Red flags are up!

On the writings of Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

He writes and speaks on things of a Œspiritual nature¹ and defines spirituality in his book *The Holy Longing* as what we do with the fires inside of us, about how we channel our eros*.



 Attached please find a little review on Fr. Rolheiser's writings.  See

 what you think. Perhaps they are not documented enough?  His writings are

 not authentic Roman Catholic but those of the 'other' sort that calls

 themselves Catholic. Unfortunately this kind is in many stations of

 religious life.


 I was speaking to a director of religious ed at my new parish.  She

 warned me that I might not like sponsoring a person into the Church or

 coming to RCIA because they like to present all sides,even the most

 "liberal" because we all come together at the Eucharist. Father Rolheiser

 definitely agrees with that!  She is right in that I could not be silent

 in the face of heterodoxy and indeed must not be. If all this liberal,

 feminist, new-age, gnostic junk can be presented and all are forced to

 'tolerate' it, then why can't Marian Devotions and Adoration of Jesus in

 the Blessed Sacrament also be presented--that is if all sides are truly



 Evil can only be overcome with good we know from Holy Scripture and from

 Pope JPII. I hope to further adoration and other true devotions in my new

 parish.  My home parish is in a state of great disarray. I am still

 coordinator of the hours of adoration there but can no longer teach there

 (I am a Marian Catechist).  But my diocese is proudly 'american catholic'

 and I am sure you understand what I mean by that. It is not easy to be a

 Roman Catholic here!


 But we do the best we can and pray for change and for holiness to win

 out.  A number of the dissenters listed on Our Lady's Warriors have been

 invited to my diocese and paid for by diocesan funds. I give directly to

 the parish office because my money cannot go to sponsor dissent.


 Let me know what you think of the review .



What I see in a cursory search is that this priest was a presenter at the infamous 'religious education' conference that is held in LA every year.  I looked at his website and see the picture of him, a nice looking man in civil, not clerical, attire. In skimming an article on St. Therese he compares her to Teilhard de Chardin!

He has not a clue!  My gut feeling is not too good.  He appears to be a very popular lecturer and writer of a sort of spirituality that is like that of a cross-less Christ.  He writes about another author thus:


To die in a good way, she states, is not a question of whether or not death catches us in a morally good moment or a morally bad one (dying drunk in a bar as opposed to dying in a church). Rather, to die a happy death is to die in honesty, without pretence, without the need to lie about our lives.


Red flags are up!

Ave Maria!


There is one more area that I could comment upon in Fr. Rolheiser's works

 and it is something that I see in the  "liberal" religious in my area too. They do not seem to believe in the supernatural or in miracles.


Those things are pooh-poohed or ignored.


In Fr. Rolheiser's writings on St. Therese (tormented on her celibate cot)

 he writes of her illness calling it a severe depression when she was a

 child and her sisters were going to Carmel.  What he does not mention is

 how she came out of that and that occurred when she saw Our Lady smile.

 Yes, the novenas and prayers of her family were heard by Our Lady and

 from her statue--now known as the Lady of the Smile- the smile of Our

 Lady cured the little Flower.  Father does not seem to have noticed that.

 In his book "The Shattered Lantern"" he writes :...nor is the road back

 that of miracles, apparitions, inexplicable healings, Marian apprearances

 and extraordinaty religious experiences.  Yet, I am here to tell you that

 my reconversion some 11 years ago occurred at the hands of Our Lady,

 Queen of Peace, at Medjugorje.  But I have heard our 'progressive'

 religious attack all miracles and scripture; for some reason they cannot

 accept these tings of heaven. Nor could the scribes and pharisees of Our

 Lord's time with the miracles before their eyes. So sad.





Red flags are up!

On the writings of Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

He writes and speaks on things of a Œspiritual nature¹ and defines spirituality in his book *The Holy Longing* as what we do with the fires inside of us, about how we channel our eros*.


Fr. Rolheiser is a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  He is a lecturer and writer with a weekly column that is carried in more than 50 newspapers worldwide.  He is the author of numerous books as well. He has been a priest for 28 years.


Fr. Rolheiser has been a speaker at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference that is conducted yearly and that is where I first encountered his name.


He writes and speaks on things of a Œspiritual nature¹ and defines spirituality in his book ³The Holy Longing² as ³what we do with the fires inside of us, about how we channel our eros². 


Finding that definition a little confusing, I went to the dictionary and the definition of eros is: the aggregate of pleasure-directed life instincts whose energy is derived from libido and another definition is that eros is: love directed toward self-realization.




The Œchanneling of eros¹ does not seem to be in line with a spirituality as taught and understood by the Roman Catholic faith. Father Rolheiser that how we channel that fire is our spirituality and compares the burning of the spiritual fires in Mother Teresa, Janis Joplin and Princess Diana. 


