Ho’oponopono–I Love You–I’m Sorry–Please Forgive Me–Thank You

Simple Steps to Healing: Ho’oponopono

I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You
by Dr. Joe Vitale

Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients – without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.

When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?

It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t logical, so I dismissed the story.

However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho’oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn’t let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.

I had always understood “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We’re responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.

His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal.

“After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,” he told me. “Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.”

I was in awe.

“Not only that,” he went on, “but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work.”

This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: “What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?”

“I was simply healing the part of me that created them,” he said.

I didn’t understand.

Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life – simply because it is in your life – is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.

Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.

This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy – anything you experience and don’t like – is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change you.

I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho’oponopono means loving yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone – even a mentally ill criminal – you do it by healing you.

I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients’ files?

“I just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ over and over again,” he explained.

That’s it?

That’s it.

Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. This time, I decided to try Dr. Len’s method. I kept silently saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance.

Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn’t take any outward action to get that apology. I didn’t even write him back. Yet, by saying “I love you,” I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

In short, Dr. Len says there is no out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice it to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there’s only one place to look: inside you.

And when you look, do it with love.
Note: This article on ho’oponopono is edited from the book Zero Limits by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Len. You can listen to Joe talk about his experience with Dr. Len and ho’oponopono along with his involvement with the inspiring movie, The Secret, on News for the Soul by clicking here. He starts talking about Dr. Len and ho’oponopono at minute 15 in this highly engaging one-hour interview.

Dr. Len’s message may be quite hard to believe, yet it’s amazingly simple. He states that we are all responsible for everything that we see in our world. By taking full personal responsibility and then healing the wounded places within ourselves, we can literally heal ourselves and our world. As related by Joe Vitale in the radio interview, Dr. Len suggests a four-stage process for this ho’oponopono work. Whenever a place for healing presents itself in your life, open to the place where the hurt resides within you. After identifying this place, with as much feeling as you can, say the below four statements:

  • I love you.
  • I’m sorry.
  • Please forgive me.
  • Thank you.

For several inspiring articles on the ho’oponopono process, see the official ho’oponopono website. Even if you are skeptical, consider giving this simple healing method a try to see what happens. Many have found it to be incredibly profound in their lives. And for a powerful online lesson which brings this all home, click here. Thanks for taking the time to read this story and may your life open to ever more healing and miracles. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

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Folk Life News: How the Arts Work Cross Culturally. Orpheus in Japan? Unmasking the Trauma. Saving Mosul’s Cultural Heritage

Folklife Friday: Orpheus in Japan, Saving Cultural Heritage in Mosul, and More

Folklife Friday is a new weekly digest of arts and culture articles, podcasts, and videos from across the web curated by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Read on for a selection of the week’s best cultural heritage pieces, and don’t forget to check back next Friday for a new set of weekly picks.

Orpheus in Japan
Last October, audiences gathered at a shrine in Kamakura for the premiere of Japan Orfeo, a reinvention of Monteverdi’s opera with Western and Japanese performers. The idea for the project emerged when directors Aaron Carpenè and Stefano Vizioli noticed the parallels between the myth of Orpheus and that of Izanagi and Izanami. The project, as Carpenè and Vizioli explain, is laying the foundations for nuanced intercultural dialogue. In fact, the duo began their intercultural collaborations with Preston Scott, curator of the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s program Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Why We Need to Fight to Save Mosul’s Cultural Heritage
Situated at a critical historic juncture, Iraq’s second largest city is home to hundreds of mosques, churches, shrines, holy sites, graveyards, libraries, and museums—all under increasing threat of ISIS attacks. In this piece, Katharyn Hanson, an archaeologist and fellow at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, and Richard Kurin, Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research, discuss their work with experts training locals to protect Mosul’s historic sites.

Queens Has More Languages than Anywhere in the World—Here’s Where They’re Found
In Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro chart the rich linguistic diversity of New York City, where as many as 800 languages are spoken—nowhere more so than in Queens. Among the languages mapped are Greek, Filipino, Urdu, Indonesian, Russian, and more. “The capital of linguistic diversity, not just for the five boroughs, but for the human species, is Queens.”

