we are having a dialogue means I should hold the other might possibly be true?

        • Camila

          David,

          There are some that say doing drugs is good for me. Do you really expect me to sit and ponder the many pros and cons of doing drugs? No, right? (I hope we can agree on this). I reject that idea strictly based on the authority of credible health organizations that tell me ‘do not do drugs’. Done, I obey on faith alone. After all I have no personal knowledge nor experience on using drugs, have no clue what the side effects are. Just by blind faith on these trustworthy organizations I reject something without much pondering or deliberation. I trust them, that is enough for me.

    • Thomas

      Hello, David.

      We would like to pat each other on the back for being “orthodox.” I don’t believe I could pat myself on the back for being pious, which is why I prefer orthodox Church teachings. There isn’t a choice in the matter. I am reminded of comments on another blog where two women expressed displeasure with the pope’s recent appointments because he had not appointed a single woman as a cardinal, or bishop. Then, they said “We are campaigning worldwide to change the Church’s position on female clergy,” or words to this effect.

      Some people equate the development of doctrine with democracy, and they believe that they can actually impose their own views on the Church and thereby treat it as a legislative body subject to public opinion. I joined this conversation months ago because i was attending a parish where the pastor preached a Protestant theology, and I later learned he is a member of the Jesus Seminar. He used his pulpit to promote Fr. Rohr, Joseph Campbell, who said, “The Resurrection was a clown act,” Jung, and others. When clergy feel the need to deviate from authentic Church teaching, they are putting their own egos above the truth as it has been revealed to us. Now, I must stop…..my lunch break is over. I hope this provides an explanation from a hapless sinner who loves the Church and all of its teachings.

    • $1650412

      David, I don’t want to be disrespectful to you, and I am no pious like-minded RCSD groupie- I am especially having trouble with the pious part. I appreciate that Rohr is saying things that make people think and that propel them toward a more authentic worship of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. BUT, this priest is also saying things that be construed as flat out heretical. This is where souls need to be careful- astute, and if you want to follow the counsel of the ancients like Antony of the Desert and Athanasius for example… they would recommend not to listen to anyone who teaches that which is not completely consistent with the teachings of the Church. Rohr is a question mark. We can debate all day long whether or not that is something to talk about, think about, or what- maybe an entertaining dinner party exercise, but NOT a means for forming the soul, NOT a means for staking the construct of one’s life in making those decisions that have to do with how we are willing to live and die for love of Jesus Christ. AND that is what faith is- it is the substance of what I am willing to live and die over regarding Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior- this is critical in every sense of the word. I am sure no one who frequents this site wants to slice and dice another person over issues in comboxes- but any day of the week I will take to task any idea, concept, or thought tripping the blogosphere fantastic, masquerading as Truth. Rohr says things about Scripture that remind me of the Green witch in the Narnian tale of the Silver Chair- I don’t know if his tongue, or his fingers, or his mind are forked but something is wrong there-and it is ok to say that.

      • Camila

        You go girl!

        • David Hoban

          I wasn’t aware this was a competition Camilla. I am not going to be drawn anymore into a battle of words in order to try and win a pointless argument. As Fr Richard says, we use words to win arguments and to put people down and it is all ego based and a complete waste of time. I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me or Fr Richard. You can either see it or you can’t.

          • Camila

            David,
            I agree it is not a competition, it was simply a way to express my agreement with her. That is all.
            I would absolutely love to have a conversation with you and I have written two questions. Neither of which you were interested in discussing.

          • Camila

            David,

            Dan has asked you to produce a specific example of what exactly do you disagree with, and your comments have avoided specifics. Why?

            To resort to this kind of conclusion “you can either see it or you can’t” is not very helpful. If you think I’m blind and can’t see, then tell me specifically what is it that I need to see. Be specific.

