By Efrain Cortes
As I stepped out of my vehicle and began approaching the doors that would lead me into dissident territory, I found myself offering up an inward prayer.
A bumper sticker on the back of a car caught my eye as I Glanced around the parking lot for a familiar face.
The bumper sticker read:
"Waiting for a sign from God? Here it is, ordain women."
That's when it occurred to me - no matter how many times I come across this type of incoherent babble in the Lexington diocese, I must admit that I am stunned by it every single time.
I am stunned by the ignorance, I am stunned by the pride, and the arrogance of it all, and I am stunned by the number of Catholics (however small that number might be) that buy into it.
As I came ever closer to those entry doors, I could not help but wonder what awaited me on the other side. Who would I find on the other side of those doors, who would be there taking in all of the distortion, and invention, how many unsuspecting Catholics would this invited speaker infect with her heresy!
As I reached for those doors I wondered if I would find any priests present, would I be accosted and told I could not record the event as I had planned?
I could feel that nervous, sinking feeling within me starting to arise. I wondered if this was the same feeling that St. Paul and all those who came after him experienced every time they entered into a new town to proclaim and defend the Catholic faith.
I prayed for their intercession in obtaining for me the necessary grace needed to imitate their courageous example. All of these thoughts flooded my mind as I opened the doors that led me into the "Lion's Den" - the Newman Center in Lexington KY!
As I walked through the doors, I could see that all were gathered and that the invited, Sr. Christine Vladimiroff, was soon to be introduced.
To my disappointment, I noticed Father Tom Farell in the back of the hall. As always, he seemed delighted with the attack that would soon be unleashed upon Holy Mother Church, and her doctrine! Glancing over at Jesus in the tabernacle, and inwardly reciting another prayer, I entered into the main hall, and found a seat - tape recorder in hand!
The Newman Center fellow Catholics, perhaps the most dissident parish in the diocese of Lexington KY.
This is where Call to Action Speakers have been allowed to assault the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church for well over a decade!
This is where the gospel of Christ has relentlessly been desecrated and trampled underfoot by wolves in sheep's clothing! This is where the most notorious of heretics - posing as priests, nuns, monks, and religious who "love" the church have all but destroyed her from within! And this fellow Catholics, is where I found myself on Saturday September 24, 2004.
Yes fellow Catholics, on September 24, in keeping with its anti-Catholic reputation, the Newman Center once again unleashed an all out assault upon Holy Mother Church. And the agent of choice this time around was none other than Sr. Christine Vladimiroff, who was invited as a part of the Newman Foundation's "distinguished speakers series."
Now, there may be some of us who have forgotten exactly who this woman is. But fortunately for us, 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' has not forgotten. You see fellow Catholics, on March 20th of 2001 Sr. Vladimiroff was ordered by the Vatican to exercise her authority as prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie Pa and prohibit Sr. Joan Chittister, a nationally known heretic, and member of Vladimiroff's community, from speaking at the first international conference for women’s ordination groups around the world.
As would be expected from a devout and dedicated dissenter, Sr. Vladimiroff rejected the Vatican's order outright! As a result, Sr. Vladimiroff was instantly regarded as a champion for the rights of women in the church, and was touted as a hero by such dissident groups as Futurechurch, Dignity USA, We Are Church, Womenchurch, Corpus, and the mother of all dissident groups - Call to Action!
In fact, in November of 2002, according to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie website, Call to Action presented Sr. Vladimiroff with the "prestigious" commendation award. In other words fellow Catholics, Sr. Vladimiroff has gained world wide repute among dissident groups because of her disobedience to Rome! But yet, on September 24, at the Newman Center before a "seam busting" crowd of about 60, Sr. Vladimiroff proclaimed:
"I come before you as a woman who loves the church, and who professes public vows."
But it seems that Sr. Vladimiroff has conveniently forgotten that a vow of obedience to Rome is among those vows that she has publicly professed! But you see fellow Catholics, to dissenters such as Sr. Vladimiroff, obedience to Rome is nothing more than a pesky little detail that must be disregarded at all cost.
You see, Sr. Vladimiroff has an agenda that is in complete and total contrast to that of the Roman Catholic Church. In the eyes of Sr. Vladimiroff, to obey Rome would mean to give up on her agenda, and her vision of what she desires the church to become.
