Barbara Johnson talks about her “Buddhist Catholicism”

And the Washington Post looks at her “blending of faiths”:

Barbara describes a deep if sometimes conflicted relationship with Catholicism, which she calls a basic, unchangeable part of her identity.

In her 20s, Johnson remembers her growing doubt about Catholic institutions as she wrestled with accepting her sexuality, and later as she watched the clergy sex abuse crisis unfold. She went to services in other Christian churches: Unitarian, Baptist, Episcopalian.

“During that time I found a lot of answers in Buddhist teachings and texts,” she said.

In the last decade Johnson returned to her alma mater, Elizabeth Seton High School, to teach art, a move she said was part of a process of coming back to Catholicism on her own terms. She describes long talks with colleagues about Buddhism and the Gospels. And of watching both her parents get sick and the power of their faith, of rituals like reciting the traditional prayer the Memorare with her dying father, of holding her mother and chanting “Hail Mary” as the elder woman passed away.

“This is so surreal because I was getting closer and closer to my faith,” she said of those who assail her for seeking Communion with her blended faith identities. “I had really integrated my Catholic identity into my larger identity as someone who is very influenced by Buddhist teachings.”

Johnson says she never stopped seeing herself as a Catholic, and never stopped attended Mass or taking Communion – albeit not very regularly.

But no doubt orthodox Catholics would see this approach as a violation of their faith and challenge the idea that she could she seek Communion if she also sees herself as a Buddhist.

“The words in the Mass have been my guidepoint. It says, ‘Lord I am not worthy to receive you,’ and these words, before Communion every Mass I’ve said those words with as much conviction in my body and soul as possible, and been guided by the feeling of what was in my body and my conscience. If I felt I wasn’t worthy, I wouldn’t go.”

Today she says that Buddhism and Catholicism are both part of her identity. The two traditions “inform one another in this constant internal conversation,” she told the Post.

Johnson is aware of the criticism she is getting, and wonders: Does it disqualify her from her faith to challenge it?

“Wasn’t the doubting Thomas good because he was in dialogue with his faith? It’s not between me and other Catholics, it’s between me and God.”

Read the whole thing.

Meantime, Ed Peters looks at some questions that have arisen:

So, are priests supposed to help lesbian Buddhists commit sacrilege against Our Lord by giving them holy Communion?

Deep breath, Ed….Okay. Let’s break this down.

Lesbian. First, the Church regards the homosexual/lesbian condition as “disordered” in somewhat the same way that one may regard alcoholism as a “disorder”. According to our tradition, one may not deny holy Communion to an individual suffering from a “disorder”, so, those Catholics calling for the banning of “a lesbian” from Communion are violating our tradition (not to mention our canon law). That said, however, it is possible to deprive one of holy Communion who engages in conduct that amounts to canonically verified “obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin” (c. 915), as canon law uses each of those terms. I have said from the beginning of this mess, verifiable conduct, not asserted status, is the only question relevant here. Now, if someone wants to make the case that all five (per c. 18) of those banning conditions were canonically satisfied a few minutes before Mass one day, they are free to try. I think they would fail in the attempt, but that’s just my opinion. In any case, at least such persons would be talking about what is relevant here, the law on holy Communion, and not just using rhetorical questions as cudgels.

Buddhists. Buddhists have no right to holy Communion; baptized persons, in accord with law, have the right to holy Communion (c. 912, etc.). This woman was baptized Catholic. The presumption is, therefore, that she had a right to Communion, and the burden is on those who would deny her same to prove that she is no longer permitted by law to receive holy Communion, here, on the grounds that she is a Buddhist. That is a heavy burden of proof, of course, and one not likely sustainable in a short conversation before Mass one day, and one made even more difficult in the wake of a Notification handed down in April 2006 regarding the “formal act of defection” and its relation to, among other things, the canonical crime of apostasy (cc. 751, 1364), and in turn its impact on the application of wider canon law to such individuals. In short, canonists know that a Catholic’sclaim to be a Buddhist, and a Catholic’s being canonically recognized as being a Buddhist, are very distinct things. Those who are not canonists may be excused not being aware of the difference, but not for ignoring it once it is pointed out to them.

Read more.

Comments are now closed.


  1. ron chandonia says:

    I vastly prefer the syncretism of Barbara Johnson to the legalism of Ed Peters. Nonetheless, this tiresome story of modern self-indulgence makes me want to scream, A pox on both their houses!

  2. Eugene Pagano says:

    To go a bit off topic, does Roman Catholic canon law request or desire a written “formal act of defection” from a Roman Catholic who has become a member of another Christian denomination (in my case, the Episcopal Church)?

  3. Stop giving this woman attention.

  4. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    You may find an answer here.

  5. “Johnson says she never stopped seeing herself as a Catholic, and never stopped attended Mass or taking Communion – albeit not very regularly.”

    Taking communion? I thought we received Communion. If she admittedly is not a regular mass goer I assume she goes to confession before receiving communion.

  6. From my own experience, as a Catholic who wandered away from the Church and was formally received into the Anglican Communion (as an Episcopalian), and then two years ago wanted to come home, I was advised by our then archdiocesan vicar and now auxiliary bishop that what was required was that I make a good confession to a priest who was informed of my background and make a profession of faith. That is because my status was that of a material heretic–I had not made a formal act of defection from the Church. Had I done so, I would have been considered, canonically, a formal heretic, and my return would have required a higher level of dispensation.

  7. This is all, btw, formal canonical language for what was truly a wonderful and welcoming homecoming. Even my Anglican buds understand. :)

  8. Speaking of formal language and its traps, we sure do get all huffy when people say taking instead of receiving. As the former is common among both Catholics and Anglicans in Britain and Canada, I don’t necessarily think we need to parse it for heresy every time. And all we can do about anyone else’s state of grace is presume. When I start worrying about how infrequently other people are confessing, I pretty much know I’m talking to myself.

  9. She is milking this for all it is worth. I wonder when we will see a made for TV movie (do they still do those?) on her life.

    Yes, I can see it now: the BIG BAD ORTHODOX Priest (from South America, via Russia to a small, quiet parish in Gathersburg, MD — lots of unanswered questions about him there) who regularly protests in front of an abortion clinic (with all of those wild eyed pro-lifers). And her, a quiet Catholic/Buddhist, a lifelong Catholic who loved another woman. taught art, and who fought for injustice whenever it appeared, who on the day of her mother’s funeral, DENIED her communion, one of the most terrible day’s of her life. How the fine Bishop and his staff reached out to her, in her time of need, to console her. How the hard working and good looking female Church lawyer, showed the world that she was a Catholic in good standing (sorry mr. Peters, we have to make it a woman to show how even more terrible Fr. M is). While at the same time, we find out that he was really a tyrant in a collar, mistreating and running roughshod over all parish staff, even demanding that we only use Capybara for stew, until he was removed from public ministry. All the while, those radical right wing Catholics (a couple of Opus Dei folks appear for good measure at this time, as well as, someone from the Vatican Bank) were saying terrible and nasty things about her on the web.

    It will be nominated for various awards and who knows, it may be turned into a play, a musical, a who knows, an award will be given in her name by Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful.

    Sorry Deacon Greg. I could not help myself.

  10. pagansister says:

    Many people of faith have questions—and IMO, Barbara Johnson not only had questions about her faith but her acceptance of that faith with the fact that she is a gay person. She appears to have always considered herself a Catholic, but also found comfort in Buddism. Sounds like she has presented herself for communion at other times and wasn’t refused. She was refused by the priest at her mother’s funeral, maybe the first time she was refused? We don’t know. A poor decision on the part of the priest, IMO, due to the circumstances surrounding the communion—a death of a family member. IMO, and speaking for myself—it is possible to hold beliefs from more than one belief system and not have contradictions. Her statement I agree with: it is not between her and other Catholics but between her and God.

  11. I think that was RomCath’s charitable way of pointing out that the Johnson woman sort of breezed past the fact that one must have periodic recourse to more than one sacrament if you’re really a practicing Catholic. The best-formed Catholics among us would speak of “frequenting the sacraments” — plural. Frequently ignored, I know. But the point is valid and had occurred to me also.

    I’m not up on the precise terminology British Catholics may prefer, or how they came to that usage, but “take” is definitely not the term employed in the Code of Canon Law, either in English or in Latin.

  12. Irish Spectre says:

    Heck, yeah, sister, just between each of us individuals and God!! …such a pesky little matter Jesus left behind Him, that thing about people administering His Church!!

  13. Henry Karlson says:

    Once again, there are many who consider themselves Buddhists and Catholic — just like others find themselves followers of Aristotle and Catholic or followers of Plato and Catholic. Yes, Buddhism is a religion, but its religious teachings can be used philosophically like what is done with Aristotle and Plato (both of whom, the teachings were religious). Of course there is the need for critical engagement, just like Plato and Aristotle were engaged by their followers, but this is also a part of the Buddhist way of thinking. Thus, the question more is: what are her beliefs, and are they or are they not acceptable ones? Just by identifying herself as a Buddhist is not enough; is she just a “Western Buddhist” or a follower of a particular school of Buddhist thought (and if so, which, and how exactly does she see the connection)?

    What we need is not combox warriors who don’t have enough facts to judge her or the situation. We need grace and charity to engage and see. As has been mentioned in other threads, the book “Zen Catholicism” can be seen as a Buddhist-Christian work and it is fully orthodox. Hans Urs von Balthasar saw the engagement with Buddhism to be the important engagement of the times — because it is a challenge, the kind of challenge Platonism had for the early fathers (and trust me, that challenge was great, since Platonism was connected with an apologetic of the old, ancient paganism, so much so Justinian closed the Academy).