            For example: I disagree with Camila because she is wrong here (give example) and this is why (support or view point). Give me quotes from Fr. Rohr, back him up with the Catechism – or a Church teaching and explain why I’m misunderstanding him.

          • David Hoban

            I have replied to specific points and been censored as Dan Burke has admitted. How can I reply to specific points only to be told that what I have written is not acceptable. That’s an impossible position! Indeed I replied to you and Jo at the same time. What I said to Jo hasn’t appeared. How can one reply when such replies are selectively edited and or censored!

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            David ­ you are now being blatantly dishonest. You never answered any of my questions. You simply attempted to promote teachers and leaders that are leading folks down a path we can’t abide.

          • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

            Now is your chance David. Don’t evade or change the subject. Just answer Camila’s question.

          • Camila

            Would you agree that Fr. Rohr promotes New Age?

          • Camila

            “we use words to win arguments and to put people down”

            Words are our means to express our ideas. Our ideas can be a reflection of reality or an illusion. Words are what we have to communicate, either spoken or written.

  • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

    So don’t debate, “dialogue” – Camila is up for it.

    • Camila

      Yes, I’ll dialogue.

    • David Hoban

      My point has been proven with that comment Dan…END OF DISCUSSION.

      • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

        Figured as such David. Blessings to you.

  • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

    Dissenter’s Dictionary Term of the Day “Dialogue” or What those who use the term “dialogue” in this context really mean: “If you were as wise, good, and holy as me, you would would be enlightened to a higher wisdom and evolutionary way of non-tribal thinking” (spoken in hushed gentle tones of course). “You would recognize that the teachings of madame X or richard Y are really enlightened and more important and profound than the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the holy Saints of the Church for the past two thousand years and are more true and profound than the teachings of all the bishops of the entire world gathered under the leadership of the Pope at the Council.” “Let me tell you the truth of madame x and richard y and you will realize that all taught in the past is wrong and they are right and I am right and their teachings helped me and others so they must be right, good and true.” [Now this is me talking – “Dialogue” in this context is used as an attempt to manipulate the faithful into sitting and listening to dissenting propaganda. If we disagree, ask very clear and precise questions and insist on answers, we are then accused of being “hostile” or entering into “debate” or being ignorant or uncharitable. Thank God for the truth of the Church and that the Holy Spirit protects us from the lies that these poor fools have embraced. May God have mercy on their souls – and I do mean this with all sincerity and love – may God have mercy on their souls.]

    • Camila

      Fools take no delight in understanding,
      but only in displaying what they think.
      (Proverbs 18:2)

      • LizEst

        Well said!

  • John Hancock

    Any person with a closed mind is an insult to God.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Exactly ­ It really is hard to understand why Fr. Rohr remains a priest while he refuses to open his mind to the teachings of the Church.

      • John Hancock

        Well, after being a Catholic for 77 years, I would hardly describe my church as “open minded.” Too many reputable Catholic theologians have been marginalized in recent decades by a Vatican fearful of honest thought. Returning to the topic of Fr. Rohr, I’m delighted he remains a priest. His ideas have greatly enriched my spiritual life because they reflect the precepts of Christ Himself.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          Spiritual life enriched? So you are closer to Christ and more like Him?
          Sent from my iPad

        • MarcAlcan

          Since when have Catholic theologians the right not to be marginalized? The problem with some theologians is that they think of themselves as a kind of second magisterium. There is no such thing.

          It is the duty of the Church as Mater et Magistra to tend to the spiritual health of the her children. Anything that will cause such illness must be removed.

          What I don’t get with so called Catholic theologians who dissent from Catholic teaching is that they do not seem to understand that they are in fact in schism within themselves.

          To be Catholic is to be under the Pope and to be obedient to the Magisterium. If you cannot do that, then there is a plethora of denominations where this and that heretical belief and practice has been observed for years. Why not just join them?

