By Kathleen Brown, Palm Harbor, Florida
Copyright 1998 - All Rights Reserved.
(Permission obtained to distribute on Our Lady's Warrior website)
This is a partial listing of errors that were found in the Leaders Manual 1 and 2 of the RENEW 2000 program. This program bears the imprimatur of The Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick, DD, Archbishop of Newark.
On page 123 of Leaders Manual - 1 is a quotation from Sacrosanctum Concilium, #7, which is quoted out of context when it says:
"Vatican IIs Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states: Jesus "is present in his word, since it is he himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in church. He is present, finally when the church prays and sings, for he promised, Where two or three are gathered together for my sake, there I am in the midst of them" (SC 7).
The entire beginning of paragraph 7 was omitted and this omission is key to understanding the chronic error that is present in this program. The portion of paragraph 7 that was omitted is as follows:
"To accomplish so great a work Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross," but especially in the eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes."
On pages 133-134 of Leaders Manual - 1, there is the first of three "creeds". The Leader says:" For us, the act of faith expresses our fundamental conviction in worship. The more that we hear and live out the confession of faith, the more our lives will be transformed in Christ. Let us dare to affirm our faith." (Note: This is "Creed" #1.)
"All: We believe in a continually creating God who calls us to costly love that goes beyond seventy times seven and even the infinity of modern computers.
"We believe in a continually healing Holy Spirit who calls us always to open our lives to the renewing power of love.
"We believe in the continually caring community called the church which is the physical presence of Christ in our world.
"We believe in a continually growing relationship between ourselves and God which is not ended even by death."
"Adapted from Women and Worship
by Sharon Neufer Emswiler and Thomas Neufer Emswiler
Harper & Row, New York, 1984, pp. 79-80"
The second "creed" is on page 142 where the participants are instructed by the Leader: "Let us together affirm some of our beliefs and their implications for the world in which we live." After reciting the "creed" the Leader says: "I invite you to share beliefs about the church that are important in your life. " (Note: This is "Creed" #2)
"All: I believe in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
I believe that behind the clouds of life shines the love of God.
I believe that God has a purpose for the world and a purpose for me.
I believe that God wills the blessedness of all lives and of every single life.
I believe that Jesus Christ saves life from the power of sin and sorrow and death.
I believe in the life-giving power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that through faith and prayer and sacrament I can life the life that is life indeed.
I believe that God calls me to love and service.
I believe that through Christ life leads at last to the fullness of goodness, truth and beauty.
I believe in the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit."
"From Women and Worship
by Sharon Neufer Emswiler and Thomas Neufer Emswiler
Harper & Row, New York, 1984"
The third "creed" is on pages 20-21 of Leaders Manual - 2. The Leader says: "We are a people who have been baptized into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Let us profess our faith." Page 20 -- "Profession of Faith:" (Note: This is "Creed" # 3)
"All: I believe in the living God, the parent of all humankind, who creates and sustain the universe in power and in love.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God incarnate on Earth, who showed us by his words and work, suffering with others, and conquest of death, what human life ought to be and what God is like.
I believe that the Spirit of God is present with us now and always, and can be experienced in prayer and forgiveness in the Word, the Sacraments, the community of the Church, and in all that we do. Amen."
"From Women and Worship
by Sharon Neufer Emswiler and Thomas Neufer Emswiler
Harper & Row, New York, 1984"
Each of these three "creeds" is lacking a full expression of the Catholic Faith. They are all defective, by omission and content. A striking omission is the failure to reference the belief in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The "church" is rarely Church. Now "church" is community. These "creeds" are examples of the "leveling of the hierarchical authority" and, hence, the teaching and ruling authority of the Church. It is interesting that the source of all three "creeds" is WOMEN & WORSHIP by Sharon and Thomas Neufer Emswiler who are both ordained United Methodist ministers.