‘The Refugees’ Author Says We Should All Know What It Is to Be an Outsider
For author Viet Thanh Nguyen, moving from South Vietnam to San Jose, California, was a study in empathy, place, and identity. In this interview, Nguyen reflects on his new book, The Refugees, and his struggle as an immigrant to define a sense of self. “You have to wear a different face when you’re interacting with the larger culture,” Nguyen explains, “and you can be more of yourself at home, or in the local market, or in the local church, speaking your own language.”

Unmasking the Trauma: A Look at Research on Mask Making as a Creative Arts Therapy
For service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, arts therapy in the form of mask making may pave the way to recovery, according to Girija Kaimal, assistant professor at Drexel University. “In the seemingly unique experiences of an individual lie universal aspects of the human experience,” Kaimal writes, paraphrasing Jerome Bruner. Through these masks—themselves a symbol of our humanity—patients are able to express their unique interactions with the world, both as individuals and as community members.

Special thanks to Elisa Hough, Meredith Holmgren, James Deutsch, and Amalia Cordova for their contributions to this week’s digest. Got a suggestion for next week’s digest? Email it to Angelica Aboulhosn.

Staying in the Light when It Gets Dark

 

 

All Major Religions and Faith Paths believe that there is a field of positive energy every individual has that waits for human beings to engage in it.The Times we are living in are asking us to Play on this Field of Energy;To Embrace it; To Give it a Chance to Empower Us; To give it a chance to Love us Back.  We must choose to interact with it.  We choose to let the Light in and Let it Light us up.

There have always been people who want us to believe we live in dark times, but it is there way to MANIPULATE, AND  keep human beings who believe in the Light.

Leaders when they turn to the darkness of manipulation believe that they have more power than they do.  They are like two year old children.  The people turn into the grown-ups and demand the Light.

Seek Beauty, Count every blessing;  Allow yourself to be moved to dance and sing and shout and celebrate.  March on the Playground of Life.  Stay in the Light.

Swing your arms, Skip your steps. Set yourself free from habits and addictions that don’t support the freedom to be blessed as a Child of God.

This is not to deny what is going on…It is choosing not to participate in the Darkness.

 

THE PINK PAPERS: Models of Women of Power : Silence Kills the World

St. Catherine of Siena: “Cry [out] as if you have a million voices, it is silence that kills the world.”

Catherine of Siena reminds us that our mission as Christians is not only to comfort the afflicted, but to afflict the comfortable for justice, human rights, peace and equality in our church and world today. 

 A fourteenth century mystic activist, Catherine became involved in some of the major political and ecclesiastical controversies of her time. This included feuds between the papacy and the city states, the return of the papacy to Rome, the reform of the Church and the great Schism. She was immersed in high stress conflicts and had a long to do list!

Statue of St. Catherine at Met, NY, photo by Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP

Many of us can identify with Catherine’s over the top agenda.
 As I try to get some perspective on the hot button issues today, I think Catherine is a mentor. She went deep into her soul and, there found a passion for God that ignited her healing and prophetic ministry.
In my book, Praying with Visionary Women, I wrote:

“Today more than ever we need to live with integrity, integrating prayer and action in our lives so that we can be effective instruments of truth and justice in our world. Prayer grounds us in the immensity of God’s love. As we experience being loved deeply, passionately, we  become on fire with love for others- family, friends, neighbors, strangers. We become mystic activists, like Catherine, speaking out, taking risks and doing whatever God calls us to do.” (Meehan, Praying with Visionary Women, pp. 58-59)

I believe that our spiritual energy wells up from within, in the depths of infinite love, we are embraced and filled with every gift and blessing we need to be a reflection of God in our lives.  St. Paul reminds us that “we can do all things in God who strengthens us.” Romans 8:28.

 

I/we pray: “In your love, O God, I/we have the power to do whatever you are calling me/us to do!”

The time to cry out for justice and equality with a million voices is now!