  14. This woman has more issues than Time Magazine. She is in serious need of prayers. Beyond which I think it would be in everyone’s interests if she were ignored.

  15. I keep thinking about Msgr. Pope’s quote that Greg has posted on the blog – the church has two wings and both are needed. I agree with you.

  16. Why would you be worried about Canon Law if you are joining another church? My take on this (as an ex Catholic) is that the only possible point to the “actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica” would be if you somehow cared whether or not Rome recognized your defection or alternatively you wish to stick your finger in the eye so to speak of the Catholic Church on your way out the door.

    As neither applied to me, when I joined the Orthodox Church I let my family and some close friends know. I saw no need to go beyond that. Perhaps your situation is different.

  17. The most judgmental remarks in this whole episode seem to come from those who consider themselves the most Catholic. Methinks the most Catholic should be the least judgmental. The knowledge that their faith, practiced with due diligence, will prevail should allow that.

  18. I think Ed Peters nails it down pretty well. Further analysis of this woman’s life adds nothing to the case for or against Father Marcel. The case against him deals with a few moment’s conversation prior to her mother’s funeral, and his response to her based on that conversation.

    Shall we pillory Father Marcel, holding him responsible for increasingly nuanced insights gleaned from weeks of post-mortem analyses played out in the press? I think that were this woman simply a divorced and remarried heterosexual, as opposed to lesbian this story never would have seen the light of day. As Ed Peters said in an earlier post, what is needed for this case is correction, not punishment, but correction.

    I’ve seen far worse in priests, far, far worse. I think too much scrutiny on one case leads to a loss of perspective.

  19. It probably hasn’t occurred to most Catholic media-types or bloggers just how much this situation has impacted the faith of faithful, gay Catholics in the US. Not that, I suppose, it matters very much to them, anyway.

  20. I find the rush to make a caricature of those expressing concern over what happened in this situation, “So, are priests supposed to help lesbian Buddhists commit sacrilege against Our Lord by giving them holy Communion?”, mocking, uncharitable and condescending in the extreme. The information presented or publicly available was that this woman had introduced another woman to the priest as her “lover.” That would betoken a long term (dare we say “obstinate”) situation involving objectively immoral behavior, and would give any priest great pause before administering communion.

  21. Let us not forget that when our Lord was on this earth, He allowed his Body to be touched and pressed against by every sort of sinner, prostitute, tax collector and low life. A lesbian who (like Thomas Merton) found some Buddhist writings enhancing is touching the Body of the Lord should be seen in that context.

  22. It probably hasn’t occurred to most Catholic media-types or bloggers just how much this situation has impacted the faith of faithful, gay Catholics in the US. Not that, I suppose, it matters very much to them, anyway.

    It matters to me Thom, and I’m not gay. I do however have quite a few gay friends and a family member, and their heavy crosses break my heart.

    A “faithful” gay Catholic knows exactly what I am talking about, as there are some things that only Christ can heal, and homosexuality is one of them. By healing I mean a peaceful heart right with God, 100% availabe to a anyone, who opens themself up to the love of Christ, the truth of the Catholic faith, and of course, the sacraments (on a regular basis, especially the Eucharist and Confession).

    The last thing Barbara Johnson needs are cheerleaders cheering her on in her heretical syncretism and “I’ll do it my way Catholisim.” We all have crosses, and we are all called to holiness. As I said in an earlier post, when we, her fellow Catholics start living our faith in the fullness, crosses and all, only then will our gay brothers and sisters in Christ care to join us.

  23. Barbara Johnson sounds like a gentle spiritual person who has grappled with her faith, despite all the obstacles of her religion of birth and of society, when she came to the discovery of her being lesbian. I think the woman deserves a great deal of credit. I can not believe that people are so harsh in failing to truly contextualize her situation – her mother’s funeral ! Remember yourself at your mother’s funeral? If she is still alive, imagine yourself at your mother’s funeral. I truly think that the last thing that Barbara Johnson was anticipating was what happened. She probably had good experiences at the parish planning the funeral with the staff and the volunteer group there, the Arimathieans. Why wouldn’t she expect the same from the presider when he showed up? I think that it was all challenging for her to process his personalty, attitude, and statements in so condensed a time frame (minutes) while she is grieving her mother, and trying to have the composure to give the eulogy to the gathering for her dear mother. ( The eulogy which coincided with Fr Guarnizo leaving the altar, then returning, with no explanation at the time.) Usually when a presider would have to leave at such an important moment of the service, he would graciously apologize and explain his need to be absent. This is why i do not believe the explanation offered without authority in the blogosphere that he was suddenly ill). What a pressure on this lady! The question is not whether or not she can or should or will receive communion next week, the question is whether in the circumstances of the mother’s funeral mass, it was appropriate for the priest to deny her the sacrament. The Cardinal has spoken through Bishop Knestout. For those arguing legalisms over pastoral policy and archdiocesan authority, there it is. That is the policy, the interpretation of the canons involved, for the archdiocese of Washington, in such a case has been authoritatively answered by the Cardinal through Knestout. It’s odd to be arguing over all the legalisms after the policy has be articulated. The Cardinal obviously has the Pope’s confidence, he was just appointed to the position 16 months ago. A commenter above mentioned that if the woman denied the sacrament were heterosexual, and divorced, there would not have been the publicity. Right, but for the worn reason. The Church horribly picked on people undergoing marital problems until the ’70′s and ’80′s. Then, there thankfully was
    a great deal of reform of the Church’s pastoral approaches to the faithful in such a situation because of divorced persons working strongly and loudly within the church.Divorced people aren’t picked on anymore. Gays and lesbians are. That’s the difference a generation makes. Also, I have detected here and there some misogyny in some of the remarks against Barbara Johnson, especially those that have dragged the situation of Ms. Fluke and Rush Limbaugh into the mix. Barbara is a brave person. I wish her peace of the Lord in her spiritual journey. I hope that
    more Catholics are as brave as she.

  24. With the Pope himself now inviting US Episcopalians to jump ship en masse, and allowing them their own traditions, own priests and bishop, etc., it is hard to imagine why a confession is even necessary except in the most excruciatingly technical sense.

  25. The Church no longer accepts nor recognizes formal acts of defection, so they’ve sort of hoist themselves by their own petards on this one. They’ve locked the door, in effect, for CINOs and even outright disbelievers to leave, but who’s locked in with who?

  26. JKM—-With so much emphasis being made that in spite of her being a lifelong Catholic with a Buddhist hint and cohabitating with her lesbian lover, I thought since she was not a regular attendee at Mass, I hope she got to confession. Nothing to do with her lifestyle or Buddhism but she admitted that herself and last time I checked missing Sunday mass was grave matter for sin. Or has that changed too?

  27. You actually didn’t defect all that far. If I remember correctly, Orthodox and Catholic churches consider each other almost totally legit, it’s just a difference of recognizing papal authority or not. If memory serves (and not always), I think you’re even allowed to take communion at each other’s churches, at least in certain circumstances.

  28. Eh. There is an old saying that Orthodox tend to overstate the differences and Catholics tend to understate them. We are certainly closer than say Rome and Baptists, but there are really serious theological differences, some of which IMHO are probably unbridgeable without one or the other ceasing to be what they claim to be. A friend once characterized our differences as an inch wide, but a mile deep.

    That said I harbor no acrimony towards Rome. I just realized I had reached a point where I was Orthodox in faith and honesty required that I make that position formal and enter full communion with the Orthodox Church.

    As for intercommunion, Rome generally permits it. However the Orthodox Church is a bit tighter on that subject. For us to commune in a church is much more than a feel good act or even the reception of His Body & Blood. It is a declaration of full agreement on all essential points of faith and doctrine. That agreement does not presently exist and as such Orthodox Christians are not permitted to commune in Catholic Churches nor are Roman Catholics allowed to commune in ours.

    Perhaps one day that will change. But I can’t honestly say that I am sanguine. For now it is good that after a thousand years of estrangement we are talking TO each other instead of at each other. Or just not talking at all. And while I doubt we will see restoration of communion we do have points of common interest where cooperation is clearly possible.

  29. Put me down as a little confused Deacon Greg. You post often that you would like to see less combat on your blog. You post today:

    “The easiest thing in the world is to get Catholics fighting and divided. And we take the bait every time. The media knows it and so does the President. Shame on them for doing it, but shame on us for being such an easy target.”
    – Msgr. Charles Pope

    while on the same day you throw out this read meat for about the Umpteenth time which generates a lot of comments from each of the two wings and more fighting and division. Even the full frontal picture of the lady is not very flatering to generate some sympathy for her from one of the wings and if someone mentions that, the other wing will flap wildly in the air. Nothing here really adds critical information such as why the dioceses suspended the priest and what non related grave offenses they saw to justify their actions. We already knew she was fooling around with Buddism and did not attend church, that she was in an ongoing lesbian relationship and had confronted the priest with this right before the mass. One concern I would have is why a Catholic school would take someone with this background on to teach Catholic kids is another story that might be food for a posting if we found that out, but why this and why today when there is really nothing new?

    Why not just say I love it when there is bashing between the two wings because it generates a lot of traffic to my blog and give up on the peace and love two wings quotes or the wringing of hands about the anger that you see your blog now sinking to.

    I would really like to see a good discusson on Catholic issues where both wings can discuss them without the red meat and think at this time it would hold great value. Lent is a good time to reflect and see where are hearts and souls truly are and I have my own challenges, but frankly, today you have left be confused.

  30. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    I posted this because it’s the first time I’ve seen Ms. Johnson speak at length about her religious beliefs and background. And it was an opportunity to link it to Ed Peters, who goes on to debunk some popular myths in this story in a way that, to my mind, is new. And interesting. And worth reading.