Immediately following the third "creed" is a concluding prayer followed by a "Blessing with Water" (see page 22, Leaders Manual - 2) in which a representative from each small group is asked to come forward to receive a bowl of water. The Leader says: "Return to your small group and with water bless the person to your right by signing them with water and the cross on the forehead or the hands or the lips while saying, "I bless you with water, remembering our common baptism." Each one will bless the person to his or her right until each person has been blessed."
Again, a similar situation occurs on pages 40-41 of Leaders Manual - 2 entitled, "Anointing with Oil". The text says: "Hold up the pitcher of oil while saying the following: " (a lengthy prayer follows). The instruction continues: "(Pour oil from the glass pitcher into the small bowl. Ask each person in the group to anoint with oil the person to his or her right. The sign can be a cross on the forehead. While anointing, each person may say: "I anoint you with oil as a sign of Gods strength and healing.")"
In both of these cases, it is as if the lay people are attempting to imitate the actions of priests, and, in the case of blessing the oil, the bishop. This is a leveling of the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ in favor of and in confusion with the priesthood common to all the baptized. It is also a leveling of the teaching, ruling and sanctifying authority of the Church.
One of the notable observances in these texts is the "leveling of the sacred" and the redefinition of terms. An example of the latter has already been given in the redefinition of Church to be "community". Later in the text the term community refers not to Catholics but to "all", when the small group prays in the section entitled Mission and Eucharistic Sacrifice - Leaders Manual - 2 (Pages 91-95): "So let us prepare to eat and drink as Jesus taught us: inviting the stranger to our table and welcoming the poor. May their absence serve to remind us of the divisions this eucharist seeks to heal. And may their presence help transform us into the Body of Christ we share." (page 95). Here the "community" transforms us into the Body of Christ not the Holy Eucharist as the Catholic Church teaches.
Another example is the failure to capitalize words which appear as follows: eucharist, savior, incarnation, church, and Spirit or Spirit-guided rather than Holy Spirit. The text exclusively uses inclusive language that is forbidden for both catechesis and liturgy.
The authors have even taken the liberty to change the name "Father" to "O God" or "God" in prayers from the Sacramentary of the Roman Missal on pages 57 & 143 of Leaders Manual 1 and page 67 of Leaders Manual 2.
There are several gatherings devoted to "spirituality" and "prayer" and the point is made that, "Authentic spirituality in the fast-moving world of the post-Vatican II era often includes a conscious effort to integrate prayer and action." (Leaders Manual -2, page 127). The very next section deals with "Feminist Spirituality" and "the feminine aspect of God," pages 130-132. These same pages also deal with "ecologically sensitive spirituality" and even states on page 132 that "certain truths embodied in feminist spirituality and an ecologically sensitive spirituality must necessarily be a part of the spirituality of all Christians." The section concludes with the statement: "Those who have profound insights into the depths of those truths and who understand their spiritual significance can help all believers to understand more fully the presence of God in life." Page 132: Here some unnamed "Those" with "profound insights" and "who understand" are set up as the authority, not the Catholic Church. There is no indication who will determine what is "profound" and the nature of the "spiritual significance". It appears that the authority of the Church has been eliminated in favor of "those".
Included in this section on "spirituality" is prayer and the various types of prayer. On pages 115-120 of Leaders Manual - 2 a type of prayer is introduced that make one "more aware and more present to the moment" page 115. The technique below is from Father Anthony de Mello and his book entitled, "Sadhana, A Way to God":
"Becoming More Aware and More Present in the Moment"
"Take up a posture that is comfortable and restful. Close your eyes."
"I am now going to ask you to become aware of certain sensations in your body that you are feeling at this present moment, but of which you are explicitly aware. Be aware of the touch of your clothes on your back, or of your back touching the back of the chair you are sitting on. Now be aware of the feel of your hands as they touch each other or rest on your lap. Now become conscious of your thighs or your buttocks pressing against your chair. Now the feel of your feet touching your shoes. Now become explicitly aware of your sitting posture."