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

LIGHT From LIGHT:Celebrating Oscar Romero Words from El Salvador

 LIGHT from LIGHT

A Christian Community is evangelized in order to evangelize.

A light is lit in order to give light. A candle is not lit to be put under a bushel, said Christ.  It was lit and put up high in order to give light to others.

That is what a true community is like.

A community is a group of men and women who have found the truth in Christ and his Gospel, and who follow the truth. And who join together to follow it more strongly.

It is not just an individual conversion, but a community conversion.  It is a family that believes, a group that accepts God.  In the group, each one finds that the brother or sister is a source of strength and that in moments of weakness they help one another and, by loving one another and believing, they give light and example.

The preacher no longer needs to preach, for there are Christians who preach by their own lives. 

I said once and I repeat today that if, unhappily, some day they silence our  radio, and don’t let us write our newspaper; each of you who believe must become a microphone, a radio station, a loudspeaker, not to talk, but to call for faith.

I am not afraid that our faith may depend only on the archbishop’s preaching;     I do not think I am that important.  I believe that this message, which is only a humble echo of God’s word, enters your hearts, not because it is mine, but because it comes from God.

                                          –Archbishop Oscar Romero–The Violence of Love

 (1917-1980) became Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977.  He gained renown as a prophetic voice of the poor and was ultimately martyred at the altar while saying Mass.

Mohandas Gandhi: What Christians can Learn from The Great Soul from India

 

 

I have the privileged of volunteering occasional Sundays at a local Youth State Prison.  By liturgical “coincidence” I was asked to reflect on the Christian Beatitudes one day before remembering the assassination of Mohandas Gandhi, The Great Soul of India who changed how human beings see themselves.  Below you will find my reflections.  I hope you find them interesting.

The Beatitudes—January 29, 2017–Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Scriptures: Zep2: 3, 3:12-13–1Cor 1:18-31–Matthew 5:1-12

There are not many scriptural passages more familiar, yet more perplexing to us than the Beatitudes? We continue to get sideswiped with their rigorous honesty, yet most Christians continue to live our lives like we never heard them before.Many a religious person has observed that even though the world has had the Great Sermon, and the Christian ethic for over 2,000 years, we have come no nearer to achieving it and putting it into practice than Jesus’ disciples on that mountain that day.  Perhaps the Sermon remains a dream or vision because the plain truth is;

That the Christian ethic is completely impossible without the Christian Action that goes with it .

In other words, we Christians like so many other religious people have yet to close the great gap between “We ought” and “ We can”.  The fact is that we can do nothing to realize the ought of the Christian challenge without a real Commitment to Jesus whose grace can empower and enable us to do so.   It goes something like this:  When we commit to Christ we become his disciples.  When we become disciples, we are called to create BELOVED, BLESSED Communities wherever we are.  But we have a problem, We live in the United States of America and our new president and those who serve him and elected him are not practicing the formation of Beloved, Blessed Communities.

Let’s face it, if the beatitudes were written to accurately reflect the predominant values of the United States today, they just might read:

  •  Blessed are the powerful, for they shall control others.
  • Blessed are the movers and the shakers, for they shall make things happen their way.
  • Blessed are the strong, the young and the beautiful, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are the winners, for they shall be lauded and applauded.
  • Blessed are the affluent, for they shall have what they need and want.
  • Blessed are Americans, for they shall live in God’s country.
  • Blessed are those in authority, for they shall possess all power and ALL truth.

I believe that our readings today help us to understand that The Power we have in our discipleship of followers of the One God.  We live in world that has turned outside down in terms of the teachings of Jesus.  As Christians we know that Truth will be revealed to us eventually…But in the meantime, we are called to spend our spiritual lifetimes making choices that are contradictory and paradoxical.

