Monday, October 10, 2005

Truth: immutable or changing, if changing, to what extent?

On Aug 3, 2005, at 12:58 PM, BB wrote in reply to the email I sent out in July announcing why I left the ILM (see posting dated 8/8):

Hi Roseanne,

Thank you for giving us the piece that was missing. It looks like you spend a lot of energy in discovering and defending
what you think is the truth. Since the Church is the ultimate democracy (withyour consent, I'll smile here), you are perfectly your opinions in whatever way you think is best.

But you put no one else but yourself in the "To" field, which I take as a sign that you don't really welcome discussion.
You see, if the Magisterium is the beginning and the end of the discourse, my opinions, as well as yours, don't count for much. But if Christ is the beginning and the end, and we are the body of Christ, then I, you, the bishop, the teachers, and of course the Magisterium are contributing to the life of the Church, with our prayers as well as our opinions, and the final word
(ouch!) has yet to be written.

If I could discern a character of definitiveness in the teachings of the Church, I would be entirely on your side, and accordingly, I would not even bewriting to you, since my opinion and your don't count. Since I see those
teachings as evolving, I will certainly welcome an open and focused discussion. One very small issue at a time, please!

Yours in Christ,


--- Roseanne Sullivan wrote:

Hello BB,

Thank you for offering to discuss issues with me.

You have misunderstood me. I sent everyone email using the Bcc because some people don't like having their emails revealed.

I sent it to my own email in the To; line because that is the accepted method. I would love to include anyone in a discussion that would care to be involved.

I welcome discussion. But I can't imagine why you think the Church is a democracy and that the teachings
are evolving.

Jesus taught His disciples, he didn't ask them to vote on what the kingdom of God should be. They had lots of dumb ideas about the subject. He was the one that knew the truth, and He was sent to teach it.

In my faith, opinions don't count when you are dealing with what God wants. What God wants is expressed through the prophets and through His Son, who left His Body the Church with His spirit to guide it.

Jesus didn't leave it so some Italian guy in Santa Clara or some Irish/ Hungarian woman in San Jose would be defining what His truth is by our opinions.

We don't have opinions about the laws of physics. They just are what they are.

In my opinion the ILM could benefit students by teaching them holiness, which includes prayer, and obedience to Church teachings. The teachings are not evolving. The truth is the same yesterday today and forever.

BB, I love you and your family very much. Thank you for writing. I appreciate your reply more thanI can express.

Most liberals who believe the things you wrote are open to everything except someone who doesn't believe what they do.

Thanks for your input and I hope to hear from you again.

Suggestion for the next topic: the Bible is not a collection of stories that "communities" wrote to "express " something that
they wanted us to know about God.


On Aug 4, 2005, at 1:32 PM, BB wrote:

Hi Roseanne,

I see a paradox. On the one hand, we discuss about issues. On the other hand, Jesus has already fixed things so that all discussion is meaningless. Imagine me, an ignorant layperson, engaging in a discussion about the HolyBible and its meaning. Ridiculous, isn't it? What would I try to achieve?

My purpose number one should be holiness, and mine would certainly be challenged by a discussion on the beliefs which hold dear (and which should not be subject to discussion in the first place). To the extent that I can read and understand, my second best option is probably to get formed and informed by the works of the Magisterium (in the hope that,
starting from today, it will never publish any new document, thus showing proper respect for the deposit of the faith).

In other words: before we exercise freedom, we should first be accepting it, and not be afraid of our differences, or of differences in the Church. Don't you think?

Yours in Christ,

--- Roseanne Sullivan wrote:

Hi BB,

If you want to include the other ILM students whose email addresses I have, here is the list: #Names removed.

What you might try to achieve by discussion about what the Church teaches is how to apply the truths of the Gospel to your life. To deepen insights about what they mean, ah, that's a good thing to do.