"Now move on to the awareness of your breathing. Become aware of the air as it comes in and goes out through your nostrils. Do not concentrate on the air as it enters your lungs. Limit your awareness to the air as it passes through your nostrils."
"Do not control your breathing. Do not attempt to deepen it. This is not an exercise in breathing but in awareness. So if your breathing is shallow, leave it that way. Do not interfere with it. Observe it."
"I want you to reflect now that this air that you are breathing in is charged with the power and the presence of God. Think of the air as an immense ocean that surrounds you, an ocean heavily colored with Gods presence and Gods being. While you draw the air into your lungs you are drawing God in."
"Be aware that you are drawing in the power and presence of God each time you breathe in. Stay in this awareness as long as you can"
"Notice what you feel when you become conscious that you are drawing God in with each breath you take."
"While you breathe in, be conscious of Gods Spirit coming into you. Fill your lungs with the divine energy the Spirit brings"
"While you breathe out, imagine you are breathing out all your impurities, your fears, your negative feelings."
"Imagine you see your whole body becoming radiant and alive through this process of breathing in Gods life-giving Spirit and breathing out all your impurities"
"Stay with this awareness as long as you can without distractions"
"Exercises from: Sadhana. A Way to God by Anthony de Mello
Image Books, A Division of Doubleday & Co., Inc.
Garden City, N Y, 1984 (pp. 15-16, 26, 36-37)"
This entire exercise is foreign to anything Catholic. It is worth noting that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a NOTIFICATION and EXPLANATORY NOTE in which Fr. De Mellos writing are deemed "incompatible" with Catholic Faith by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
On pages 147-150 of this same text is "The Prayer of Directions". It is partially printed here:
"Leader: Let us face the north with arms outstretched and palms opened to receive the blessings of the Spirit.
"Reader 1: Oh, Great Spirit of the North, we come to you and ask for the strength and the power to bear what is cold and harsh in life. We come like the buffalo ready to receive the winds that truly can be overwhelming at times. Whatever is cold and uncertain in our life, we ask you to give us the strength to bear it. Do not let the winter blow us away. Oh Spirit of Life and Spirit of the North, we ask you for strength and for warmth."
"Leader: Let us face the east with arms outstretched and palms opened."
"Reader 2: Oh Great Spirit of the East, we turn to you where the sun comes up, from where the power of light and refreshment come. Everything that is born comes up in this direction the birth of the babies, the birth of the puppies, the birth of ideas and the birth of friendship. Let there be the light. Oh Spirit of the East, let the color of fresh rising in our life be glory to you."
"Leader: Let us face the south with arms outstretched."
"Reader 3: Oh, Great Spirit of the South, spirit of all that is warm and gentle and refreshing, we ask you to give us this spirit of growth, of fertility, of gentleness. Caress us with a cool breeze when the days are hot. Give us seeds that the flowers, trees and fruits of the earth may grow. Give us the warmth of good friendships. Oh Spirit of the South, send the warmth and growth of your blessings."
"Leader: Let us face the west with arms outstretched."
"Reader 4: Oh, Great Spirit of the West, where the sun goes down each day to come up the next, we turn to you in praise of sunsets and in thanksgiving for changes. You are the great colored sunset of the red which illuminates us. You are the powerful cycle which pulls us to transformation. We ask for the blessings of the sunset. Keep us open to lifes changes. Oh Spirit of the West, when it is time for us to go into the earth, do not desert us, but receive us in the arms of our loved ones."
"Leader: Let us look up and raise our arms toward the heavens.
"Reader 5: Oh Great Spirit of all that is Above, of everything that soars, of all that flies, of all high vision, all that is above the earth, we honor you and glorify you for the power that you are. Lift our minds and our hearts above the earth so that they may never be afraid of great heights and of looking like the eagle high across the land. Oh Spirit of all that is Above, put us on the wings of spirit travel so that we may know this world."