    Let those who have eyes, read.

    Dcn. G.

  31. Well, Thom, that’s mighty condescending of you. Or is it that you’re simply clairvoyant. You’ve just done the very thing you accuse others of doing. Homosexuality and lesbianism are indeed heavy crosses, but then if you look about, you’ll see that we all carry some pretty heavy loads.

    There are a great many crosscurrents inherent in this situation, and there are a great many thoughtful people who are concerned about which issue takes ultimate precedence. Working through the murky, filthy mess that has been the state of Catholic catechesis in this nation for fifty years is just as murky a process, and there are a great many misperceptions that people need to have revealed as such and then clarified. That takes time, effort, and humility.

    I continue to be edified by Deacon Greg and Ed Peters, and I attended one of the most rigorous and orthodox seminaries in the US. So, while the plight of gays and lesbians matter, so do the sacraments and the direction taken by the Church; so does the effort to clean up the mess left by generations of bishops and priests who neglected their fields ad let the weeds take over.

    If you expect patience and charity for gays, perhaps you might consider leading by example.

  32. Actually, for many people, Buddhism is a way of life, culturally; not a religion. One of the most amazing priests I know was raised in Korea as a cultural Buddhist…he is the director of the St. Thomas Korean Center in Orange Co. CA. All of his family are Catholics, too.

  33. Pardon me?

  34. Would someone please explain to me how It is legitimate to graft a human compulsion onto oneself and than define ones entire being and human identity by that compulsion as reconcilable with catholic or Christian values? I am sympathetic to compulsions or disorders, more than sympathetic, but i do not graft my compulsions into an personal identity as some kind of zoological org chart to give them false weight nor do I ask people to accept my compulsions which lead me to sin. Rather I bear the miserable cancers personally and ask god for help. Human beings have many compulsions and we do not try to legitimize them all. Is sacrifice and self denial alien completely alien anymore. Why doesn’t one aristotlian or thomistic philosopher distinguish the large gulf between identity by legitimate physical characteristics and the canard of identity by compulsive thoughts into actions….one is an unchangeable physical reality of the natural world..the other is subject like all thoughts that pop into the mind, by the governance of the mind, will and heart working together.

    We are gods children….that is our identity.

  35. There are quite a number of Catholics who participate in Quaker meetings from time to time, and who consider themselves Catholic. I’ve mentioned before, Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Merton,both esteemed priests and writers, were deeply into eastern religions.

  36. You don’t need my pardon, Thom. You might beg it of those you judged harshly.

  37. Kenneth: Not true. In our diocese we have a chancellor who, among other things, has to process and acknowledge formal acts of defection. The reality is, of course, that the individual is free to return to the practice of the faith at any time by simply going to confession, making a profession of faith, and then resuming reception of the sacraments. For one to formally defect, they must submit the statement in writing and a notation is made in the baptismal register.

  38. Drake,

    Barbara is a person that if she had integrity would understand that to drag this out in the media would only damage and hurt the church with a militant secular media and ruling secular elites looking for Catholic scalps. Because she persists her actions show her to be less than ready for canonization drake. The appropriate response from her would be this is a private matter that I never intended to hit papers and I have nothing to say….because she does not do this…the stereotypes of open lesbian living in a relationship Buddhist catholic artist…will most likely continue…..eventually if it quacks like a duck does become sound folksy wisdom to live by ….Time to pray I guess

  39. “Pardon me” was in reference to not knowing to what you’re referring when you say I am condescending.

  40. pagansister says:

    No one knows just what God or for that matter, what Jesus would do. Religion is personal and IMO every person’s relationship with God is different. I actually don’t think the even the Pope knows just what God thinks.

  41. Logic and Reason Involving the Fr. Guarnizo Case and the Interpretation of Canon 915

    Is not the “essence” (or one of the “essences”) of the case involving the denial of communion to B. Johnson the judgment made by Fr. Guarnizo, and whether or not it is supported by Church law?
    If so, then the information presented to Fr. Guarnizo and/or what he knew prior to the Mass is a key concern. Do we have all of the facts?
    Moreover, I note that Canon Lawyer Peters has mentioned something about obstinate perseverance in grave sin (re: Canon 915), and he deems his judgment of what this constitutes as the more reasonable position. However, has the Church ever denoted a specific time range for what constitutes obstinate perseverance? If not, then it’s open to interpretation regarding the length and/or intensity of such behavior. I don’t believe there is a time frame for what constitutes obstinate perseverance.
    Let’s look at a clearly stated definition of Obstinate:
    From the American Heritage Dictionary:
    1. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, an opinion, or a course of action; obdurate. 2. Difficult to manage, control, or subdue; refractory.
    Note that no time frame is set forth. As such, if I speak with a priest, and he explains to me a particular thing, and I stubbornly adhere to my unorthodox opinion in response, I am being obstinate.
    Now we need to look up perseverance to see if there is a definitive time frame involved, etc.
    Back to the American Heritage Dictionary.

    Perseverance is defined as:

    1. Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.
    Not good enough. We need to go to persistence, which is the state of being persistent, and Persistent means:

    1.Refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately.
    2. Insistently repetitive or continuous. 3. Existing or remaining in the same state for an indefinitely long time; enduring.
    We should next consider Steadfast:

    1. Fixed or unchanging; steady. 2. Firmly loyal or constant; unswerving.
    Put all of the above together, and you will find no time limits per se, though to be clear, many understandings of the terms do include passages of time that suggest more than a brief period.
    BUT not all of them (including perseverance), and the first understandings/definitions of most of the terms do not reflect x amount of time that needs to be involved. Hone in on the following:
    “Fixed or Unchanging.”
    Can this be immediate? Absolutely.
    “Refusing to Let Go.”
    Can this be immediate? Absolutely, and if a person is advised to not do X, yet they do X, they have refused to let go.
    Now bring back Obstinate:

    1. Stubbornly adhering to an attitude, an opinion, or a course of action; obdurate. 2. Difficult to manage, control, or subdue; refractory.
    So we can now get to the real nitty-gritty, and that is whether or not a priest can make a decision in accordance with Canon 915 that satisfies the understanding of the Canon… after meeting with a person for even a few minutes.
    This goes back to the information communicated to the priest, his responses, other knowledge he may possess, and whether or not it is possible to make a prudent/reasonable judgment along the lines made by Fr. Guarnizo, even without a greater passage of time.
    And based upon the definitions of all terms involved, I believe it is possible, so I don’t believe that Dr. Peters’ view is necessarily correct, though it would be if his interpretation of the terms involved Must be construed to include X amount of passage of time, but then we are back to what constitutes a sufficient passage of time, etc.
    Moreover, if a priest is to accept at face value the presumed worthiness of typical Mass attendees approaching communion, then why can he not accept at face value the worthiness of the comments made by such a person a few minutes earlier regarding that person’s behavior, beliefs, etc.? Why must the priest assume or even presume good faith in one action, but not the other? This is not reasonable.
    This is also an instance in which I believe Dr. Peters interprets the law too one-sidedly to have the priest give the attendee the benefit of the doubt in approaching communion, but that same priest is not to assume good faith or give the benefit of the doubt with respect to what an attendee says. Why? The spoken word is key to what lies in a heart, and perhaps a priest should rely more on what is spoken instead of considering the information to be bogus or not really the case, or the person is confused, etc.
    Double Standard Anyone?
    Even if Dr. Peters’ interpretation would constitute the “majority view,” is it possible for Fr. Guarnizo’s interpretation to also satisfy what might be called the “minority view”?
    If so, Dr. Peters is in error when he calls for Fr. Guarnizo to be corrected as if Dr. Peters’ “majority view” is the only possible interpretation that is reasonable, etc.

    What would be called for is to simply advise Fr. Guarnizo that the broader interpretation of Canon 915 is the course to be followed by the priests of the archdiocese (if that is how the archdiocese wishes to operate) unless directed otherwise.
    Furthermore, if there is/was no definitive statement, etc., made by the archdiocese to the priests of the archdiocese regarding Canon 915 and how it is to be interpreted, then any reprimanding of Fr. Guranizo for his interpretation is unjust on its face unless it can be definitively shown that Fr. Guarnizo’s interpretation is simply not possible.
    Onward and Upward and God Bless!

  42. Let me not deceive myself.
    It is not about me. It is about God.
    It is not on my terms. It is God’s.
    If I can’t give faith in the Church God ordained
    let me not deceive myself.
    It is not God I worship
    but my self and my way.

  43. And let those who have the power to disseminate, disseminate the Truth.

  44. God’s way, not my way.
    Fidelity is obedience.
    I obey God, not myself.
    Obedience is worship.
    I worship God, not myself.

  45. You’re whole comment, Thom. You’re whole comment was condescending.

  46. “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)

  47. Irish Spectre says:

    Oh, yeah, sister, of course. By the way, would it happen to be Lucifer that you’re the sister of?!!

  48. I’m sorry you feel that way. I simply expressed what I, and many others, are feeling.

  49. Orthodox are permitted to commune in Catholic churches. The Catholic teaching is that you have to hold the same views on the nature of the sacraments.

    We acknowledge that Orthodox have the true priesthood and sacraments.

    Members of the Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these churches. (canon 844 § 3

  50. There are a few points Ms. Johnson is forgetting. The sacraments are not impersonal, but according to Catholic teaching, they work objectively, rather and than subjectively.

    Therefore there are certain guidelines in place, to make a sacrament and it’s reception valid.

    People just think they have a sense of entitlement to everything. Sacraments are not rights.