People's search for holiness is never helped by people who tell them that they have to make up their faith on their own
(like Parella) and that the things the Church has always taught what the Saviour did and said are culture-bound fictions written by a committee with an agenda to put forth.

Bruno, how can you base your faith on something that is man-made, mutable, ever changing, and on a Church that has been wrong until the 60s generation of priests and nuns and theologians figured out the real truth? What's left to believe in?

A Catholic shouldn't publish any new documents that contradict the valid teachings about what went before. As Pope John Paul II said, "Truth never contradicts itself." And as Pope Benedict XVI writes, theological investigation has to be within the context of the true teachings of the Church.

The Magisterium publishes new documents to clarify points that need clarification, such as the many errors that crept into the seminaries and so-called Catholic universities about what the documents of Vatican II really mean. In spite of what profane Fr. Pettingill and other ILM teachers taught, there is nothing in Dei Verbum that says the Gospels are fictions. To the contrary. Teachers like them are doing what some people accuse the evangelicals of doing: proof-texting, taking phrases out of context to prove their points.

This would be a good thing for the ILM to teach: read the Bible and pray and ask God to make His Word come alive for you. St. Francis did that. St. Augustine did that. Another good thing would be to encourage a respectful reading of all the documents, not just the popular theological speculations, but the doctrines put forth by our Church's leaders. (All available at

Since my saviour God Jesus Christ believed that Deuteronomy was written by Moses, except for a cocidil by Joshua, why
would I believe some modern-day theologians who by speculations and guesses in spite of a lack of any real evidence tell us
that they know better?

This summary of what I believe is from an Apostolic Letter from Pope John Paul about St Augustine.

He understood that if faith is to be sure, it needs a divine authority, and that this is none other than the authority of Christ,
the supreme teacher—Augustine had never doubted this(29)-and that the authority of Christ is found in the Sacred Scriptures(30) that are guaranteed by the authority of the Catholic Church.(31)

We should take it literally where the sense of the words indicates that the meaning is literal, and stay away from those
who want to deconstruct the Bible. One of their basic premises is that if the Bible reports a miracle
then that part was made up. In these and other matters, they build a structure of false assumption laid on a framework of erroneous speculations, and the result is a hollow fiction that doesn't make any sense.

The first test of a saint is whether he or she is obedientto the Church.

I suppose you hate all of this, but I'm trying to respondwith what I firmly believe.

In other words: before we exercise freedom, we should first be accepting it, and not be afraid of our differences, or of differences in the Church. Don' t you think?

I am not worried about having any freedom except the liberty that is in Christ Jesus. I don't want a freedom of intellectual speculation that would allow me to come up with a theory equivalent to saying red is black and black is yellow. That's not intellectual freedom, it's nonsense.

I am afraid of the harm that the false teachings are causing the people who hear them. There is a LOT to be said about the
harm those false things are causing.

For one example, when I first came back to the Catholic Church, I saw a blasphemous article written by a religious nun about how "Divorce Should Be a Sacrament" in the liberal Jesuit magazine "America." And only 5 years ago, I saw that a prominent priest in San Francisco was quoted as saying that in his opinion, there is no hell. His opinion is worth less than the paper it's written on.

It is not Sr. Liberal's opinion or Fr. No Hell's opinion that matters. It's what Jesus Christ did and taught and what His Church,
full of the Holy Spirit has continued to teach in His Name.

More apt references to Augustine from JPII:
He understood that if faith is to be sure, it needs a divine authority, and that this is none other than the authority of Christ,
the supreme teacher—Augustine had never doubted this(29)-and that the authority of Christ is found in the Sacred Scriptures(30) that are guaranteed by the authority of the Catholic Church.(31)

In Christ with you,


8/5/2005 2:53 PM

On Aug 5, 2005, at 2:53 PM, BB wrote:

Hi Roseanne,

Your opinions seem deeply rooted in Greek philosophy. For the Greek (not all of them, of course, but oh well) what changes is secondary and not too good, but what stays the same is really important and good. There follows a description of God who is one, immovable, and... spherical. God needs to be spherical, Aristoteles (son of the rich guy) argues, not to privilege one direction over another.

