Sr. Brink, O.P.: Moving past Christ, the Church, as a Sojourner.

The following is only a portion of Sr. Brink’s speech before the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (2007) national conference.  The remainder of her talk may be seen at the link at the bottom of this post.  The comments in red are mine:

The dynamic option for Religious Life, which I am calling, Sojourning, is much more difficult to discuss, since it involves moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.  [Beyond Christ?  To political?]  A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. [It is ideological?]  It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy [What?] in all of creation.

Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian. [The Redeemed World that knows Christ will never be “post-Christian.”]  When religious communities embraced the spirit of renewal in the 1970s [Is this when the problem commenced? Is this the spirit that St. Paul speaks about in 2 Thess. 2?]  they took seriously that the world was no longer the enemy, that a sense of ecumenism required encountering the holy “other,” and that the God of Jesus might well be the God of Moses and the God of Mohammed.

The works of Thomas Merton encouraged an exploration of the nexus between Eastern and Western religious practices. [Thomas Merton may have tried to synthesize the East and West but it was not his intent to “move beyond Jesus.”] The emergence of the women’s movement with is concomitant critique of religion invited women everywhere to use a hermeneutical lens of suspicion when reading the androcentric Scriptures and the texts of the Tradition. [It gathered a sense of rebellion.]  With a new lens, women also began to see the divine within nature, the value and importance of the cosmos, and that the emerging new cosmology encouraged their spirituality and fed their souls.  [Is this the “new cosmology” of a ‘new age,’ and sees humankind as on par with creation?]

As one sister described it, “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women. They still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel, but they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Judaism, Islam and others hold similar tenets for right behavior within the community, right relationship with the earth and right relationship with the Divine. [Do they truly believe in Christ?  All traditions have some truth attached to it; but it is full in Christ?] With these insights come a shattering or freeing realization—depending on where you stand. Jesus is not the only son of God.  Salvation is not limited to Christians. Wisdom is found in the traditions of the Church as well as beyond it.  [With all this, why do we need Christ?  Why not the Gospel of the New Cosmology as embodied in the Earth Charter?]

  “The Marginal Life: Pursuing Holiness in the 21st Century” byLaurie Brink, O.P.; LCWR Keynote Address, Kansas City, MO, August 2, 2007.



Truth in charity.

The lay members of the Order of Preachers in the Western Dominican Province have new officers effective today, Wednesday, August 20, 2008, including Tony Galati, OPL as president of the Lay Provincial Council [I give a ‘virtual’ bow to, and continually pray for, Karen Woods, OPL, outgoing president of the LPC, for her years of hard work and attention to the Idaho Dominican Laity].  I was appointed by the executive committee of the LPC as the new promoter of peace and justice.

My prayer is to serve that purpose nobly with an eye for excellence in effort and charity, but clarity and with truth.   I will not always meet that goal but I ask you assist me in that direction.

I invite you to explore this blog.    I have tried to articulate my concern and many other people’s concerns.   At the same time, it is a personal education for me and I hope for you.    The purpose here is to aid all concerned to seek the Truth in key issues, to allow prudence and discernment be exercised where possible, to point out higher moral situations, and to facilitate the right judgment and good order in developing and working on peace, justice, and stewardship issues–with all of this in charity.

With this end in mind, a key aid in that endeavor is the following link to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, a key document in the study of social justice issues, issues hierarchy, the moral and practical implications, and other matters.  Look here:

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Over the next few weeks, it is my hope to explore the study of Cosmology, the study of the movement of the heavenly bodies in the universe.  Why Cosmology?  First, many in the Order of Preachers are calling for an integration of a “new” Cosmology into the theology of the Church, ranking creation and the environment on par with humankind.     We are called to be good stewards of creation, but ranking the material world with humankind negates the reality of the metaphysical, the nature of humankind as body and soul, and the doctrine of original sin.    Second, frankly, it is an effort to try and understand the meaning and purpose in this new effort to amend the Church’s teachings.     Finally, this call for a “new” Cosmology is where the spiritual battle is raging.  There is a deep divide among Catholic people over these matters.  It has found a home in the Dominican Order.

The real concern of social justice efforts should be focused on true human concerns, including the poor, the suffering, the enslavement of people, the ravages of war, and most notably, the killing of kids in the womb and of the disabled, the infirm, and the dying. 

If you wish to make comments, please click on the comments button and go for it.  If you wish to contribute a post, send it to me at my chapter’s email address: chapter[“at sign”]   You are welcome to do so and I will post all reasonable comments.   In our spiritual father, St. Dominic,  Peace & faith, John


A Catholic Perspective on the Environment.

The key to conservation of the environment is to remember that the environment is not a habitat for a mystical-based polytheistic religion and fog-headed residents, but to remember that is in the order of creation, that God made all creation out of nothing, that He made humankind first in the order of creation, and that it is humankind’s duty to be good stewards of God’s creation and the environment.  This link  explains it well:

Ten Covenants of Conservation

The key here is more about the relationship of humankind to creation, than we trying to set creation on par with humankind.  As the note states:


Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, offered 10 principles drawn from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Here is an abbreviated version:

1. The human being, created in God’s image, is placed above all other earthly creatures, which must be used and cared for in a responsible way.

2. Nature must not be reduced to a utilitarian object of manipulation, nor absolutized or placed above human dignity.

3. Ecological responsibility involves the entire planet in a common duty to respect a collective good, for present and future generations.

4. In dealing with environmental problems, ethics and human dignity should come before technology.

5. Nature is not a sacred or divine reality, removed from human intervention. Thus, human intervention that modifies some characteristics of living things is not wrong, as long as it respects their place in the ecosystem.

6. The politics of development must be coordinated with the politics of ecology, and every environmental cost in development projects must be weighed carefully.

7. Ending global poverty is related to the environmental question, remembering that the goods of the earth must be shared equitably.

8. The right to a safe and clean environment needs to be protected through international cooperation and accords.

9. Environmental protection requires a change in styles of life that reflect moderation and self-control, on a personal and social level. That means moving away from the logic of consumerism.

10. Environmental issues also require a spiritual response and a greater awareness that the created world is a gift of God.