  51. The issue here is that Catholic teachings on the sacraments are that they operate objectively, yet not impersonally. Ms. Johnson has a very subjective approach to the sacraments and does not understand Catholic teaching in this respect.

    Everything is not based on how a person feels.

  52. Hieronymus says:

    For a canon lawyer, Ed Peters is strangely inaccurate in his quotation. The CCC does not call homosexuality “disordered”. It calls it “gravely disordered”. For a lawyer, the difference should be obvious. And what about “the sin of Sodomy” as one of the four sins calling to heavens for vengeance? His interpretation of “manifest” and “obstinate” has been also justly called into question, see .

    As for Buddhism, isn’t it atheistic (i.e., does not discuss the issue of God’s existence at all)? How then an atheist can be Catholic? Besides, all the positive aspects of Buddhism – compassion, right living, etc. – are already present in Christianity. The whole rigmarole is really more silly than sinister but I strongly agree – Barbara Johnson should not be sacrilegiously receiving the Eucharist, period.

  53. Hieronymus says:

    Sorry, my mistake. The CCC calls homosexuality “intrinsically”, not “gravely”, disordered. Still, this qualifying adjective is important and Ed Peters shouldn’t have left it out.

  54. It’s actually still a very unclear area of Canon law or interpretation. In 2009, Rome released a “Motu Proprio” with rulings in several disparate areas. One of them was this defection process. It removed from Canon Law all references to the act of formal defection. It clearly eliminated the one Canon Law consequence to the act of formal defection – the impact on marriage validity.
    So does that mean that defection itself can no longer be accepted or recorded? It appears to depend on who you ask. You say your diocese still does them. Others, including the Archdiocese of Dublin, which probably holds the world record for defections, concluded that it was not appropriate to record defections anymore in the sacramental record because the Moto Proprio abolished the “juridic action” of defection. Supposedly they still record your name on a list of people who wish to defect…
    It’s all very very confusing at present. The widespread but not universal impression is that the formal defection process no longer exists. Maybe the deacon or someone with contacts in some major archdiocese could clear it up, or at least give the current regional interpretation of the law.

  55. Savvy
    I think I wasn’t clear in my comment. I mentioned that the Roman Church generally permits inter-communion. However we Orthodox do not. The prohibition against communing in a Catholic Church is not from your church, it is from ours. Taking communion in a non-Orthodox Church is tantamount to self excommunication.

  56. Jesus said that there would be tares amongst the wheat, and when it was harvested He would sift it all out. Not that this means that we should close our eyes to sin, but that in the end He would be the final arbiter. I’m not even sure who are the tares in this case, I don’t know enough facts about it to speculate well and certainly don’t want to judge. I have had this situation and these people in my prayers and I hope some of you have also.

  57. WJ, posted that as a reply to your post by accident. It wasn’t a comment on what you said. Sorry.

  58. enough with this story already.She got the publicity she was looking for, the distruction of a priest and caused problems for the Bishop and the Catholic Church. ENOUGH!>

  59. In response to Msgr. Pope, I am one who does not in fact believe that Catholics fighting among themselves or being divided in a debate is always and in every instance necessarily a bad thing. The Apostles fought, and there was division between even Peter and Paul. And more than a few colorful expletives were heard outside the windows of the Constitutional Convention. Going along to get along is rather banal and usually fruitless. It is certainly not a good thing when it leads to deep rifts such as the split between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but that does not mean that it is not sometimes useful and productive, even necessary.

    I would instead take issue as to what is arguably one of the reasons for much of the infighting and discord, namely the gross incompetence, and even criminal negligence, of many of the American and European Bishops for a generation now. The Archdiocese of Washington, much as other dioceses, also hid, protected and shuffled around known child sex predators for decades. But a priest is thrown under the bus because apparently he has been accused of being rude to some staff? If this is not a sound reason for some infighting between Catholics, then I am at a complete loss as to what ever could be a reason.

  60. It seems that this Catholic blog has turned into a LGBT blog now given the posters spirited defenses of gay issues. I wonder if Deacon Greg checked the referrers to the forum, which gay community forums are the source of the new posters.

  61. Very interesting points. Thank you.

  62. “kevin”, one website that regularly impugns my views wrote “Canon lawyer Ed Peters spells it out: apparently, it is every priest’s job to help people eat and drink condemnation upon themselves, even if the person in question makes a point of stopping by the sacristy before her mother’s funeral Mass to announce that she is a partnered lesbian and … self-ident[ifies] as a Buddhist (that is: not a Catholic).”

    Tell me, have a caricatured this taunt (just one among many, a hazard for those who sign real names to the views), or have I simply and fairly re-presented it? If the latter, who is being “mocking, uncharitable and condescending in the extreme”, me, or you?

  63. H, is your first point that I understated my argument? What’s wrong with understating the strength of one’s views, if they suffice to carry the point at issue (as mine does)? And how have I misquoted the CCC? I did not mention it or link to it. Could have, but in fact, simpkly did not.

  64. Is anyone really canonizing Barbara Johnson? I think there are more trying to make a martyr of fr Guarnizo, who evidently did some very serious missteps to be tossed out so suddenly. This has every indication that he had bad reports on the chancery radar screen prior to this incident. Fr LaHood, his pastor, lived with the man for a year, and he requested his removal from the scene. As to people “scandalized” at Barbara Johnson’s spiritual journey, maybe she has been reading too much Thomas Merton who took the same path. God bless the secular media ! As Catholics, we would know almost zilch of what occurs in the many secret chambers of he hierarchy, without the reporting of the secular media. I am glad that they consider the Catholic Church relevant for coverage.

  65. The reverential reception of communion with good heart and intention can hardly be called “Sacrilege”. At most, it is violative of some canon, which as we know, can be changed anytime (the canons are not timeless truths), or dismissed by a hierarchical authority with an indult or dispensation.

  66. Henry Karlson says:

    How do you know what she believes about them?

  67. I wouldn’t bother taking Ed Peters too seriously. As typical lawyers do, they will twist the law to fit their views… not Christlike all, in fact it’s quite disgraceful.

  68. no, aw-, they are not interesting, but the permutations of mistakes this topic has engendered are limitless (e.g., suggesting the American Heritage Dictionary as a key to undertaking the official text of the Code is new) and cannot be answered. I will say, there is no “minority view” as DB understands the notion. One might dispute facts, yes, but no one I’ve read thinks Communion can he withheld under c. 915 without all of its elements being demonstrated in accord with canon law (not the AHD, etc). I mention it cuz your own posts here and elsewhere are thoughtful, though not always, in my view, correct. best, edp.

  69. Henry Karlson says:

    What you really mean is that you will ignore when the results are not to your liking.

    While I can, and do, have criticism of Ed Peters at times (his discussion on deacon continence), the response is not to completely ignore him and say “Well, he is twisting things, because it’s not as I wish it to be.” Even when I think he is wrong on things, I also know not everything he says is wrong even on those discussions. What is needed is a true Catholic spirit which follows the Church, and is ready to learn even in disagreement. What I see coming from you is, more or less, a dangerous attitude which basically comes from pride.

  70. MD Catholic says:

    So, just another day at the ‘Bench.’

  71. Pete — your argument that eastern religions and Catholicism are compatible is getting tiresome. They are NOT COMPATIBLE.

  72. Well, I can certainly see how that poor priest’s head must have been spinning. If he made the wrong decision in denying her communion (and I’m not particulaly conceding that he did, I’m just not sure) it was understandable given the confusion. Let’s have a little compassion for him.

    I found this rather interesting in the article:
    “Johnson says she never stopped seeing herself as a Catholic, and never stopped attended Mass or taking Communion – albeit not very regularly.”

    Huh? You either attend mass regularly or you don’t. And I don’t believe you are can receive without going to confession if you have intentionally missed mass.

  73. Henry Karlson says:

    Your understanding of Buddhism is over-simplistic as well. Do you know there was a time when Christians were considered atheists? Buddhism, like many of the early Greek philosophers, criticized the religious system of India, and the way they understood their gods. What St Justin Martyr said about Christianity in relation to this charge of atheism is interesting because it should give light to how a Christian can understand the “atheism” of Buddhism:
    From the First Apology:
    Chapter 5. Christians charged with atheism

    Why, then, should this be? In our case, who pledge ourselves to do no wickedness, nor to hold these atheistic opinions, you do not examine the charges made against us; but, yielding to unreasoning passion, and to the instigation of evil demons, you punish us without consideration or judgment. For the truth shall be spoken; since of old these evil demons, effecting apparitions of themselves, both defiled women and corrupted boys, and showed such fearful sights to men, that those who did not use their reason in judging of the actions that were done, were struck with terror; and being carried away by fear, and not knowing that these were demons, they called them gods, and gave to each the name which each of the demons chose for himself. And when Socrates endeavoured, by true reason and examination, to bring these things to light, and deliver men from the demons, then the demons themselves, by means of men who rejoiced in iniquity, compassed his death, as an atheist and a profane person, on the charge that “he was introducing new divinities;” and in our case they display a similar activity. For not only among the Greeks did reason (Logos) prevail to condemn these things through Socrates, but also among the Barbarians were they condemned by Reason (or the Word, the Logos) Himself, who took shape, and became man, and was called Jesus Christ; and in obedience to Him, we not only deny that they who did such things as these are gods, but assert that they are wicked and impious demons, whose actions will not bear comparison with those even of men desirous of virtue.

    Chapter 6. Charge of atheism refuted

    Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity. But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught.

    This is before his more important quote:

    Chapter 46. The Word in the world before Christ

    But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were irresponsible — let us anticipate and solve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious.