So if changes are bad, God does not change. And if the Church needs to be good, it shouldn't change either. Logical, isn't it?

> BB, how can you base your faith on something that is man-made, mutable, ever changing, and
> on a Church that has been wrong until the 60s
> generation of priests and nuns and theologians
> figured out the real truth? What's left to believe in?

I actually believe that changes are good. When Aristoteles thinks of change, he thinks about corruption/decomposition, that big issue of mortality. When I think of change, I think of conversion, of hope, of the Kingdom which is growing under our eyes (see the agricultural images of the Kingdom in the Synoptics). I think of Jesus who sees and is moved to compassion by what he sees. Of God who changes His mind and decides not to punish his people, just for once more.

This means that owee, I totally disagree with you. But yes, I am ready to follow your line of thought and see where it leads.
So if I've got it right (do I?), we need to go with the following.

1) The Truth is immutable.
2) The Church teaches the Truth.
3) Whatever the Church has taught in the past is still valid.
4) No newer teaching can directly contradict an older teaching, or it would be
invalid for this very fact.

One document which I love with all my heart is the following.

I had no luck in finding it on the web site, but you probably can. The logical negation of the statements contained here are to be taken as absolute and immutable truths. And it is up to me, and to you, to deepen our
knowledge of these truths and apply them to our lives.

Yours in Christ,


8/6/05 8:55 PM

Subject: do not be led astray by every strange teaching
Date: August 6, 2005 8:55:30 PM PDT

Hi again BB,

My opinions are based on my strong intellectual assent to the truths of my faith. My faith was given to me
as a gift from God. I have faith in certain things based on what the Church has consistently taught. And I could not
put my faith in a Church that was based on fictions and false attribution of authorship, and I don't have to. If I'm wrong, I'm in good company.

The portion of the Church that believes what you seem to believe is quite like the liberal (non-fundamental) Protestant
denominations. People are staying away from those churches in droves, because they aren't being fed the meat of the Gospels.

ILM teachers believe people should study the Bible. But they seem to mean they should study what the Bible debunkers have been saying about the Bible. I believe people should be reading the Bible to let God's Word speak to them, and not filtering it through an intellectual filter with that kind of attitude of pride about all the secret knowledge we now supposedly have. We now supposedly "know" the "real" writers of the gospel were not the ones named. We "know" they were written far after the fact by "communities." (Have you ever seen anything written by a committee? I have seen attempts, but there is always one author or the whole result cannot not hang together.)

It is mind boggling to think that current theologians actually think therewere all throughout salvation history groups of people who sat down and somehow came up with a bunch of stories. And to think nobody cared for example,when someone wrote under Peter's name that he was an eyewitness of the transfiguration. That is just impossible! Too big of a supposition
to swallow. Why should anyone care about a bunch of stories? We all have better things to do that to read fictions about God by fallible people who had an axe to grind.

It would also be impossible for a critic to go back say forty years and find out by close reading of a certain text who wrote it and why. But we now have people claiming to be able to analyze texts that were written thousandsof years ago and tell us what the authors really meant, and contradict the clear teaching of the Church from the same era.

There is a lot of intellectual pride in people who claim to know better what Jesus meant than the people who were closest
to the events.

As for the claim that people "back then" didn't have the same regard for the truth that we do, and that they were content with stories, even if they knew they weren't true--well that is arrogance and culture-centrism. To thinkthat the people at the time the Bible was written were so far away from our mindset is just an groundless opinion not based on any facts . It seems to satisfy the ones who promote it and the ones who believe it. It seems absurd to me. People's minds have not changed all that much..

Believing these things about the Bible gives leeway to deny the words of Christ whenever a person doesn't agree with them.