One of those truly is a model for authentic spirituality and has been beatified by the Church but the other two do not show great promise for leading souls to union with God. 


Father¹s writings include writing of Œspirituality of sexuality¹ and says this of celibacy: "...when Christ went to bed at night he was in real solidarity with the many persons who, not by choice but by circumstance, sleep alone... Anyone who because of unwanted circumstances is effectively blocked from enjoying sexual consummation is a victim of a most painful poverty... To sleep alone is to be poor. To sleep alone is to be stigmatized... outside the norm for human intimacy and to feel acutely the sting of that... when Jesus went to bed alone he was in solidarity with that pain, in solidarity with the poor².  


Fr. Rolheiser also written of St Therese:  Therese was, by nature, a very lonely personŠshe lived celibate and single in a monastery within which there were long periods of silence and the rules forbade most kinds of intimacy and contact.  Her loneliness was more of a moral natureŠit is in this deep inner place that we ultimately feel most alone.


More deeply than we long for a sexual partner, we long for moral affinityŠour deepest longing is for someone to sleep with morally.


This preoccupation with the supposed sexual spirituality of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of St. Therese is certainly something to give concern. Father goes on to write of St. Therese as she ³slept alone on her celibate cot² that ³she was, as are all restless persons, tormented by constant yearning.²


I never got that sense that this dear Saint was ³tormented² and certainly not because she slept celibately and alone! Yes, she is the Saint of desires but as St. Augustine said of the knowledge of God, ³Our souls are restless until they rest in You².  The desires and restlessness are met in the knowledge of God.  Our Lord and many of His dear saints were not Œblocked¹ from sexual consummation! 


Rather they gave totally of themselves and the nuptial meaning of their bodies to God for the furthering of the Kingdom of God.



In another area, Father writes about his four pillars that support a Œhealthy marriage of Christianity and spirituality¹.  They are: private prayer and private morality (whatever that is), social justice and mellowness of heart and spirit.  Contrast that to the four areas of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the common area being prayer. The other pillars cited in the Catechism are the Profession of Faith based on the Apostles Creed, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery based on the Sacraments and Life in Christ based on the Commandments and teachings of the Church.


Father Rolheiser asks in one writing what does it mean to Œlose one¹s soul¹?  Not eternal damnation, he suggests. but it is to become Œunglued¹ or to fall apart. 

³When I don¹t know where I am going, then I lose my soul.


This is what Jesus meant when He asked, ³What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his soul.²? 


This reviewer can see where to come unglued might mean the loss of peace but the loss of the eternal soul is something totally different and Jesus meant what He said when He said that the loss of the soul that meant eternal damnation was the greatest loss of all.


In another recent writing from July 10, 2005 Fr. Rolheiser writes that ³We commit the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit when we live so long inside of a lie that our soul can no longer recognize truth or forgiveness. That¹s why Martin Luther  warned:  ŒSin honestly¹. In John¹s Gospel, Jesus doesn¹t talk about the sin of the Holy Spirit. But gives its lesson instead in reverse. He tells us that the SINGLE condition to enter the Kingdom, to go to Heaven, is to refuse to lie, even if we are weak and sinful².  All of this seems to fly in the face of the Beatitudes!  Is it not possible for an Œhonest¹ person who commits all sorts of crimes and sins to come to damnation?


There are uncountable Œspiritual¹ writers in this day and age. One who is a priest and who has lived Holy Orders for many years and who had many years of training to enter that Sacrament, does command a certain respect based on those facts alone. Such a person is deemed credible and perhaps as a guide to help souls in the seeking of God and in the Catholic sense because he is a priest.  Yet the Œspirituality¹ that Father writes of is of his own thought and making and not in keeping with the science of spiritual direction so long established in the Roman Catholic Church. There is a great deal of self-introspection and not enough looking to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, for fulfillment. There is not the seeking of the graces Our Lord merited on the Cross for our salvation and the means of living in that state of grace so as to be pleasing to God.  Much talk of categories of loneliness or a nebulous spirituality does not guide anyone to Truth. And Truth is more than just not the telling of a lie. The need to accept all that Jesus revealed to us through the Apostles and through the Church He founded does not seem to carry weight but rather we can figure things out for ourselves with our categories and gnostic knowings. 


This reviewer cannot recommend the writings of Fr. Ronald Rolheiser for those interested in authentic Catholic spirituality and searching to know Jesus Christ, the Savior. Authentic prayer and devotions, meditations on the Passion, the reading of Holy Scripture and frequent reception of the Sacraments will be, by far, the better investment of time.


Sr. Joseph Mary Maximilian, FTI