    The way St Justin was able to point to the pre-Christian “atheists” as followers of the Logos should give us pause and help us understand how we can engage Buddhism. We come to it with Christ, just as the early Christians came to Plato and Aristotle with Christ. Many became followers of Plato and Christ at the same time (Synesius of Cyrene famous for this). Of course, in following Christ, this meant critical adaptation. Plato taught reincarnation and multiple gods — and some used this to discount adaptation of Platonism into Christian thought. Thankfully the Catholic principle which is a faith seeking understanding, where it accepts philosophy as the handmaid of theology, this allow us to look at and engage Buddhist thought (some of which is highly philosophical, and far more nit-picky than the schoolmen) as Christians yet see the Buddhist connection like others considered themselves to be Christian Platonists.

  74. Henry Karlson says:

    Those words could mean she went to mass but didn’t take communion regularly. And even if she didn’t go to mass regularly, there could be reasons for that which make it either venial sin or not even a sin (we don’t know). The fact that there are other possible interpretations should make one pause before trying to judge the state of her soul.

  75. She has a LOVER! Henry –she told Father she has a LOVER. Last time I checked sex outside marriage is not a venial sin. I am not judging her soul – only the meager facts as we know them and as she has presented them.

  76. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Did she?

    A definitive account has not been established. Different sides are telling different versions.

    It would be helpful if we could know what, specifically, transpired. But no one can agree on that.

    Dcn. G.

  77. Fair enough.

  78. It would be helpful Deacon, but I’d rather the story just went away.

  79. I disagree, Deacon Greg. We have a published ‘inside account’ from LifeSite News that has NOT BEEN REFUTED by the woman in question.

    Honestly, doesn’t it seem possible that Father is under obedience and that is why he doesn’t speak? Please use your great influence to press the Archdiocese for a better and more public confirmation of the story.

  80. Henry Karlson says:


    Lifesite has been known to misrepresent facts — look to how they misrepresented the Pope in regards to Harry Potter. And, actually, the statements coming from Barbara Johnson have indeed gone against the claims of Lifesite. Again, as Deacon Greg points out, we don’t know all the facts. We hear gossip. That is not a good foundation for argument.

  81. Henry, so now we are going to denigrate LifeSite News just because YOU SAY they misrepresented some story about Harry Potter? Pardon me, but who are you that I should believe you?

    The fact remains that a source close to Fr Marcel gave a detailed account of the incident and it was published and attributed to him, a real person. There has been no refutation of the facts as presented in that account. I will not write off that account just because YOU SAY it should not be trusted.

    You know, its funny. Deacon Greg wants a full account. Yet when an accounting is given we are told not to believe it. Fr Marcel has yet been able to speak for himself, so we discount all credible stories that support him and what are we left with? Barbara Johnson.

    If Deacon Greg will not believe or give any credence to published accounts, then I suggest he scrap this whole story until such time as we hear from Father Marcel. Continuing to give Barbara Johnson her more then 15 minutes of fame feeds into the hands of the Enemy. I can only assume he is loving this.

  82. I would say you Ed. If you were meaning to respond to this particular characterization of your writing on this, maybe you should have said so. As it was, your post made it sound as if everyone who had a good faith problem with her reception was a hysterical, judgmental rube who doesn’t know up from down in the Church. That was what sounded unfair.

  83. Well, in my case confession (as different from profession) was necessary because it had been quite a long time and there was much that needed repair in my relationship with God and neighbor. :) The profession of faith was intended to address the difference between living my baptism as an Episcopalian and as a Roman Catholic, and that (even if I had been one of the folks coming over through the ordinariate, and not a revert) was much more than a mere formality: It required my conscious, considered affirmation of all that the Church teaches as revealed by God.

  84. All true, RomCath. I’m just saying none of us knows (or do we? and if so, by what means?) how frequently Ms Johnson or anyone else for that matter unless we live with them and are in their company 24/7 makes use of the Sacrament of Penance. And again, even though I am indicting myself by it as a former catechetical writer/editor, the general state of catechesis does not convince me that the majority of Catholics understand what constitutes grave sin. And lack of that understanding–no matter how vincible others might think the ignorance is–means the sin is not grave. That’s a reminder that even under the strictest interpretation, the Church gives us a pretty long rope of grace.

    And I hasten to add, before someone else calls me to task, that I don’t believe an announcement of sinfulness and a public refusal of Communion at the funeral of a loved one constitutes sufficient or charitable catechesis.

  85. My response to this particularly bilious and often juvenile comment thread is the same as Dorothy Parker’s to Winnie the Pooh: “Tonstant weader fwowed up.” Really, you could save space by just answering one another with “I know you are, but what am I?”

    But don’t shoot the messenger. Deacon Greg reports developments in Church news, and this story is one. I am just bemused by the fact that no one seems nearly as intrigued by the strangeness of Fr Marcel’s actual, public, confirmed biography (Colombian by birth, raised in Arlington, ordained and incardinated in Moscow, Russia, says Mass in Latin in accordance with no approved form, dresses like a 1950s cross between Guido Sarducci and Peewee Herman, is secretary of a heavily funded political think tank on Eastern Europe that meets in a Viennese castle and includes numerous ties with those who wish to reestablish European monarchies, etc.) as they are by invented, scandalous, lurid “details” of Ms Johnson’s life.

  86. kevin, you’re either gonna decide to read what someone actually says and respond to it, or you’ll continue to respond to what you think they said, or assumed they said, or wish they had said, etc. either way, it’s choice you need to make. i can’t force the obviously-correct approach on anyone.

  87. Henry Karlson says:

    Who am I to say? Someone who has seen many lies out of Lifesite through the years. I’m not the only one. The fact is, gossip is gossip, and Lifesite is just giving out gossip.

  88. pagansister says:

    FYI, I do not happen to be the sister of “lucifer” or any other mythical dark being, Irish Spectre. So your assumption is very, very off base in more ways than one. You have made an assumption that all people who are not Christian, worship a dark mythical being because the word Pagan is involved. Again, so very, very off base. That is, IMO, as incorrect as lumping all folks of a certain ethnic back ground as having the same traits or habits etc. My 2 younger sisters are the ones I am a sister to—-to finish answering your inquiry.

  89. pagansister says:

    BTW, Irish Spectre, what did your question about my relationship to a mythical being have to do with Ms. Johnson and her beliefs? She has a duel set—-and has been mentioned, she considers herself Catholic…and adding the Buddhist philosophy has enhanced her. Not so wrong.

  90. pagansister says:

    Irish Spectre—-Your name is that of a ghost, phantom, or the mental image of something unpleasant or menacing. And you question my user name? Being of proud Irish descent, I wondered why the word Pagan bothers you? They preceeded the coming of the Catholics in Ireland. Why does Ms. Johnson and her Buddist beliefs bother you? Just curious.

  91. midwestlady says:

    There is NO SUCH THING as “Buddhist Catholicism,” as long as Catholicism is understood as CHRISTIANITY. Christianity and Buddhism are 2 different religions. Christianity makes truth claims that contradict Buddhist claims. You can’t be both at the same time, unless of course, you’re no longer Christian and are simply hanging onto a remnant of Catholic cultural memory.

    When a person claims they’re a “Buddhist Catholic” they’ve probably left Christianity.

  92. midwestlady says:

    There is no “two wings to the Church” to this. This is the political activist who outed herself before Mass and then was refused Holy Communion as a result. She’s gay rights activist. This is not Christian.

    Think about this: What kind of a person would use their own dead mother as fuel for a political cause?

  93. midwestlady says:

    No. People just walk out the doors all the time. We don’t keep track. We definitely should but we don’t.

  94. midwestlady says:

    Agree. She’s gotten enough attention over the body of her dead mother.

  95. midwestlady says:

    On the contrary, they are entering the Catholic Church, Latin Rite, for the first time, having been protestant before their conversions. All baptised protestants make a confession at the time of conversion & acceptance into the Catholic Church.

  96. midwestlady says:

    Exactly. People who leave the Catholic Church don’t care about canon law, which is Catholic Church law. Why would they? They leave it all behind.

  97. midwestlady says:

    “albeit not very regularly” – there’s the money phrase. She’s a cultural catholic in name only, using that fact to push a political point. Disgusting. Wonder if her mother would have been humiliated by this. Poor dead woman.

    It’s odd that the priest didn’t know all this was in the offing before the funeral service. Catholic churches ought to screen MUCH more tightly before they perform marriages, funerals & other functions. And once this lesbian woman outed herself before the funeral, the funeral should have been immediately changed to a funeral service rather than a funeral mass. IMMEDIATELY. I’m sure the priest had both sets of words available to him. This ought to be standard practice.

  98. midwestlady says:

    I mean if you aren’t a visible member of the parish and the priest doesn’t recognize you or know about your family, you should not be offered funeral masses or weddings in the parish church.

  99. Is being born in Colombia “strange”? That’s quite a statement. Colombia is a land of extremes I will admit. It is widely credited with having some of the most beautiful women in the world, but you have the inredibly violent cartels also.

  100. midwestlady says:

    She’s no longer Catholic. She’s a gay rights activist who has changed her religion to Buddhist. You can’t be a Buddhist and a Christian at the same time, they conflict too badly with each other.

  101. midwestlady says:

    This is not true if what you practice is real Buddhism rather than the silly make-believe versions you find in the Barnes & Noble New Age sections. Most Americans wouldn’t actually know Buddhism if it bit them on the rear end.

    PS. I have a real Buddhist co-worker from Taiwan. I know about Buddhism.

  102. midwestlady says:

    Agree. Stop using her for political ends of your own, ie. factions of the Church. This is disgusting too. And it’s all being done over the body of a dead woman, which seems to be escaping everyone. Double Disgusting. Have some respect for the dead.