One of the most astounding examples of the problem of Catholics thinking they know better than Jesus did happened at a retreat at the Franciscan-run San Damiano retreat house. The priest, I think he was Barry Brunsman, stood up and acted out the Gospel that quoted Jesus saying that divorce was not allowed. I think it was Matthew 5:31-32. He then proceeded to
say casually, "Jesus was not against divorce," calmly contradicting the Gospel he had just repeated, along with centuries of
Church teaching. I asked him later during "spiritual direction" how he could contradict the words of Our Lord immediately after reading them, he said that "a theologian" had said that Christ wasn't against divorce. So the opinion of a theologian had more weight in that priest's heart than the Gospel and the Tradition of the Church.

Since I trust the Church as the literal Body of Christ, I accept doctrines humbly that I might not understand or agree
with. It is the ability of the Catholic Church to interpret what the Scriptures mean based on tradition that drew me back to her. I am certain that Christ made Peter and his successors the head of His Church on earth, and I am grateful because they keep us being led astray by every strange teaching that comes along.

I am heavily influenced by St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. Francis, St. Peter, St. Paul, the Old and the New Testament. I don't care whether or not St. Thomas made an occasional inane assertion about women or the purpose of marriage. He has my heart because his intellect was tempered in mystical union with Christ. The same for Augustine. If anyone told
me stories of, say, Karl Rahner levitating before the Blessed Sacrament, I might take his authority more seriously. And for the same reason, I love John Paul II, who wrote in front of the Blessed Sacrament and was often found
prostrate face down on the floor in worship.

God does not change His mind about what is right and what is wrong. How can you believe such a thing? Growth is fine, deeper understanding is fine. Declaring black is yellow and red is green is nonsense.

I believe that what I believe is the same as what the great saints have believed. Based on these precepts they achieved holiness. The fruit of truth, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is right knowledge and right living. I am a novice in the secular Discalced Carmelite order, so the Carmelite saints are very important to me. The great St. Teresa of Avila's dying words were "I am a humble daughter of the Church."

I'm not a Greek thinker, I'm a Christian. And I never believed God was a sphere. I believe that God is everything that is good, intelligent, creative, artistic, lovable, faithful, true, powerful, attractive, wonderful, beautiful, pure, and praiseworthy.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
Not mutable. The same yesterday, today, and forever.

Changes are not categorically bad. But to repeat, the Truth does not contradict itself.

On nonessentials, individuals in the Church have been wrong. But us Catholics who believe in papal infallibiltiy believe that the Holy Spirit kept even the worse Popes from errors when they were teaching dogmatically about faith and morals.

Is it a good argumentative practice to drip with sarcasm?

I don't think I am being sarcastic about the (to-me) fantastic things you believe.

BTW, I don't have any problem with the syllabus of errors.

I do have a problem with people who keep reintroducing the hoary old errors to the faithful century after century.

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration. St. Peter was there with Christ as an eyewitness, and here is he wrote in his second
letter about how the events of Christ's life were laid down:

2 Peter Chapter 1
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to
him from the majestic glory, "This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased."
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be
attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
12 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,
for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

Of course, according the NAB, most scholars don't believe Peter wrote those words, which is handy since they do believe that the Bible is made up of "cleverly-devised myths" and is a matter of "personal interpretation" and not "eyewitness" accounts.

Can you tell me more about how you came to be comfortable with a religion and a Godwho is changing?

With you, in Christ, your sister,


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Biographical snippet rediscoverd 7/3/2005

On Jul 3, 2005, at 11:20 AM, Roseanne Sullivan wrote to family.

When I was looking for something else tonight, I just found the biographical snippet I included below, and I want to share it with you. I added a lot to it. Mary, you might be interested in this because it tells about my life as a student trying to raise two small kids at the same time.

Hope you are all doing well. Happy 4th.