          Remaining in the Church and pretending to be Catholic causes the destruction of so many souls. Because they are theologians, people automatically assume that somehow they speak for the Church even when they are speaking against her very basic teachings. Their musings are precisely just that – private musings. Until the Magisterium approves of their musings and elevates it to doctrine.

          I like what Father Paul Mankowski, S.J said of the ITC.

          The International Theological Commission, … enjoys the same level of teaching authority as the Philatelic Office of the Holy See — that’s to say: zero.

          To be Catholic is to have a Pope .

          As for Fr Rohr’s precepts reflecting Christ’s precepts – only if you believe that Jesus is a proponent of New Age lies.

      • MarcAlcan

        Bravo!

    • MarcAlcan

      Be careful of the extremely open mind, all the goodness can seep out and all the rubbish can come in. The mind that is also always open retains nothing good.

      That is why Jesus speaks of gates. We need to know what to let in and what to let out.

      The Israel who was open minded was also the Israel who fell into idolatry. They worshipped Yahweh-but they also worshipped Baal and Ashtera and Heqt and all sorts of idols. Hey you’ve got to be open minded right? The more gods the merrier.

  • Connie

    He’s not a hidden or obscure Priest, one can presume the Bishops overseeing Fr. Richard Rohr as a Priest of the RCC are informed to the questions, concerns and of any controversy of his teachings. It appears that Fr. Rohr has widespread effect on souls through so many ways, and that by the inaction of officials is in effect permission and that nothing needs to be corrected. Hard to believe what has been indicated could be left to continue.

  • John Donohue

    Dan maybe you should read something by Fr. Richard before you condemn him. I suggest Falling Upward as a good plave to start.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear John – I understand that because I used a piece from someone else that you might reasonably presume that I have not read Fr. Richard’s writings. I have. In fact, I just reviewed his latest, “Silent Compassion” and was not surprised to find the telltale fare of false shallow spirituality, negativity against the Church, false teachings, and the common distortions of Nostra Aetate etc. Regardless, I presume that you are a good man. In that spirit might I suggest you spend some time in the Catechism and the doctors of the Church. You will soon recognize that Fr. Rohr is living in and teaching profound error that is poisonous to the soul. Once you find real thing you won’t regret leaving his hallow teachings behind you.

  • Pingback: Richard Rohr: Can Catholics Trust Fr. Richard Rohr?()

  • voiceinthedesert

    My comments disappear. I will continue to be a Faithful Catholic. Ever wonder why we have less and less Catholic Schools?

    • http://www.marythedefender.wordpress.com MariaGo

      Your comments are not disappearing. Everyone’s comments here are subject to moderation.

      Our more senior moderators are in the US and so they might be asleep or eating dinner. Please give them time to respond. In the meantime, please read our FAQ to understand our comment moderation policies. Thank you! God Bless!

      FAQ link
      http://www.spiritualdirection.com/frequently-asked-questions

  • Toby

    Thank you for this post. I purchased one of Fr. Rohr’s books at Pauline Books & Media in NYC and as I was reading I felt myself growing dismayed. I felt let down. The mysticism of Christianity is so rich that no other bells and whistles are necessary. The entire religion is mystery.

    New Age buzzwords and alarm bells — I can’t even finish it. I went to this lovely bookshop run by religious sisters and trustingly put down $21.99 on a book on Franciscan spirituality and it was treacly hippie-dippy nonsense. As with a lot of things like this I’m sure there is plenty of good insight here but embedded in creepy New Age stuff and I could have gone anywhere else for that.

    By the way, I am speaking as a person who has done bhajan singing, cult chanting, ashram retreating, tarot cards, psychics, bowing to a lamp in yoga class, Course of Miracles, Deepak–you get the picture!

    • LizEst

      Thank you for your witness, Toby…and God bless you.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Thanks for your testimony Toby – it is great to have your comments. What kind of spiritual reading are you doing now?

  • Toby

    I need to hear the voices of reason.