  103. midwestlady says:

    I hate to pop your bubble but not being judgmental doesn’t appear anywhere in the 10 commandments and seldom anywhere else in Scripture or tradition.

    I will tell you where it does appear. In the Victorian interpretations of Christianity that are still in vogue and tend to evacuate the Christian faith of much of its content.

    We all are going to be submitted to a final judgment. Wrap your politically correct neo-Victorian emotional sensitivities around that.

  104. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Read Matthew 7.

    Dcn. G.

  105. midwestlady says:

    Reception of holy communion by any person who’s not in a state of grace is always a sacrilege. This is basic catechesis, and I’m shocked you don’t know this.

    This woman introduced the priest to her lesbian lover. Rather obviously, it’s an ongoing mortal sin to have a lesbian lover.

  106. midwestlady says:

    BS. She’s a hardened and experienced gay rights activist. You don’t do much research do you?

  107. midwestlady says:

    Perhaps you have never heard of the Piltdown man affair. Or you don’t know that the Holy See forbid Teilhard Chardin to continue writing as a Catholic author in 1947.

  108. naturgesetz says:

    It’s ongoing serious matter to have a lesbian lover. Whether it’s a mortal sin depends on the degree of one’s freedom and understanding of the wrongness of the conduct. See Catechism of the Catholic Church 1857-1860.

  109. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Pope Benedict also quoted de Chardin, favorably, during a Vespers service three years ago.

  110. midwestlady says:

    Yes. I have been in close working proximity to Buddhists at work for years, and we have had many conversations. Officially, Buddhism is atheistic. However, they revere Buddha in a popular “folk culture” way which celebrates him as a “god.” The key claims of Buddhism revolve around “good” ways of living to avoid eternally being reincarnated, and with special urgency to avoid being reincarnated as a lower creature like a bug or a mouse.

    Buddhists not only don’t believe in an eternal God, but they don’t believe that a person has a unique life that is eternal. They don’t believe in heaven or hell, only escape from the cycle of life. For Buddhists, life is an illusion, something to be escaped. For them, there is little cost to abortion or murder except the emotional cost, because for them the person just gets reborn again. [Ooops, false start. Go again.]

    The folk cultures that surround Buddhism are varied. In China, Taiwan and many other countries, Buddhist people believe that spirits roam the world, and they are intensely superstitious. The idea is that there is a time interval between death and re-incarnation and the spirits are free to roam around then. There is no God to protect them, no Holy Spirit, no faith. They wear amulets and jewelry to fend off evil spirits and the angry dead. This is so even in the 21st century among some Chinese American immigrants. The amulets make noise-that’s how you know they’re wearing them. Some of them are intensely afraid of death.

    The actual practice of Buddhism is not at all compatible with Christianity.

  111. midwestlady says:

    Homosexual acts are both intrinsically and gravely sinful.

    Intrinsically means “Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent.”

    Grave is a synonym for Mortal in the Catholic lexicon. Something gravely sinful is mortally sinful.

    I can’t believe I’m having to explain this to someone with more than a 3rd grade education and assorted CCD experience. This is very basic.

  112. Greetings, Dr. Peters:
    I must say that your ability to read the minds and motivations, etc., of others leaves much to be desired.

    If awashingtondccatholic finds my remarks or anyone else’s remarks to be very interesting, who are you to tell him that they are not? The interest is his/her own, so you owe that person an apology for insulting his or her intelligence.

    Can you not comment on/critique my post/s without taking a minor but still cheap shot at another party, and by extension, yours truly?
    Now to the essence of your incorrect assessments:
    1. Unfortunately, you have missed a few important points in your zeal to defend your interpretation as the only legitimate one in this matter, and to also freely claim that mistakes are made by others who do not accept your interpretation. This is further manifested by making illogical accusations like “the permutations of mistakes this topic has engendered are limitless.”
    2. You claim that the use of the American Heritage Dictionary is a new “mistake” in that limitless pantheon of mistakes you casually mention.

    However, since you and others expressed your views based upon what such terminology means, is it not reasonable to seek greater meaning of the terms to see how they can be used? Also, kindly explain what you mean by “undertaking the official text of the Code.”

    The idea behind using the American Heritage Dictionary, or any basic dictionary for that matter, is to obtain a greater understanding of the terminology used in the laws, and how the terms are being applied to the case involving Fr. Guarnizo.
    You know, some people might legitimately find such an approach to be very interesting,…even if you do not.

    Now, if you have an “ecclesiastical dictionary” or one that would provide greater, more precise meanings of the terms used that can be of assistance, please provide such meanings instead of merely claiming that your overall interpretation is the one that needs to be followed.

    Moreover, instead of making an ad hominem attack on my use of the dictionary for possible assistance, please take up the meanings of the terms I set forth, and clearly demonstrate any errors in the understandings or definitions presented. This should be quite simple for you to do if the use of such a dictionary is another mistake as you claim it to be.

    And if you can provide such different or more precise meanings of the terms (not just your interpretation), this could bring much greater clarity to the issue, and I look forward to learning more of what those terms really mean in greater depth.

    3. Next, you claim that there is no “minority view” as DB understands the notion. Once again, another faulty assumption on your part, and your assessment of my understanding of the notion is also mistaken. I am clearly creating/using an analogy, by first claiming that your interpretation might constitute the “majority view,” which is to say that yours might be the one that most people would agree with. I do not reduce this to things in writing. The quotation marks should have been helpful (obviously not, at least in your case), so I hope I do not need to explain this further. Next, I then clearly set forth the POSSIBILITY of WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED a “minority view” that would represent the view of Fr. Guarnizo and others who agree that his actions can or do satisfy Canon 915, and also believe he could legitimately make such a determination to so act after his brief meeting with B. Johnson.
    Nowhere is it claimed that such “views” need to be in writing or are in writing. Once again, the use of the quotation marks suggests a broader use of the terminology. Sheesh!

    4. And this leads to your next faulty assumption, and also pertains to one of my claims involving your expressed attitude toward others who disagree with your learned opinion.

    You write “One might dispute facts,…” Really? If something is a fact, how can it be disputed in any rational way? Perhaps you mean something else. I hope so.
    Anyway, you then write “but no one I’ve read thinks Communion can be withheld under c. 915 without all of its elements being demonstrated in accord with canon law (not the AHD, etc.).
    First, notice once again how you focus on Only what you have read. This certainly begs the question about whether or not you have read everything possible in this regard, but even if you’ve read thousands of things, it still misses the point. Actions involving the interpretation of Canon 915 do not have to be reduced to writing in any recognizable sense for them to be legitimate. This can still permit a “minority view” being held by Fr. Guarnizo and perhaps other priests without it being reduced to writing, or the kind of writing that you would have needed to read to consider such a possible interpretation.

    5. Lastly, it is unfortunate that the most important aspect of my post (again, what some might find interesting) is glossed over for the most part. This involves the possibility of making a legitimate judgment of Communion denial in accordance with Canon 915 after a brief meeting with a Mass attendee. It is understood that you do not believe so, but you did not address my primary contentions regarding spoken words, actions, etc., and the need for all of them to be considered in a consistent manner to perhaps,…just perhaps, make another interpretation and application of Canon 915 possible (what might be called a “minority view”) that does not coincide with your interpretation of the Canon.

    I mention the above because your own posts here and elsewhere are excellent in setting forth a particular interpretation of Canon Law, but they sometimes lack elements of common sense, and are frequently too quick to judge others wrong when other interpretations different than yours may indeed be legitimate.

    God Bless!


  113. midwestlady says:

    His biography isn’t as “interesting” as hers. Do your homework.

  114. Many Thanks. Please see my response to Dr. Peters below. I hope you find it to also be interesting, and perhaps helpful. I simply do not consider Dr. Peters to be the last word as many people, including Dr. Peters himself, appear to believe.

    God Bless!


  115. Many Thanks. It appears that my initial response is showing up elsewhere on this page. Please check it out.

    God Bless!


  116. midwestlady says:

    Contradiction never enhances anything.

    The denial of a contradiction produces a logical truth. Didn’t you ever learn that in your maths proofs classes of philosophy or anyplace?

    Why do I feel like I’m looking at a corral of milling livestock here? IGNORANCE IS A BAD THING. DON’T FLAUNT YOURS.

  117. midwestlady says:

    Are you calling this woman developmentally or mentally disabled?

  118. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Okay. “Midwestlady.” I’m going to ask you to please take it down a notch. Your posts are becoming increasingly hostile and disrespectful. Referring to other readers and commenters as “livestock” doesn’t help your arguments.

    Respect those with whom you disagree, even if you find them ignorant. Some of them undoubtedly feel the same way about you.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Dcn. G.

  119. Hi, JKM:

    Please see my posts above, beginning with March 13 and continuing today, March 14, for a different take on things that Dr. Peters critiqued, but then I responded to him as well. Enjoy.


  120. naturgesetz says:


  121. Some intriguing thoughts, midwestlady. Please see my March 13 and March 14 posts for more things to consider regarding this case.

    God Bless!


  122. midwestlady says:

    The so-called “liberal wing” of the Church has apparently made up its mind about the issues of the day, and this sort of thing is the result. It will be interesting to see how far out on a limb you will go for your views, now that some cultural pressure is being brought to bear on the Church as a whole.

  123. A fine satire, awashingtondccatholic, but the way things are now progressing, it’s probably much closer to reality than it should be. :-)

    God Bless!


    P.S. Please see my response to Dr. Peters who responded to your kind remarks concerning my March 13 Post.

  124. A fine point, savvy. Please see my posts of March 13 and March 14 for a different take on things that Dr. Peters attacked, but I also respond to him as well.