Love you, Mom/Roseanne

When I started at the U of MN in the Fall of 1975 I was 30, older than most of my fellow-students, and raising two small children alone. My son Liberty had been 4 and my daughter Sunshine was 2 years old when I'd divorced my husband the previous April. I am not proud of the reasons I married or the reasons I got divorced. And I'm not proud of what I put my ex-husband, George, my ex-in-laws, my kids, and myself through in trying to finish the college education that I had started at Brandeis University in 1963 at the age of 17. But I just had to flesh out that part of my life a little bit more because I want you to know I wasn't always on welfare.

I had brought up the subject of divorce to George soon after I found out that the State of Minnesota had a generous program (which was cut long ago) to try to help women get college degrees or other training to help them get off welfare. The program paid for child care. That's the only way I could have gotten through.

Writing this reminded me about another thing that had also precipitated my leaving. I had found out some people I knew from Moorhead State College, where I was taking a class every quarter, were moving out of an apartment I liked and that I could afford on welfare. The apartment was in a nice old wood-framed home about 12 blocks from the college. To qualify for the free child care, I would have to take a minimum of 12 credits. It would be hard to be the sole caregiver for two little ones and take a full load, but I would do it since I had to.

Before we broke up, we had been living in the country, 23 miles from Moorhead, six miles from the nearest town for almost four years. In the living room of our little rented house on the prairie, I told my husband that I wanted to separate so we could work on our relationship. I had wanted to leave before, but I would end up staying because whenever I brought the subject up, he would pay attention to me for a while.

So using some convoluted reasoning, I thought that if I left I would be able to get him to really pay attention. I didn't say that if I left I wanted to pursue the goal of becoming a professional with a college degree that he had not followed. It had been a blow to realize that he was never going to follow that goal. And a big disappointment that he had changed the plans we'd made together without letting me know.

He said quickly, probably because that's what he really wanted, "If you leave, we'll get a divorce." And, I guess because that is really what I wanted to do by that point too, I said, "Fine."

I was telling him about the apartment and about the chance for me to get on welfare and still finish my degree, when Liberty walked into the living room with us, and I told Liberty we would be moving. He run out and brought in his Big Wheel to start packing. George and I were both grieved by Liberty's innocent enthusiasm. Poor little LIberty had no idea of what the move would mean for his life.

If I had known what it would end up doing to the children and to us all, I could never have done it. The common wisdom says that children are better off if warring parents divorce. The common wisdom is a lie. A child from a broken home may live a happy, fulfilled, and productive life, but he or she is still going to be crippled. I think of divorce as an amputation. Sure, an amputee can have a full life. But it's not the same life as he would have had with all his limbs intact. Being two, Sunshine was too little to realize much about what was going on.

A few hours later I went looking for George. I climbed the ladder to the hay mow in the old barn, and I found him lying on his back on a sleeping bag he'd brought up there looking up numbly at the beams of sunlight coming through the many holes in the roof. Swallows darted around among the dust motes dancing in the light. He wouldn't speak to me.

I used that image in a poem later that I wrote for one of my poetry classes without much compunction. I was perversely glad to have experienced such a poignant moment and being able to write knowingly about the inarticulate man not being able to express his grief. Now I realizee that maybe he was up there because he didn't want to express his anger.

I finished a B.A. with a double major in English and Studio Arts in 1979. I was able to afford going to college only by applying for welfare, being able to pay less for food by being able to buy the food stamps (do you know people have to pay for food stamps?), by applying for financial aid and loans, and by living without most things that people in this prosperous nation take for granted.

Not only the material things were hard to come by. My family was 1500 miles away in the East Coast and they had their own problems. With the food stamps, we had plenty to eat. But when I was done paying the rent in my subsidized apartment, buying the food stamps , and paying the utilities, I had about $40 left for everything else, such as clothing and transportation. For one of the kids to lose a pair of mittens was a dreadful loss, every bit of clothing was so hard to come by. And without a scramble to get new mittens right away, frostbitten fingers would have been inevitable.

