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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/7/14

The Roman Catholic Bishops Need to Be Exorcised -- and Thereby Freed from Their "Shadow" Spirits

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) August 7, 2014: Garry Wills, a skillful verbal matador, has tried to finish off the Roman Catholic bishops and their ridiculous claims about distinctively human life supposedly starting at the moment sperm fertilizes an egg. But thus far he has not succeeded. Evidently, their thought-world is an impenetrable alternative reality.

Certain professional Roman Catholic theologians have tried to penetrate the impenetrable thought-world of the bishops. See, for example, Margaret A. Farley's book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (2006) and Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler's book The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic [Theological] Anthropology (2008). Nevertheless, the thought-world of the bishops remains an impenetrable alternative reality based on their pre-modern tradition of thought.

So what will it take to finish off the hard-charging bishops and their ridiculous claims? No doubt an extremely powerful exorcist will have to emerge to cast out all the "shadow" spirits possessing the Roman Catholic bishops -- and their gullible Catholic followers as well as other gullible orthodox Christians. For example, an efficacious exorcist would be needed to free the bishops from their captivity with their natural-law moral theory, with its pronounced anti-body spirit. (Concerning certain other Roman Catholic theocons, see Damon Linker's book The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege [2006].)

Now, Rob Kall, the publisher of OEN, clearly prefers to talk about bottom-up change -- instead of talking about top-down change. Even imagining that an efficacious exorcist could exorcise the bishops might sound to him like I am advocating top-down change of the church. So a word is in order here about possible bottom-up change of the church.

Simply stated, bottom-up change of the church is not likely to happen as long as the bishops, the authority figures in the church, are captivated with their natural-law moral theory. So even if people at the bottom were liberated from the church's natural-law moral theory, they would not be able to change the church, because the authority figures would not allow the people at the bottom to change the bishops' church. Besides that, the people at the bottom of the church who are liberated from the church's natural-law moral theory would probably just leave the church. In any event, bottom-up change in the church is not likely to happen.

(Disclosure: I come from a Roman Catholic background. For about eights years (1979-1987), I was in the Jesuits. However, for many years now, I have not been a practicing Catholic. Today I would describe myself as a theistic humanist, as distinct from a secular humanist.)

The revelation of Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra about the anti-body tendencies in historical Christianity, for example, is anathema to the Roman Catholic bishops because they are captivated with the anti-body views in their natural-law moral theory.

In recognition of his perceptive revelation about the anti-body spirit in historical Christianity, Nietzsche deserves to be honored as a Christian saint.

However, in part, the bishops have not learned anything from Nietzsche's perceptive critique of the anti-body spirit in historical Christianity because they have understandably been distracted by the famous (or from their point of view, infamous) proclamation made by Nietzsche/Zarathustra their supposed monotheistic deity to be dead -- whatever that means.

But instead of getting defensive about the proclamation of the death of God by Nietzsche/Zarathustra, the bishops and other orthodox Christians who believe in the Christ myth -- the greatest story ever told -- should not balk at the death of God proclaimed by Nietzsche/Zarathustra. After all, in the orthodox Christ myth, the death of Jesus, the supposed God-man, is the pivot in to the greatest fictions ever told about the historical Jesus -- in the Christ myth.

So the Roman Catholic bishops and other orthodox Christians should be able to roll with the punch delivered by Nietzsche/Zarathustra and say, "Just as Jesus the Christ died but then he re-appeared in his resurrection, so too the death of God that you proclaim will be followed by the resurrection of God in a renewed Christianity -- freed from the centuries-old anti-body tendencies of historical Christianity."

Alas, alas, the Roman Catholic bishops cannot even imagine the possibility of renewing Christianity by revisiting the centuries-old anti-body attitudes in their Tradition of natural-law moral theory -- or any of the numerous other "shadow" spirits possessing the Roman Catholic bishops and their gullible followers -- and other gullible orthodox Christians.

Let me be clear here about the spirits that I am referring to here as "shadow" spirits. I am referring to the various "shadow" forms of the four masculine and the four feminine archetypes of maturity that Robert L. Moore (Ph.D., University of Chicago, the Jungian theorist at the Chicago Theological Seminary identifies. He identifies two bipolar "shadow" forms that accompany each of the eight archetypes of maturity -- 16 "shadow" forms that I am here referring to as "shadow" spirits that influence the Roman Catholic bishops and their gullible followers -- and other gullible Christians as well.

Now, in the centuries-long Christian tradition of thought, it has long been customary to work with the sharp bipolar contrast of good versus evil. For the purposes of that old bipolar contrast, "evil" is defined as "not good" -- the contradictory opposite of the good.

Now, in Moore's way of referring to the array of 16 "shadow" spirits in us that influence and move us in certain directions that at times can be unhealthy, the so-called "shadow" forms of the eight archetypes of maturity are not exactly good. However, because they are so common, they usually are not characterized as "evil" -- unless they become extremely strong tendencies, in which case they may be judged to be "evil" and unhealthy -- and perhaps pathological.

Whew! I am not saying that the Roman Catholic bishops are "intrinsically evil" -- to use one of their favorite terms, based on the old contrast of good versus "evil." They are not exactly "intrinsically evil." But they are intrinsically motivated by "shadow" forms of the archetypes of maturity -- as are all humans. This is part of the human condition.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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