    God Bless!


  125. Hi, Gerard:

    For a different take on Dr. Peters’ views, please see my March 13 and March 14 posts (March 14 responds to a critique by Dr. Peters) for more things to consider in this matter.

    God Bless!


  126. naturgesetz says:

    I would suggest that you try to take the Catechism seriously. Although it refers in 1850 to “pathological disorders,” it does not limit the exculpatory factors to such things. It acknowledges, for example that “feelings and passions also can diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense.” And that means that it may not be mortal, even though the matter is grave.

    Furthermore, a poorly formed conscience (Catechism 1790) will result in a lack of full knowledge of the wrongfulness of conduct or its gravity — another factor which can make act which involves grave matter something less than mortally sinful.

  127. Hi, Kurt:

    Touching is, of course, not the same as being worthy to consume the body and blood of the Lord, but also keep the following in mind:

    After our Lord rose from the dead and thereby consummated His mission, He did not allow touching. Remember what He said to Mary Magdalene. The communion we receive is the glorified Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord.

    God Bless!


  128. Hi, Manny:

    Please see my posts of March 13 and March 14 that address some of your concerns.

    God Bless!


  129. naturgesetz says:

    The deceased was a member of St. John Neumann Parish, according to what I’ve read, so your comment about needing to be known in the parish was satisfied in this instance.

    But also, if someone was inactive for a number of years but still wanted a Catholic funeral and the family comply with the person’s wishes, I don’t think it would be good to bar the door.

  130. Henry Karlson says:

    No, grave is not the same thing as mortal sin; a grave sin could be a mortal sin, but one can have grave sin which is not mortal due to many factors.

  131. hi “DB”. I simply cannot respond to every viewpoint expressed on this topic or about me. I’m sure you understand. You don’t need me to say it, of course, but let me anyway: free to interpret Church law by your best lights. I’ll do likewise. Best, edp.

  132. The woman would have to be a sociopath to use her mother’s funeral to further a political cause. And I very much doubt she is.

  133. Once again, Midwestlady, it was HER MOTHER’S FUNERAL – a moment of extremity if ever there was one. In the name of charity, try putting yourself in her shoes.

  134. Hieronymus says:

    You seem to have completely overlooked the basic fact that Buddhism has no theology (I don’t want to use the term “atheism” again but it is the same thing). By quoting St. Justin, you are comparing apples with oranges. Christianity is theocentric, Buddhism is homocentric. Can you question that?

  135. Hieronymus says:

    Hi Ed, sorry, I’m not ignoring you, I just have a limited time now (a mere lunch break) and I can’t find the original quote of yours to which I was responding. I’ll try to do it later. Anyway, what do you think about interpreting “manifest” not as “publicly known” but as “obvious”? I believe this interpretation to be more accurate.
    Best regards, H.

  136. Henry Karlson says:

    There are many branches of Buddhism which teach and believe many different things. And the fact that you can find things in Buddhism which are not compatible with Christianity doesn’t mean one can’t follow Buddhism the way others follow Platonism (which also teaches things which Christianity cannot accept) or the teachings of Aristotle (once again, a religious system not entirely compatible with Christianity). Indeed, many criticized the saints who worked with Plato and Aristotle for similar reasons as you argue against people engaging Buddhism.

    I would also caution using a criticism of Buddhism which easily backfires into an evangelical criticism of Catholicism. Take, for example, veneration. Many Protestants say Catholics have turned Mary into a goddess. Of course we have not! That’s a fundamental error in understanding veneration: the same is true with Buddhist veneration. Depending upon which Buddhist thought one is engaging in, the Buddha in question could be the historical Siddartha, or it could be someone follow the Trikaya doctrine, which would be far more transcendental.

    And if you study the saints, you will find many of them talk about the way we perceive the world is also illusory, which comes from the fall. Indeed, you will find the basic thought of the Four Noble Truths in the writings of many great monastic saints like Maximus the Confessor, who also talks about a cycle of pleasure and pain which had to be broken through (by Christ, who then helps enlighten us!).

    As for the actual practice of Buddhism, which practice? Again, there are many. It’s like saying the actual practice of philosophy is not at all compatible with Christianity (and some indeed said that). Please, what I see is a poor, and indeed, non-Catholic approach to other religions — the way of the saints is far more engaging, and indeed, points to the preperatio evangelium among the gentiles.

  137. Henry Karlson says:

    You overlooked the fact that St Justin was talking about “atheists” and pointed out that those who, in the past, criticized the gods, nonetheless, because they followed reason, followed the Logos (Christ).

    And if you explore Buddhadharma, what is done in theology is done within Buddhism. Abhidharma is a place where serious theological research can be done.

  138. Final judgement — yes. Judgement by others on earth — no. Especially not by any of us, for three reasons; 1) none of us seem to know all the facts, which are not our business anyway, 2) even if we are privy to all the overt facts we are not privy to the inner mind of any of the parties involved, and 3) even if we were clairvoyant it is still not our job to render judgement.

    We all need to MYOB. Or to paraphrase B.J. Hunnicutt, minding one’s own business should be a full time job and one’s hobby in her/his spare time.

    Finally, the tone of your last sentence was uncalled for — and that is a judgement call by me.

  139. Response to Dr. Peters:
    Hi, “DP”:
    I do indeed understand your reluctance and/or incapacity to engage in depth, and I appreciate your comment about interpreting things according to one’s own best lights. It helps to be open to other possible interpretations no matter how minor they may or may not be if a matter is not definitively settled so that one’s lights are not unnecessarily dimmed by only looking inward for insights.

    Of course, this does not mean that particular interpretations have to be given equal weight to others, but to dismiss them so quickly out of hand because they do not coincide with one’s own interpretation that is not definitively settled is also unwarranted.

    It is indeed wise to at least respectfully consider the reasons for other possible interpretations, especially when such reasons may also provide additional insights or things to consider regardless of what interpretation is favored.

    God Bless!

  140. midwestlady says:


  141. Henry Karlson says:

    You have a “real Buddhist co-worker” and so you know everything about Buddhism. Ah, I see. Is it like everyone knows a real Catholic so everyone knows what Catholicism is about?

    As I have pointed out, there are many forms of the Buddhadharma; knowing someone from Taiwan (Pure Land Buddhist? Chan Buddhist? Something connected to Vajrayana?) does not mean you know Buddhism. Yes, the new age is wrong, but then we are talking about Buddhism proper — and if one explore it, one will find what I said above is quite valid.

  142. midwestlady says:

    But her daughter wasn’t. The priest should have switched to a funeral service immediately upon finding out the status of the daughter. It is well-known that funerals are a common situation where non-Catholics, former Catholics, and non-practicing Catholics receive Holy Communion in a state of grave sin. Why do we avoid the obvious?

  143. midwestlady says:

    Yes, it was her own mother’s funeral. I wonder what her mother would have thought of this.

  144. midwestlady says:

    Buddhism and Christianity are two different religions. I don’t know why that’s so hard to grasp.

    Catholicism was supposed to be a type of Christianity the last time I checked.

  145. Deacon Steve says:

    Confession (or the Sacrament of Reconcilliation) would be needed by one who was Catholic, left the faith informally and then returns. One who was never Catholic would only make the profession of faith, then complete the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation and Eucharist). If they were not Baptized, or Baptized in a faith where the Church does not recognize the validity of their Baptism, then they would receive all 3 Sacraments of Inititation after going through the RCIA process.

  146. midwestlady says:

    Yup. Wait til that issue, which is raging in the UK right now, gets to the states.
    And wait til the Church here runs into real persecution, which we may get, just like in the UK where people can no longer wear crosses to work. If we get real persecution here, people will be diving for the exits so fast you won’t be able to count them. You watch.

  147. midwestlady says:

    We have a lot of foreign priests in the US. Also we have a lot of immigrants in general. Being from Columbia isn’t so unusual.

  148. Henry Karlson says:

    And Platonism was pagan and used to defend paganism against Christianity and yet many Christians were Platonists. And Aristotle taught paganism, yet St Thomas (among others) considered him the ideal teacher. Many criticized Thomas for looking to pagans and Muslims to do theology — and yet, here we are, and he is a Doctor of the Church.

  149. Pete,

    Drake was tring to canonize Barbara…..that is the Ernest Hemingway answer to your question.

    Bad press is not good press Pete. The catholic church is not trying to be the Paris Hilton of the religious world….the secular press is desperately trying to make it so…with b.s. stories like this…especially giving legitimacy to this woman’s claim to be Catholic. I know this may be shocking to people but…given her own quoted words she my in fact be……heretical. I could be wrong here …..i mean, I know that many commentators on this blog go to levels of such breathtaking nuanced sophistry in creating their defenses for examples like this woman’s position on life and her faith…..that it can only eminate from the deepest darkest dungeons of theological nerdism with a detectable sympathetic dash and quiet suffering longing of secular values thrown in for good measure.

  150. midwestlady says:

    Someone should have tipped him off to the two-faced shameless political behavior of many Americans though. I think he was victimized.

  151. Deacon Steve says:

    Really? So if I were to attempt to arrange a funeral for a family member that lives out of state and the priest doesn’t know me or recognize my family member they should be denied a funeral mass? Even if they go to mass on a regular basis or even weekly? I hope no one at my parish ever tries to deny a funeral mass to someone who in their time of mourning reaches out to the Church for aid and comfort because they don’t recognize the person.

  152. Hieronymus says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t understand your argument. Let me once again explain mine. Buddhism is atheistic, Christianity is monotheistic. A fundamental difference. How can anybody be both? Is this clear enough. As for the Romans accusing Christians of atheism, they did it only because of the Christians’ refusal to make sacrifices to pagan gods and to Caesar. Where is your parralel to the Christian/Buddhist problem? I just can’t see any common points.