"Leader: Let us place our arms at our sides and look down at the earth."
"Reader 6: Oh Great Spirit of all that is Below, of all that pulls us to deeper places, to the depths of ourselves, we turn to you in the memory of all that goes down. We ask you to give us the strength and the courage to face death. When people leave us in this life to share life with you, let there not be a grief that is untrue. When we experience losses and changes in our lives, let us see them as your revelation. Oh Spirit of all that is Below, purify us."
"Leader: Let us face the center and extend our hands, palms outward to rest in the palms of the persons on either side of us."
"Reader 7: Oh Great Spirit of everything that is Center, of everything that is free, we come to you with gratitude. We thank you and bless you for being with us, for calling us to be centered within ourselves. Remind us that it is only from this center that we reach out to others. Breathe through us that your work of justice may be done. Oh Great Spirit of everything of the heart and everything that is mystery, send us forth to walk a way of beauty and holiness. Open our hearts to friendship. Oh Spirit of everything that is Center, never let us forget that you are the center of hope."
"Prayer of Directions" by Diann L. Neu
(Leader parts are adapted.) WATERwheel
Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1988 Silver Spring, MD"
This section contains a statement on page 147, that "the prayer forms of different traditions are helpful". This is a dangerous and open-ended statement.
It is very curious that in all of this discussion of prayer there was not one reference to praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and, indeed, in the entirety of Leaders Manual - 1 and 2, there is absolutely not one reference Eucharistic Adoration. I found only one reference to praying the rosary. There was not one reference to the intercession of the saints and certainly no reference to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. These "traditionally Catholic" methods of prayer were struck from the texts in the continuing effort to level the Sacred and anything that resembles "authentic Catholic spirituality".
SCRIPTURE AND INERRANCY
1. "The earliest gospel, that of Mark, was set down in writing around 70 A. D.; those of Matthew and Luke around 85 to 88 A. D.; and that of John toward then end of the first century." Page 13, Leaders Manual - Book 1
2. "The gospel according to Mark was written around 70 A. D. It is generally believed that Marks gospel was the first written gospel." Page 42, Leaders Manual - Book 1
DENZINGER - 2159 "Whether, with respect to the chronological order of the Gospels, it is right to withdraw from that opinion which, strengthened equally by the most ancient and continued testimony of tradition, testifies that Mark was the second in order to write and Luke the third, after Matthew, who was the first of all to write his Gospel in his native tongue; or, whether their opinion, which asserts that the Gospel was second and third before the Greek version of the first Gospel, is to be regarded in turn as in opposition to this idea?" -- Reply: In the negative to both parts.
Also see DENZINGER - 2149 which affirms the Gospel of Matthew preceded the other evangelists in his writing, composing it in his native tongue.
1. "In addition to specific moral issues, questions arose concerning general moral principles. Sayings of Jesus were gathered in groupings. These sayings were so frequently repeated as a unit that they were eventually seen as a composite that would one day be written as a single event, for example, the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7)." Page 15, Leaders Manual - Book 1
2. "The most famous discourse in Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount. It is obvious that these are collections of Jesus teachings, listed for reading and reflection, rather than sermons actually delivered by Jesus." Page 47, Leaders Manual - Book 1
DENZINGER - 2159 "Whether that opinion of certain moderns can even with some probability be sustained, according to which Matthew did not properly or strictly compose the Gospel such as has been handed down to us, but only some collection of the words or conversations of Christ, which another anonymous author had made use of as sources whom they make the redactor of the Gospel itself. - Reply: In the negative."
DENZINGER - 2153 "Whether from the fact that the author of the first Gospel or, also whether, it can be affirmed that the accounts of the accomplishments and discourses of Christ, which are read in the Gospel itself, have undergone a kind of alteration and adaptation under the influence of the prophets of the Old Testament and the status of the more mature Church, and so are by no means in conformity with historical truth? -- Reply: In the negative to both parts."
