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Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye, no. 3

by Matt Abbott

Militant vs. Moderate Islam?

From an e-mail sent by Dave Heimlich...

"I asked a close friend of mine, an ex-Muslim woman who is now a born-again Christian, what she thought about the theory that makes a distinction between moderate and radical Islam. My friend was born in Pakistan and has lived in Syria, Jordan, the United States and England. She said that theory is baseless, that there is no distinction, no matter how peaceful and friendly some Muslims may appear. Some may not be violent, but the objective of all Muslims is the same, because it is the central feature of the religion. The same dark impulses reside in the hearts of all followers of Mohammed, she asserted.

"In these days when pluralism and tolerance are considered the highest ideals, criticizing a religion is taboo. This is a taboo we must break. If we do not objectively examine what Islam is about, refute its falsehoods, and denounce its dangers, we are allowing an insidious influence free reign in our midst.

"'Moderate' Islam is as much a threat as radical Islam, perhaps more so, because it attempts to gain power surreptitiously. Jihad is a requirement to all Muslims, but in nations where they do not possess sufficient power to immediately attempt to take control, the approach is different. It is official Muslim doctrine that in those cases, power must be seized gradually, through conventional and accepted means, until such time that violent Jihad becomes a possibility."

The perfect "model" of a liberal priest

From a long-time Catholic activist who wishes to remain anonymous...

"Alchemy is a medieval form of chemistry aiming chiefly at discovering methods to turn baser metals into gold. Fr. Patrick Brennan, pastor of the Holy Family Community, situated in the affluent neighborhood of Inverness, IL, appears to be an expert at homiletic 'alchemy' as time and again he presents scriptural passages, mixed with interesting and sometimes amusing personal stories, adding a touch of psycho-babble and seductive granules of dissent, to weave his agenda of 'change' and schism as he looks to the future of the Church. His sermons may sound very much like gold, only to the naďve and untrained ear. Mostly to those in his congregation who agree with Brennan's agenda.

"Take for instance his talk on January 25, 2004, recorded from his WJMK radio program 'Horizons' which he jointly hosts with his Pastoral Assistant, Religious Program Director, and long-time associate, Dawn Meyer.

"Brennan's theme starts with the inter-connectivity of the human body and a story about his struggle with rheumatoid arthritis; and how he has shunned the pills that could alleviate some of the symptoms (he keeps them 'in his pocket') because he fears allergic reactions to the drugs. He cites the readings for that Sunday from 1 Cor. 12 - St. Paul's analogy of the Church as 'one Body'; each part gifted in a unique way, having a specific role to play. When one part of the body is diseased, it will influence the whole 'Body' of the Church.

"Ms. Meyer brings in the present problem of the Church's recent sex scandals. She states that significant problems were overlooked for years and now we have a huge issue for those in the 'Body.'

"Brennan adds that he thinks we are still dealing with only the symptoms of the problem and not the core dysfunction or illness. He cites Eugene Kennedy's book, 'The Unhealed Wound' which suggests that the Church is suffering from 'unresolved stuff' about human sexuality. We have distorted the truth about human sexuality and it is affecting the priesthood and how we use power in the Church ministry. Brennan states that there is a misogyny or 'anti-female' feeling in the Church - women are held in a lesser position than men. All areas of society have changed in this regard - the Church still holds on to its old ways.

"Meyer also adds the question: Doesn't the Church also look down on those who are un-ordained? [Ms. Meyer has openly discussed her feelings about married priests and that she thinks that many women are called to Holy Orders and are being held back by the Church's present policies...even though the Vatican has announced the subject of women's ordination to be closed.] She, too, thinks we are talking about power and sexuality. She doesn't think that the Holy Spirit is used to foster power to manipulate and control people.

"Brennan agreed. The Church places much emphasis on office and position as their criteria. The Church is walking around with 'pills in its pocket.' The Church has to get beyond symptoms to seriously analyze - what is it that ails us?

"Meyer: Until we can confront and acknowledge that there are a lot of things wrong, we will never begin to heal. Many of our people need help and are so disillusioned.

"Brennan repeats his prognosis - it is wrong ideas about human sexuality, power and office. We must look at the present Church system as merely 'human development.' We need to demythologize, and exorcise this disease. We need to analyze and strategize we need to plan. We need to call the Healing Power of God for the New Millennium so that we can be 'freed up to evangelize.'

"But, Meyer asks, 'How do you undo 2000 years of history?' She is reading 'The Da Vinci Code,' which she acknowledges is a fictional work. It brings out the idea of how those in power tried to protect themselves, keeping secrets, etc. 'Maybe Jesus didn't say it was going to be only twelve guys? Maybe this power mechanism is not what Jesus wanted?' 'We need to find a voice in challenging what has been established for 2000 years.'

"Brennan than asks, 'How did the Berlin Wall fall? People said, 'No More!' More people have to find their voice and challenge some of what's been going on these past centuries. What keeps lay people from giving voice?

"Meyer: There are a lot of things that keep people in a position of fear to speak out.

"Brennan feels the Church is in denial. He urges that people must say that we are not going to tolerate this anymore. We need pockets of strong people to voice what's wrong, where do we need to go? He points to the Church in Europe, which has become populated by only 'elderly women.' Those who love the Church must 'save' the Church.

"Pastor Brennan has been a long-time member and leading spokesperson for the dissenting 'Call to Action' group and has developed a chapter of the controversial group 'Voice of the Faithful' at Holy Family Parish. When Fr. Brennan's radical ideas have been questioned, the response received from his Bishops is that 'Fr. Brennan is a priest in good standing in the Archdiocese of Chicago.'"

And so it goes...

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Matt Abbott - Author, 000 000-0000



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