  • As a people, the Beatitudes challenged us to live out of our vulnerability not our fears; to be willing to acknowledge and touch our weaknesses; to embrace parts of ourselves that our culture tell us we ought to eliminate.
  • We are called to have poverty of the spirit in a culture that encourages us to accumulate everything we can:
  • To be meek in an age where position and prestige are fashionable;
  • To show mercy only when it makes interesting news to publicize other’s sins and flaws;
  • To make peace when we are urged to make war.
  • To keep promises and covenants with one another when we are urged to live by our own needs, wants, and fantasies.
  • No wonder many of us give up on God or give up on ourselves and our search for God—it is very difficult to live in this contradiction…..Our physical, mental and emotional lives suffer in our struggle with the “We ought and the We can.”

 On January 30th, we will be remembering the death of Mohandas Gandhi, the Great Soul of India.  He led the Indian movement for independence and did more than any person in history to advance the theory and practice of non-violence.  His influence on world affairs is infinite.  Yet, he posed a special challenged to Christians.

Here he was a Hindu who politely rejected the dogmatic claims of Christianity while embracing with great consistence the ethical claims of Jesus and the teaching of the Beatitudes.  For Gandhi, the non-violent struggle for independence was deeply spiritual, and not necessarily political. He believed in the identity between means and ends, and he approached each campaign as an experiment in truth, and effort to realize God’s will on earth.  We ought and We Can became One goal.

Dr. Deacon Grandma–Cynthia W. Yoshitomi–January 29, 2017

Values to Live by in These Times..Wisdom from the Black Christian Church

 

We Must Continue the Moral Resisting Together…Bring the Children..Bring the Grandparents…

DARKNESS CANNOT DRIVE OUT DARKNESS;
ONLY LIGHT CAN DO THAT.
HATE CANNOT DRIVE OUT HATE;
ONLY LOVE CAN DO THAT.
HATE MULTIPLIES HATE,
VIOLENCE MULTIPLIES VIOLENCE,
AND TOUGHNESS MULTIPLIES TOUGNESS
IN A DESCENDING SPIRIAL OF DESTRUCTION…
THE CHAIN REACTION OF EVIL–
HATE BEGETTING HATE,
WARS PRODUCING MORE WARS–
MUST BE BROKEN,
OR WE SHALL BE PLUNGED INTO THE DARKNESS OF ANNIHILATION.-
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King

http://www.breachrepairers.org/moralresistance

Community Organizers Meeting in Modesto California in February 2017

 Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican
by Dennis Sadowski

Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican

“Pat Campbell-Williams, co-founder of MOSES, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, in Detroit, right, tells a person she met October 19 at the city’s Rosa Parks Transit Center about early voting for the 2016 election. She will be one of 600 people from grass-roots organizations planning to attend the U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 16-19 in Modesto, Calif. (Credit: CNS photo/courtesy Jacob Bolton, MOSES.)
Pope Francis changed her outlook.
Campbell-Williams, 60, co-founder of MOSES – Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, rooted in the city’s churches – had the chance to hear the pope in November at the Vatican when he addressed the most recent gathering of the World Meeting of Popular Movements.
Pope Francis applauded the work of several hundred people from more than 60 countries working in grass-roots organizations of the poor, the underemployed, indigenous communities and farm workers. His words energized the longtime activist.
“It’s what I’ve been working for in all of my life, grass-roots organizing,” Campbell-Williams told Catholic News Service, “and to have the pope to be in the forefront of what we’re doing is just amazing. We’ve got a man of God that’s pushing things. The fact that he’s doing this got me excited.”
Campbell-Williams will be one of 600 people – whom the pope calls protagonists, meaning people facing everyday struggles – from throughout the United States attending a regional World Meeting of Popular Movements February 16-19 in Modesto, California.
The meeting is co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program; and PICO National Network, which engages in religious congregation-based community organizing.The U.S. meeting is being planned at the request of Pope Francis. Cardinal Peter Turkson, dicastery prefect, will attend the meeting and address the delegates.  More than 20 U.S. bishops also are expected to attend and participate in plenary and small-group sessions over the four days, said Ralph McCloud, CCHD executive director.Campbell-Williams said hearing from people of different faith traditions from around the world in November was inspiring and expects the same in California.