  153. Hieronymus says:

    Henry, which side are you really on?

  154. Hieronymus says:

    With the entry of Henry Karlson this discussion has turned into an exercise in obfuscation and spin-doctoring. I’m not going to waste my time on this kind of useless manure, good-bye.

  155. midwestlady says:

    Is there a *Doctor of the Church* who has used Buddhism to explain Christianity to anyone? Please let me know if this has happened. I’d like to read it.

  156. Henry Karlson says:

    Platonism was polytheism, Christianity is monotheism. How can Christians be Platonists? And if you note, St Justin is talking about pre-Christian atheists. Buddhism, like the pre-Christian atheists is atheism in reaction to the pre-Christian Hindu pantheon. That is the connection. Buddhism fits exactly the figures St Justin writes about.

  157. Henry Karlson says:

    And again, before the schoolmen, look to the way Aristotle was viewed by Christians. Look also to the condemnations coming from Étienne Tempier to see how this played out in the 13th century!

    We do have saints who engaged Buddhism (St Clement of Alexandria being the first; Palladius, the defender of St John Chrysostom, probably was talking about Buddhists in his works, but if not Buddhists, then Hindu monks; the life of Sts Barlaam and Josaphat is attributed to St John of Damascus; etc).

  158. midwestlady says:

    I didn’t ask you about Aristotle. I asked you if you knew of any DOCTOR of the Church who used Buddhism to explain Christianity. Do you? I’d like to read it if you do.

  159. midwestlady says:

    Yeah, pretty much.

  160. Henry Karlson says:

    Once again, I have explained that the criticism you give exploring Buddhism is exactly the kind of criticism given for Aristotle. Do you reject their use of Aristotle? If you understand the embrace of Aristotle, you know how Christians can engage Buddhism.

    The fact is that Buddhism was not explored until recent times; it’s like asking for a Doctor of the Church to discuss quantum physics and say “see, they didn’t” as a way to dismiss engagement with science.

    So once again, follow the method of St Thomas.

  161. Henry Karlson says:

    However, I will give you one example where there is a known Doctor of the Church who had some knowledge of Buddhism (because Buddhism did have some connections in Alexandria, and so some knowledge was spread about about Buddhism — some speculation suggests it might have even influenced NeoPlatonism — but be it as it may, some of the legends were known and indeed used to promote an aspect of the Christian faith):

    “To come to the Gymnosophists of India, the opinion is authoritatively handed down that Budda, the founder of their religion, had his birth through the side of a virgin.” St Jerome, Against Jovianus, I.42.

    So there you have a Doctor of the Church using Buddhism to promote Christian Doctrine. QED.

  162. midwestlady says:

    And what was the context? Buddha was known to the Manicheans.

  163. Henry Karlson says:

    The context is to defend virginity against Jovinianus and presented how even “barbarians” understand its dignity – praising them for it in contrast to opponent.

    You asked if a Doctor of the Church ever used Buddhism to explain Christianity. Here he did, in praise of the virtue of virginity.

    Again, simple. It shows Christians can indeed look to pagans to help discuss the Christian faith and the Buddha himself was invoked by Jerome.

  164. midwestlady says:

    Surely you’re not claiming that the legend of the virgin birth of Buddha is on a par with the virgin birth of Christ. Or that one could more clearly understand the theology behind the virgin birth of Christ by becoming a Buddhist.

  165. midwestlady says:

    Discuss and adopt are 2 very different things.

    You say that saints have engaged Buddhists, ie talked to Buddhists. Saints have engaged pagans and everyone else. That doesn’t mean they engaged IN Buddhism. Those are 2 very different activities.

  166. Henry Karlson says:

    You asked a question: how has a Doctor of the Church used Buddhism to promote Christianity. I have shown how. You are changing the questions as you go along. You show little to no appreciation of scholasticism, nor of the way philosophy is engaged as the handmaid of theology (philosophy, of course, in the ancient world not being separated from religion). When you understand how Plato and Aristotle are employed by Doctors of the Church, then you will appreciate the way others engage Buddhism. It’s simple.

  167. midwestlady says:

    Buddhism has regional varieties and it’s not doctrinally unified like Christianity is. This is because the truth claims aren’t of the same variety as ours.

    There are some commonalities among all the different types though.
    1) They all believe that Buddha is at least their guide; some believe more about him, such as that he is a god, although not exactly in the sense we believe in our Creator God. He is more of a teacher or guide, with legendary properties.
    2) They believe that there are 4 truths concerning the inescapability of suffering in this life, caused by the attachment of the human being to things, ideas and people. They believe that the goal is to travel beyond these all these things, people & ideas to escape suffering and awaken to reality which is beyond all these things.
    3) They believe in an 8-fold path which is, more or less, a rubric of rules for good living, in order to help guide one through this life to the next life, and aid advancement.
    4) They also believe that there is a cycle that one must undergo that involves reincarnation or transmigration of the soul until the soul accomplishes the goal of escape.

    And of course, you will see the specialized local additions to all this, which vary from region to region. I’m familiar with all of this and very familiar with the Taiwanese version because that’s what I’ve seen the most of.

    If you look at this, you can readily see that the conception of the human being is very different from the Christian human being. The concept of soul is also very different. The goal is different. And of course Buddha, no matter how he’s portrayed, is not Christ.

  168. pagansister says:

    Expect she would be proud, MWL.

  169. midwestlady says:

    A person can’t be both. It’s not only that the deities are different, no matter how you describe them, but the goals of the soul are different and the portrayal of the human being is completely different. There are explicit contradictions in these two belief systems. They are not at all compatible.

  170. midwestlady says:

    Also, a rather important philosophical note:

    Aquinas, in using Aristotle & Plato, was defining a philosophical vocabulary and a conceptual lexicon. Aristotle & Plato were philosophers who were responsible for the finest systems of logic in the ancient world, and Aquinas went to translations only recently obtained in his lifetime to evaluate and use those things that were helpful in understanding & formulation terms and ideas in new ways.

    This is sort of like my borrowing the word “detente” which doesn’t make me French. Detente is a useful word and we don’t have a better word for activity it describes. Aquinas did not adopt Plato’s religious views. He did examine them and take conceptual frameworks and words from them.

    This was acceptable because in the course of history, there have been many religions & philosophies that have not been thoroughly true, but within them are proto-truths, partial truths. Example: The human sacrifice of the Mayans speaks of sacrifice for atonement. Human sacrifice is wrong and completely incompatible with Christianity . But it’s a proto-version of the Sacrifice of Christ which makes sense in a primal human way. We understand it because sacrifice and atonement go together; it’s been placed in our beings by God.

    Of course, Aquinas knew this because he knew Scripture.

  171. midwestlady says:

    And don’t you think for a minute that the Jews didn’t learn anything but retribution during the Babylonian captivity. They learned from watching the Babylonians who God was not. The Babylonians had a naturalistic pantheon much like the Greek one, but with even more depraved and weird characters. If you get out your Concordance and spend time on it, you’ll find that these weird characters end up as parodies of evil, depravity & limitation in the Scriptures. This is a great example of the use of a proto-religion in understanding Judaism. [And later Christianity too, because we use the Old Testament!]

    Note that it’s a contrast and not a blend of the two religions, though. A blend of the Babylonian and Jewish religions would have been an abomination, having the worst properties of each and none of the redeeming features of Judaism, which is founded on the Shema: Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord is Our God……

  172. Henry Karlson says:

    As I have already explained, Plato and Aristotle promoted religious belief in contradiction to Christianity (reincarnation in Plato, for example). Aristotle was routinely denounced by early Fathers for his teachings. However, Thomas shows one can be an Aristotelian and a Christian, despite the problems found in Aristotle. To say “it’s philosophy” ignores the religious nature of Aristotle’s teachings (and a pagan religious nature). Again once one realizes this, one begins to see the method to engage a pagan religious philosophy and how to be a Christian doing so (and in such a way to even consider themselves under the tradition of that pagan religious tradition, i.e., Platonist and Aristotelian, or, Buddhist in modern explorations).

    I have yet to see significant or deep understanding of Buddhism. You act as if what is in Taiwan is univocal: it is not. This is basic. I won’t even get into the comparative analysis, because it would require study at a level which is impossible to do in blog commentaries.

  173. midwestlady says:

    No. You are changing the question. I didn’t say “promote.” I said “explain.” Look at my post if you don’t believe me.

  174. midwestlady says:

    And in fact, if you look at the cluster of posts just below this one, you’ll find that when another religion is used in reference to Christianity, it’s always used as a contrast or precursor to Christianity, not as a blend with Christianity. It’s a huge distinction.

    For our Scriptures say, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-3)

    Everything hinges on the nature and existence of the Christian God and on the nature and existence of the human person in Christianity. Everything. And Christianity is not an ESCAPE, far from it. It’s the exact opposite of an escape.

  175. Henry Karlson says:

    One last time – Jerome was explaining Christianity using the Buddha. Plain and simple. Now I am done with you. I have done what you asked and you try to change the discussion so as to act like I didn’t. Sorry, doesn’t work. It’s quite clear, you don’t want to engage an honest discussion.

  176. midwestlady says:

    Okay, now you’re just arguing about trivialities because I gave you not only the local version but the commonalities all Buddhists share.
    And Plato and Aristotle were philosophers, first and foremost, so we can stop splitting hairs about that too.

    If you want to go on believing that you can lump religions together cafeteria-style and get something coherent out of it, of course I can’t stop you and that’s fine with me. This is the internet after all, and I don’t even know you.