  • larry

    Before I return to being a practicing Catholic I read Riso’s Enneagram voraciously and referred to the Enneagram frequently. The Enneagram is sort of like fortune telling or a book form of a psychic. I ditched that and now search for truth in the Bible and carefully selected spiritual writings.

  • Deoacveritatimyfaithsustainsm

    We live in the times of Apostasy, that is the root of the problem.

    May God help us keep our Faith in these very difficult times of the Catholic Church.

  • patriciaicon

    I joined a prayer group reading the letters by St Francis de Sales….he saved thousands of people after the protestant revolution…in the 1500’s. Fr. Rohr is New Age. I am surprised the Daughters of St. Paul carries any of his books. books recommended by EWTN……and listed in the Latin Mass magazine and Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

  • patriciaicon

    The crucifix is necessary…read about three children in the near east who refused to give up Jesus….3 tInes the ISIS soldies asled them….they were instantly beheaded….they were all under 1t years of age. The crucifix reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice.j

  • patriciaicon

    Like asking a doctor to use a variety of shots, some made by a New Age doctor no one ever heard of….People do not want shots made up of aborted fetal tissue. Some at the top of the medical field has the correct answer.

  • MarkH

    Once again, the claims of heresy get thrown around so easily but no one gives specific examples. Any pursuit of truth welcomes a full exchange of ideas, which this forum is terrified of. The only thing Jesus really condemned was a person’s unwillingness to see their own sin. I wonder if the critics here are as familiar with the intricacies of their own failings as they claim to be those of Fr Rohr. This forum is rich in some things, but grace and humility are not among them.

  • LizEst

    Hi Roger–Thanks for your question. Rather than go into all the details here, we are posting a link to an excellent article which explains this here: http://home.earthlink.net/~mysticalrose/closed.html I hope this helps…and God bless you!

  • P. Margaret Rios

    A truth wrapped in lies becomes a lie. Most people are biblically illiterate so they swallow the seeds along with the watermelon. Mr. Rohr will be judged more harshly by our Heavenly Father than those who are not teachers. It’s a biblical truth set for th h in the New Testament. He has been deceived. PRAY FOR HIM AND FOR ALL HE IS DECEIVING.

    • Don Smith

      Who am I to judge. The spirit will make all things clear.

  • QBMjm

    Can anyone comment on a catholic speaker named, Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson? I heard him speak and his message did not sit well with me. He appeared to have a hidden agenda, he seemed to be redefining the definition of sexual relationship?

    • Dan Burke

      If he is the guy I think he is, run, do not walk. He is not a faithful Catholic by any stretch of the imagination.

  • LizEst

    Because he teaches things that are not in line with the Magisterium, the fruit is a pick and choose, make your own brand of Catholicism, which is not grounded on what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Catholicism does not change based on what we want or on whether or not we can handle the truth. As St Augustine said, “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” The same holds true with how one interprets the Gospel. If people interpret the Gospel and/or the Church according to what they like in it, or what is easy in it, and reject what they don’t like or what is hard in it, it’s not the Gospel and/or the Church they believe in, but themselves!

    Human emotions are as changeable as the weather. They are the worst barometer of whether or not something is authentically good and true. An experience, in and of itself, is not a good measuring stick. By that reasoning, we would all be drunks, gluttons, sex addicts, etc, etc, etc. A person doesn’t have to eat a rotten egg to know it is rotten, the smell should be warning enough!

    • Dan Burke

      AMEN!

  • Navy76

    Exactly!!!! Well written.

  • Navy76

    What you say is true regarding a priest’s ordination. However, his faculties as a priest can be taken away by his bishop. This has been done countless times, and should be done in Rohr’s case.

  • SuzieQ

    Hi Dan. I have tried to join the discussion but my comments have been removed. Can you explain to me why?