“I learned that we all are going through basically the same things around the world,” Campbell-Williams said. “We didn’t understand that until we told our stories and came together in solidarity to talk about it. That was amazing to just hear everybody tell their story in their language. It connected all of us to the same stories. We’re all basically dealing with the same issues.”

Dominican Sister Cheryl Liske, executive director of Gamaliel of Michigan, one of the organizations that will be represented at the meeting, said it is folks like Campbell-Williams whom the pope has in mind when he calls the church to move beyond charitable acts to accompany people on society’s margins.

“Church people in general, we get charity. We don’t get the Gospel message about justice. Our bishops, like the rest of us, are in that same mix. The important thing is that the bishops in Modesto, California, interact with the folks. They (grass-roots people) get the Gospel message right there on the ground, that this is about the widow and the orphan and the alien among us,” Cheryl said.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, is hosting the four-day gathering at Modesto’s Central Catholic High School. Co-hosts are California Bishops Jaime Soto of Sacramento and Armando X. Ochoa of Fresno.

Modesto, located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, was chosen because of the economic and social challenges facing the region’s diverse population, meeting organizers said.

Blaire told CNS he wanted to learn from community representatives so the diocese could work more closely with similar local organizations.

“When you haven’t worked with community organizers, you have to do a little rethinking. A lot of people said movements in the church are supposed to be spiritual movements. I said to them, ‘There are many spiritual movements, like the folks living the real experience.’ We have to hear them and listen to them and accompany them,” the bishop said.

“I think it will be very important as the church that we listen because if we want to evangelize and bring the Gospel into the community, we have to hear what the community is saying,” he added. “We have to hear from the people themselves who are suffering. We can’t sit in our positions and think we can analyze all the poverty and suffering out there.”

Belinda Snead of Lexington, Kentucky, also is to be one of the grass-roots people attending the meeting. A leader in Building a United Interfaith Lexington Through Direct-Action, or BUILD, Snead told CNS there is no better way to learn about organizing successes and failures than by discussing her experiences with others.

“We all come from different parts of the country so everybody has a different dynamic that prevents them from getting something accomplished, from moving forward,” Snead said. “My goal is to go out and learn from others how they develop strategies on combating injustices.”

That’s exactly why the Vatican wants a U.S. meeting, McCloud said.

“First and foremost (the meeting) is to acknowledge the economic inequality that exists among the haves and have-nots” while examining the reasons people struggle because of unequal access to work, land and housing, he explained.

“(The meeting) acknowledges all of these things exist and to help bring people together who have been working on these, to understand there’s a connection between all of them and look at ways they might be able to work together,” McCloud told CNS.

Immigration and racism also are to be among topics explored, organizers said.”

WE WERE MADE FOR THESE TIMES

 

Please ENJOY THIS AFFIRMING STORY BY CLARISSA PINKOLA-ESTES

“My friends, do not lose heart.  We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.”…..Read more…From Pacifica University Alumni Magazine.

http://www.pgiaa.org/made-times-clarissa-pinkola-estes/

 

Idol Conformity or Idle Conformity? The GIFT of the Thoughtful Non-Conformist

Although this is directed at Roman Catholics it is an excellent reflection on circumstances world wide today.

IDOL CONFORMITY  by John Churchman

To create anything at all in any field,

and especially anything of outstanding worth,

requires nonconformity, or a want of satisfaction with things as they are.

The creative person

— the nonconformist —

may be in profound disagreement with the present way of things,

or he may simply wish to add his views,

to render a personal account of matters.

To remain an accepted member

of the Roman Catholic Church,

I would have had to shed my non-conformity,

and hence my creativity.

But I had no really vested interest in the Church’s status quo. The only vested interest— or one might say, concern —which I do have in the present way of Church things rests in my ability to observe them, to assimilate the multifarious details of reality and to form some intelligent opinion about them.

I maintain an attitude at once detached

and yet deeply involved.

Detached, in that I view the Church with an outer and abstracting eye.

Contrasts in Church life move constantly across my field of vision

— tensions between the grotesque and the sad,

between the contemptible and the much-loved;

tensions of such special character as to be almost imperceptible;

dramatic, emotional situations within the most banal settings.