Robin Brown, head of the English Composition program at the U of Minn in those days, indirectly got me started in the direction of the work I've been doing since 1984. He gave me a job as a teaching associate in composition when I entered the M.A. program. The composition-teaching job --even though it was part time and earned only $9 an hour--paid enough to get me and my family off welfare. There I was, taking a full load of classes, and teaching half time. No wonder I was stressed out.

Robin required all composition teachers to learn to use computers, and to encourage their students to learn how too. There is no way that I can adequately portray to you young folks out there how radical that idea was then. I find the notion of a computer-free past hard to recall myself. I also got started by acting as a T.A. in a computer science writing class.

I earned an M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing in 1983, after working with memoirist Trish Hampl on a memoir that, along with some short stories, served as my thesis. After spending another year on courses towards a Ph.D. in American Studies I broke out of the graduate- student coccoon into a technical writing job --which got me and my family finally off of food stamps and out of subsidized housing.

Sad to say, my experience at the U of MN was mostly-friendless, alienated and painful. I remember most of all trudging on biting winter days from one impersonal university office at one end of the campus to another similar office at another end of the campus in the ordeal that was called "registration for winter quarter." I also remember walking home other nights from working late on an art project in that dismal old art building on the west bank, again in the -20 degree cold, walking because I could have frozen to death if I stood for more than a few minutes at any of the bus stops along the long walk home on Central Ave. to Northeast Minneapolis, waiting for buses that never ran on time.

I also remember getting my diploma for my undergraduate degree in Northrup Auditorium, and going up to get the diploma wearing my honors robe, with my son in front of me and my daughter behind. I had nobody there besides them to cheer me on, and I had to take them with me to the stage because I had nobody to leave them with. When we had walked into the auditorium, my son excitedly said that the long walk down the center aisle with all the standing people and flashing cameras on either side reminded him of the award ceremony at the end of Star Wars. It did me too.


Liberty wore my cap and gown while we walked on the bridge across the Mississippi on our way home that day.

(This was mostly written in 2001.) I am now a lead technical writer at Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley, have been for 13 years.)

I like the detective part of my work. I enjoy using the skills I've honed for extracting hidden information from the brains of engineers and from sometimes-impenetrable design documents. And I can write a procedure for--say-- replacing a disk drive faster and better than just about anyone else. Mine is a noble calling, I feel, as I try to depart from the norm. I wrestle every day with the challenges of trying to create computer manuals that clearly tell readers what they need to know, no more, no less. And the nostalgia I sometime feel for the other career possibilities I once contemplated, artist or fiction writer, is assuaged in part by the goodly pay check I get every too weeks.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sometimes the most intolerant people

Date: July 17, 2005 2:38:27 PM PDT
From: Fellow ILM student

Hi, sweetie.

I'm very sorry that happened to you. Sometimes the most intolerant people are those preaching tolerance.

... [ personally identifying info omitted ]

Take care of yourself!


The Real Reason Why I Did Not Graduate With the ILM Class of 2005

Here is a copy of an email I sent to fellow students at the San Jose Institute for Leadership in Ministry.

Date: July 17, 2005 8:21:38 AM PDT

To my brothers and sisters from the ILM,

I think it is time that I tell you all why I didn't take the last year of classes and graduate with you all. Last Fall, I received a letter from [ILM director] Anne Grycz telling me that I could not return to the ILM. That's why .

It happened this way. Someone pointed out to Anne a blog (web log) that I had online. In that blog, which I wrote in Feb 2004 when we were studying "moral theology" with Father Bretzke, I was trying to figure out how a priest like he is could be telling us that we would be morally infantile if we trusted the Pope and the Magisterium on moral issues such as birth control. I used some wording that was unfortunately open to misinterpretation when I wondered whether Father Bretzke's dislike of official Church moral teachings was related to the Jesuit tolerance for homosexual behavior among their ranks (as was evidenced by scandals in the past 15 years). My word choice was injudicious. My only excuse is that I was racking my brains trying to figure out where his position came from. I have since removed the offending words, but you can see the edited blog.

