Barbara Marx Hubbard gets a voice over at the National Catholic Reporter here. She says she is making a response to Cardinal Muller. The problem is, she doesn’t give a response to Cardinal Muller at all. Instead her article is not much more than a load of sentimental mumbo jumbo about “conscious evolution” along with her bibliography.
Here is a sample:
Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as “whole-makers,” risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions.
For me, the most vital source of meaning of conscious evolution is the Catholic understanding of God and Christ as the source of evolution, as its driving force as well as its direction. As Ilia Delio puts it, we experience in evolution the Emergent Christ and God Ahead.
And so forth and so on.
If you want the lowdown on Barbara Marx Hubbard and her creepy connections with New Ageism go here. I discovered more about here when she gave the keynote to the conference of LCWR (which stands for Liberal Crackpot Women Religious) two years ago. Now it seems the LCWR have adopted her as their neo prophetess and her writings have achieved a kind of gospel authority for them.
Just what did Cardinal Muller have to say about Hubbard and “conscious evolution”? You can read his full comments on the LCWR crisis here, but here are his trenchant comments on Barbara Marx Hubbard:
For the last several years, the Congregation has been following with increasing concern a focalizing of attention within the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution. Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. Issues of Occasional Papershave been devoted to it. We have even seen some religious Institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from Conscious Evolution.
Again, I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language. The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.
My concern is whether such an intense focus on new ideas such as Conscious Evolution has robbed religious of the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia. To phrase it as a question, do the many religious listening to addresses on this topic or reading expositions of it even hear the divergences from the Christian faith present?
This concern is even deeper than the Doctrinal Assessment’s criticism of the LCWR for not providing a counter-point during presentations and Assemblies when speakers diverge from Church teaching. The Assessment is concerned with positive errors of doctrine seen in the light of the LCWR’s responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life. I am worried that the uncritical acceptance of things such as Conscious Evolution seemingly without any awareness that it offers a vision of God, the cosmos, and the human person divergent from or opposed to Revelation evidences that a de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred.
I do not think I overstate the point when I say that the futuristic ideas advanced by the proponents of Conscious Evolution are not actually new. The Gnostic tradition is filled with similar affirmations and we have seen again and again in the history of the Church the tragic results of partaking of this bitter fruit. Conscious Evolution does not offer anything which will nourish religious life as a privileged and prophetic witness rooted in Christ revealing divine love to a wounded world. It does not present the treasure beyond price for which new generations of young women will leave all to follow Christ. The Gospel does! Selfless service to the poor and marginalized in the name of Jesus Christ does!
Then the weasly National Catholic Reporter parades a shallow piece of self serving propaganda from Barbara Marx Hubbard herself as a “response”. Her response was nothing more than more of the same waffly neo-Gnostic mumbo jumbo. She made no response to Cardinal Muller because she was not able to. She has neither the intellectual training or gravitas to do so. She’s a flaky old gal who has dipped into too many new age books from the Oprah book club as far as I can make out.
At least there was one lucid statement in Hubbard’s NCR article:
She wrote, “I am neither a Catholic nor a theologian.”
Anthony Esolen over at The Catholic Thing nails it: go here.