Only with a detached eye am I able to perceive the properties

and qualities of these things.

Within such contrasts and juxtapositions

lies the very essence of what Church life is today, or any day.

To know this and capture its essential character

I must maintain such a degree of detachment.

But, I never fail to be involved

in the joys and the desperations of Churchgoers,

for in them lies the very source of feeling

upon which my writing is based.

My feelings,

always specific and never generalized,

have their own vocabulary of things I experience.

It is because of these parallel ideas

of detachment and of emotional involvement

that I have become a critic of Institutional Roman Catholicism

and so often voice my disgust for its abuse of people.

It is likely why I am nonconformist in my personal life.

The deadening effects of over-conformity in the Church

are well understood.

Yet, when it comes to the matter of just what kind of nonconformity

shall be encouraged,

liberality of view recedes

and disappears.

There seems to be no exact place in the Roman Catholic way

where nonconformity can be fitted in.

Without people of outspoken opinion,

however,

without critics,

without visionaries,

without the nonconformist,

any Church, whatever its degree of perfection,

falls into decay.

Its habits (even virtues)

inevitably become entrenched and tyrannical;

its controls become inaccessible to the ordinary laity.

Witness the Roman Catholic Church today.

Nonconformity is a basic pre-condition of growth,

as it is a pre-condition of good thinking

and therefore of greatness in a people.

The degree of nonconformity present

— and tolerated —

in a Religion must be looked upon

as a symptom of its state of health.

Again, witness the Roman Catholic Church

today.

To create anything at all in any field,

and especially anything of outstanding worth,

requires nonconformity,

or a want of satisfaction with things as they are.

The creative person

— the nonconformist —

may be in profound disagreement with the present way of things,

or he may simply wish to add his views,

to render a personal account of matters.

To remain an accepted member

of the Roman Catholic Church,

I would have had to shed my non-conformity,

and hence my creativity.

 

But I had no really vested interest in the Church’s status quo.

The only vested interest

— or one might say, concern —

which I do have in the present way of Church things

rests in my ability to observe them,

to assimilate the multifarious details of reality

and to form some intelligent opinion about them.

I maintain an attitude at once detached

and yet deeply involved.

Detached, in that I view the Church with an outer and abstracting eye.

Contrasts in Church life move constantly across my field of vision

— tensions between the grotesque and the sad,

between the contemptible and the much-loved;

tensions of such special character as to be almost imperceptible;

dramatic, emotional situations within the most banal settings.

Only with a detached eye am I able to perceive the properties

and qualities of these things.

Within such contrasts and juxtapositions

lies the very essence of what Church life is today, or any day.

To know this and capture its essential character

I must maintain such a degree of detachment.

But, I never fail to be involved

in the joys and the desperations of Churchgoers,

for in them lies the very source of feeling

upon which my writing is based.

My feelings,

always specific and never generalized,

have their own vocabulary of things I experience.

It is because of these parallel ideas

of detachment and of emotional involvement

that I have become a critic of Institutional Roman Catholicism

and so often voice my disgust for its abuse of people.

 

It is likely why I am nonconformist in my personal life.

The deadening effects of over-conformity in the Church

are well understood.

Yet, when it comes to the matter of just what kind of nonconformity

shall be encouraged,

liberality of view recedes

and disappears.

 

There seems to be no exact place in the Roman Catholic way

where nonconformity can be fitted in.

Without people of outspoken opinion,

however,

without critics,

without visionaries,

without the nonconformist,

any Church, whatever its degree of perfection,

falls into decay.

Its habits (even virtues)

inevitably become entrenched and tyrannical;

its controls become inaccessible to the ordinary laity.

Witness the Roman Catholic Church today.

Nonconformity is a basic pre-condition of growth,

as it is a pre-condition of good thinking

and therefore of greatness in a people.

The degree of nonconformity present

— and tolerated —

in a Religion must be looked upon

as a symptom of its state of health.

Again, witness the Roman Catholic Church

today.

 

–JOHN CHURHMAN