1. "The author of Matthews gospel was a skilled writer with a keen theological mind. He used Marks gospel as well as other sources in crafting his particular gospel. The apostle Matthew was not the author, and biblical scholars offer varied testimony as to why the gospel is named after Matthew." Page 47, Leaders Manual - Book 1
DENZINGER - 2148 - "Whether after noting the universal and constant agreement of the Church from the earliest times, which is clearly shown by the eloquent testimonies of the Fathers, the inscriptions in the manuscripts of the Gospels, even the most ancient versions of the Sacred Scriptures, and the catalogues handed down by the Holy Fathers, the ecclesiastical writers, the Highest Pontiffs, and the Councils, and finally the liturgical practice of the Eastern and Western Church, it can and should be affirmed with certainty that Matthew, the Apostle of Christ, is in fact the author of the vulgate Gospel under his name? -- Reply: In the affirmative.
1. "The issue of "inspiration" is closely related to that of the truthfulness of the Bible, sometimes referred to as the "inerrancy" of the Bible. Is everything contained in the Bible the absolute truth? "If we review some of our previous discussions, we have to answer "No."Page 103, Leaders Manual - Book 1
DENZINGER - 2186 "By the doctrine of Jerome those statements are well confirmed and illustrated by which Our predecessor, Leo XIII, solemnly declared the ancient and constant faith of the Church in the absolute immunity of Scriptures from any errors; "
MIRACLES AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS:
1. "The challenge to the believers has not changed. No amount of scholarship can prove that the miracles attributed to Jesus did or did not happen." Page 31, Leaders Manual - Book 1
2. "One interpretation of this passage says that there was enough food because everyone shared whatever food they had and that was the miracle. Eucharist calls us to share what we have. Bearing this interpretation in mind, consider the following questions within your groups." Page 94, Leaders Manual - Book 2.
DENZINGER - 1813 "4. [The demonstrability of revelation]. If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, and hence that all accounts of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be banished among the fables and myths or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them; let him be anathema [cf. n. 1790].
1."As an observant Jew, Jesus celebrated the Passover, the feast of exodus/covenant. He came to understand the significance of this feast in relationship to his own life." Page 81, Leaders Manual - Book 1
2."He received a call (perhaps most powerfully experienced at his baptism) to enter into a mission as defined by his Fathers will." Page 124, Leaders Manual - Book 1
DENZINGER - 2035 "35. Christ did not always have the consciousness of His Messianic dignity." -- This is a condemned statement. "Lamentabili," July 3, 1907.
1. "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Mt. 16:18) was at the heart of a tradition that was firmly established in the Christian community of the first century." Page 138, Leaders Manual - Book 1
Jesus Christ established the Office of Peter and his successors, not the Christian community of the first century.
1. "Community is at the heart of the life of the church." Page 113, Leaders Manual - Book 1
The Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ, is at the "Heart" of the life of the Church.
1. "Thomas Berry, in the book Befriending the Earth, speaks of the necessity of the exodus of the "earth community" from an age marked by the rapid evolution of mammals, birds, and plants to a new era of "mutually-enhancing human-earth relationships." Berry believes that in this new exodus, "the human community and the natural world must enter the future as a single sacred community or they will both perish in the desert." Page 82, Leaders Manual - Book 1
While it is true that Leaders Manual 1 and 2 quote several Church documents, many of these quotes are taken out of context. Furthermore, it does happen when, for example, "Dei Verbum" is quoted, that the actual teaching presented in the RENEW 2000 program is contradictory to what has been cited, thereby skewing the meaning of the quoted Church document.
It is worth noting that, although the Catechism of the Catholic Church is referenced in the bibliography, there is not one direct reference to the Catechism in either Leaders Manual 1 or 2.
DENZINGER, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 13th Edition of Henry Denzingers Enchiridion Symbolorum