Last September, Anne sent me a letter saying I could not be a leader because leaders have to be very careful what they say in public, and I was out of the ILM. She wrote that it was not because I "struggled" with the teachings at the ILM.

I actually heaved a sigh of relief, because it has been a strain to be continually subject to the teachings of instructors who are out of sympathy with the teachings of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church. When I wrote papers that showed I understood the points they were trying to make, the instructors loved them. When I wrote papers that tried to show where official Church teachings disagreed with the points they were trying to make, they treated me as if I was psychologically immature and unable to accept new ideas or maybe just not very bright.

As I go through my notes from the classes I have begun to realize that the theories taught at ILM are based on close reading of theologians who in many cases have been reprimanded by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for "dangerous" teachings contradicting Church doctrine. Because they are out of sympathy with Rome (remember that Father Bretzke teaches that it would be morally infantile to follow the Pope and the Magisterium), the CDF condemnations don't have an effect on what is taught in the diocese. Over and over again we were taught theological positions as if they were accepted Church doctrine. Please be aware that what you learned about how things have supposedly changed since Vatican II in most cases does not match what our beloved Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have taught in Magisterial documents.

And think about this: If the Church was teaching the truth for nearly 2000 years, how can the new teachings be true if they contradict the previous teachings? And how could the Church be the true source of doctrine if it was wrong until the modern thinkers came along?

Some repudiated theological positions we were exposed to are: the Vatican II teachings on the role of the laity in the Church means that lay people can and should be able to lead parishes [the ILM is based on that position], the Eucharist forgives mortal sin [Bishop McGrath], lay people will be able to consecrate the Eucharist [Sister Gertrude Marie Rohan], that since Vatican II authority and doctrine comes from below in the local churches [Father Pettingill and many instructors], that morality has to change [Frederick Parellla], and so forth.

With your consent, I'm going to be sending all of you in this alias copies of some articles I've written about the ILM teachings that diverge from the official Magisterium. I''ll send you the original articles in PDF form (so you need the Acrobat reader). Let me know if you would prefer Word format or simple text format instead.

The articles have been edited and published (sometimes under a nom de plume) in San Francisco Faith newspaper. You can find them online at [now a dead link].

I would be interested in your comments.

Please let me know if you don't want to get the rest of my articles on the topic. If you disagree with me, fine. Please do not hate me for it. I would just like to ask you to consider what I have to say. Be charitable, if you can.

The first article (attached) is about Father Bretzke's moral theology. It was published in December 2004 and you can read the edited version in this PDF.

I am continuing to write articles from my notes and from the course books comparing what the ILM instructors have been teaching to the official teachings of the ordinary Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, of which I am proud to be a member. One I am working on right now is on how Bishop McGrath taught us that the Eucharist forgives mortal sins.

So that's why I can't be a leader . . . in the Diocese of San Jose as it is constituted now. My personal limitations probably do mean I'm not cut out for a leadership role, but I do think it's important to challenge false ideas when they are being taught to the faithful and to those who will be leading the

In love with Him and with you my brothers and sisters
in the Body of Christ,


Sunday, August 07, 2005

More about my visit to NPH Mexico

At my website this week, I posted a revised article about my trip to the the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos home in Miacatlan Mexico where Guadalupe, the girl I sponsor, and her three sisters live. Today I ran across an old email I sent before I travelled there that has all kinds of interesting info that I'm putting up here so I won't lose it.

Photo of the Miacatlan Home

Here is a photo of the orphanage, formerly Hacienda of Acatzingo, and later named Hacienda San Salvador (probably by Father Wasson). Tour by Mexico has this to say at its Morelos Miacatlan web page about the building: "Established in 1617, today it is the "Casa Hogar de Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos", an Orphanage founded by Father Watson."