    • LizEst

      SuzieQ – You are reiterating the same things that others have said. It contributes nothing new but promotes Rohr’s thought, which we do not endorse on site. The goal in all of this is to build one another up in Christ and His Church, not to win arguments or use the comboxes as a soap box for ideas that are not in keeping with the timeless wisdom of the Church.

      • SuzieQ

        Did my comments sound like I was on a soap box or trying to win an argument? I thought I was just presenting my personal opinion and experiences of his writing and how it has built me up in Christ. I was polite and reflective I thought. I haven’t read all the other comments but up to now hadn’t read anything much which suggested his teaching was helpful and just wanted to put across another point of view based on personal experience. If you only allow comments which match one opinion how can you have a healthy debate? God bless you in yr journey of faith.

        • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

          SuzieQ – your comments are charitable. What Liz pointed out was correct – you can skip the soapbox part. The rest applies. You said, “If you only allow comments which match one opinion how can you have a healthy debate? ” This is just the point. Our site seeks to teach and humbly embrace the teachings of the Church. Thus, we don’t debate. “Other points of view” are of course allowed in human freedom, however, they are not equal to the teachings of the Church. Personal testimony that promotes someone or teachings that are contrary to the Church do not help but only further confuse those seeking to understand and embrace the teachings of the Holy Spirit provided through the magisterium of the Church. Fr. Rohr, regardless of how much he may have helped you, and I have no doubt that he has, is someone who does not teach or promote things that are spiritually good, true, or in keeping with Church teaching. Thus allowing testimony on his behalf is the same as allowing testimony to false teachings. I hope this helps.

  • Roscoe Bonsweenie

    Thanks.

    A friend of mine just asked if I had read his stuff, did not take long to get that feeling “this is very new age-ish”. Seems more interested in finding “self” then in finding God and His will for my life.

    I also found it interesting that he is a priest but, most often, you don’t see Fr. in front of his name and I have never seen him pictured in anything but casual clothes.

  • Evan Richard

    I think your time could be used more wisely than fighting battles that have raged for hundreds of years, and have become boring. There are many paths in many religions, and many paths within the same religion. It’s often hard for traditional or literal minds to accept a more contemplative and visionary path, but Father Rohr is very brilliant, sensible, and wise. I learned much from his writings. it works. Traditional religion and new age or whatever you wish to call it have good and bad aspects. All we can do is focus on the better stuff within us and around us, and in books.

    • LizEst

      Stick with the spiritual masters approved by the Church (there are many contemplatives in this group, such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, etc). The paths of New Age thinkers eventually lead away from Christ, who is the Way and the Truth and the Life…and who Himself taught that “No one come to the Father except through me.” Those who do not believe in what Jesus said and what He taught are creating their own “gospel” and are not following His.

    • MarcAlcan

      True there are many paths in many religions. They don’t all lead to God.

      Fr Rohr is far from brilliant and sensible and wise. You may like his writings but that doesn’t make it sensible and wise. Sometimes we like writers who stoke our ego and our own pre-conceived notions.

      I’d go by the judgment of this very wise and very sensible website.

      And by the way, if you think the battle has become boring, then why are you replying to what I posted?

  • Dean Blackburn

    I recently have read and listened to Richard’s work. The first flag I throw is the fact that he does not stress John 14:6. I do appreciate his concept of acceptance and inclusion (God So Loved the World), his idea of a contemplative mind, and rejection of duality thinking, however, one cannot dismiss that believing in God or the concept of God (as you understand it), is not enough. “Even the demons believe in God…” – James 2:19. Furthermore, Jesus is not ‘a historical figure….’; HE is alive at this very moment in physical form ‘seated at the right hand of God’. I feel Richard tries to illustrate that Jesus….was vs. IS.

    I won’t throw all of his material out as there are some great take away lessons, but I do not accept his teachings on the Trinity and some other points. The exclusion of John 14:6 is a big problem I have with him. Without the inclusion of that you are making The Gospel inclusive of the ‘anything/path goes’.

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