Hacienda Cocoyoc

The hotel I stayed at, Hacienda Cocoyoc, is mentioned in this Tour by Mexico web page about Morelos:

"Three of the most beautiful Haciendas being Cocoyoc, Vista Hermosa and Cortes, the latter in Atlacomulco, have been converted into luxurious hotels."

Cocoyoc means coyote.


See Cuernavaca on the left and Miacatlan further south from Cuernavaca on this map.

More Info about the Orphanage

Here is some info from the NPH Amigos page about the Mexico home in Miacatlan:

Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos' first home was established in Mexico in 1954. An old, converted sugar plantation, Hacienda San Salvador, now serves as the main facility for the large family of approximately 1,000 children. Always bustling with activity, it is located in the small village of Miacatlán, 27 miles southwest of Cuernavaca, and 77 miles south of Mexico City.

NPH Mexico boasts an excellent educational system, with its own primary and secondary schools. Many of the paid teaching staff are former pequeños (those who were raised at the orphan home). Many older children attend the NPH vocational school in Cuernavaca and learn a trade to support themselves. Others go on to university in Mexico City or Monterrey.

Extracurricular activities are a valuable part of the pequeños' days. Aside from an active sports program, NPH Mexico can boast of its young people's talent as musicians and folk dancers. At least two times each year, a troupe of youngsters travels abroad to Canada, Europe or the USA, performing their own Ballet Folklórico to raise funds to help support their family.

In 1999, a program was begun to help the families living at the garbage dump of Milpillas, 15 minutes from the home of Miacatlán. Currently, 115 girls and boys are picked up by bus every day and brought to Miacatlán where they receive food and a shower before joining the rest of the NPH children in school. As these children must help their families earn a living at the dump, they return at the end of each school day to Milpillas.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Forsythia Memories

Hello Pamela Michel,

I read your interesting Appalachian Spring story through the Wild Writing Women newsletter, and I want to comment about your question about why we don't have forsythia here on the West Coast. My comment, as one writer to another, has to be in the form of a story.

First of all, I have to tell you, I love them too. Even though the blossoms are tiny, with their vivid yellowness and their early arrival they proclaim emphatically that Spring is coming.

I grew up in the Boston area, where forsythia abound. In Minnesota, where I spent about 20 years, I would drive around Minneapolis homesick for forsythia in the Spring. My longings were assuaged a little by my finding a solitary forsythia bush outside a building on the U of Minn's west bank campus in front of the architecture building.

In 1999, I went to Rome for the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter's on Christmas Eve, and my heart was gratified to see that forsythia were displayed in golden masses around the altar, blooming by some florist's legerdemain in the dead of a Roman winter. I went to Mass there often during the time I was in Rome, and I spent a lot of time gazing at the forsythia while I worshipped God.

Three years ago I ordered two forsythia bushes from a Canadian greenhouse. What I got in the mail were two dry twigs. I planted them out in front of my old Victorian house in San Jose, near the curb, in what they call the "park strip" around here. One died, the other one straggled on for three years, only showing a few green leaves last Spring and not looking forsythia-like at all. I wondered whether they had sent me the wrong plant.

This year after a long, rainy, colder than normal winter, many of the things I've planted around my old house have started to take off. The forsythia is one of them. I just have to share with you the happiness I felt when I saw the familiar yellow blooms in February shining on a few twigs on my little bush.

A few weeks later , my two knee-high special varieties of lilac bushes that don't require cold winters started to bloom too, after a similar long wait,. But that's another story . . ..

To go back to your question, I think the simple answer to why we don't see forsythia in the West Coast because they usually don't do well in the climate around here. We're outside of their comfort zone on the hot end, like Minnesota is outside of their comfort zone on the cold end.

Best regards,

Roseanne Sullivan