This is seen more clearly when one examines Sr. Vladimiroff's own words. Let us see for ourselves what Sr. Vladimiroff had to say During a workshop at the 2002 Call to Action National Conference. Perhaps, in doing so we will obtain a better idea of what Vladimiroff's agenda and vision for the Roman Catholic Church truly is:
"Groups are forming around a gospel concept and calling all of us to insight and action on war, poverty, discriminations, and Church reform. These groups include, Catholic Worker, Pax Christi, Call To Action, Dignity, Future Church, Women’s Ordination Conference, Voices of the Faithful. I believe these are movements of the Spirit, calling us to greater faithfulness in` our vocation as Christians."
You see fellow Catholics, hidden within worthy social justice issues such as war, poverty, and discrimination we find what is Vladimiroff's and every above mentioned groups' true passion - reform! In other words, there is something other than what the Catholic Church is that Sr. Vladimiroff and the above mentioned groups wish the church to become. And what they wish the Catholic Church to become fellow Catholics, is an "inclusive" church that ordains women, a church that allows abortion, contraception, homosexuality - you name it!
This is what Sr. Vladimiroff's and every above mentioned groups' vision of a "reformed" Catholic Church truly is. This is not some well guarded secret fellow Catholics, the above mentioned groups make no excuses for their vision of a "reformed" church. The very names of some of these groups - "Futurechurch," "Womenchurch" lets us in on their diabolical nature.
This is why Sr. Vladimiroff cannot afford to adhere to something as meaningless as a vow of "obedience." It would not be in her best interest to do so because the teaching of the Catholic Church stands in square opposition to everything that Vladimiroff believes in. And yet, the Newman Center has placed her at center stage in order that she might spread her heresy to unsuspecting Catholics!
But ironically enough fellow Catholics, Sr. Vladimiroff does not perceive her "stand-off" against Rome as an act of disobedience on her part. But quite to the contrary, she perceives her defiance of Rome as an act of "Benedictine obedience." In a press release regarding the situation Sr. Vladimiroff made the following statement:
"After much deliberation and prayer, I concluded that I would decline the request of the Vatican. It is out of the Benedictine, or monastic, tradition of obedience that I formed my decision."
But how does Sr. Vladimiroff's distorted view of traditional Benedictine or monastic obedience hold up with Pope St. Gregory the greats' view of obedience?
This is a very important question fellow Catholics. You see, before Gregory the Great was appointed Pope way back in the sixth century, he served for some years as a Benedictine monk, and not only that, but everything we know about St. Benedict comes to us by way of Pope St. Gregory, who learned St. Benedict's works and teachings directly from Benedict's disciples.
St Gregory recorded all he learned about Benedict in what has come to be known as the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great. So How did Gregory the Great, who knew the disciples of St. Benedict personally, and who more than likely learned how to properly exercise the virtue of obedience from them, understand the concept of obedience? Let us find out by taking a look at a letter written by the great pope.
The letter was written to the Abbot Eusebius in the sixth century, It states:
EPISTLE XXXVI. TO THE ABBOT
Gregory to Eusebius, &c. Let thy Charity believe me that I have been greatly saddened for thy sadness, as though I had myself suffered wrong in thee. But, when I afterwards learnt that, even after the most reverend Maximianus, our brother and fellow-bishop, had restored thee to his favour and communion, thy Love would not accept communion from him, I then knew that what had been done before was just. The humility of God's servants ought to appear in a time of affliction: but those who lift themselves up against their superiors shew that they scorn to be God's servants. And, indeed, what he once did ought not to have been done; but still it ought to have been taken by thee with all humility: and again, when he restored to thee his favour, he ought to have been met with thanks. And because it was not so done by thee, I feel that to us in every way there is cause for tears. For it is no great thing for us to be humble to those by whom we are honoured; for even any worldly man would do this: but we ought especially to be humble to those at whose hands we suffer... Wherefore, most beloved son, I beseech thee that all bitterness pass away from thy heart, lest perchance the end should be near, and the ancient foe should, through the iniquity of discord, bar against us the way to the eternal kingdom...
Here we have in this letter a former Benedictine monk who personally knew St. Benedict's disciples, and who understood obedience as it was passed on to him by the discples of he who founded the Benedictine movement, and who as pope clearly expected nothing less than swift and immediate obedience from the Abbot Eusebius (who was perhaps a Benedictine monk).
Take note too fellow Catholics, that Pope Gregory the Great who learned obedience from the disciples of St. Benedict taught:
"Those who lift themselves up against their superiors shew that they scorn to be God's servants."
Pope Gregory the Great further explains that even when ones superior is in the wrong he must humble himself and accept what has been given. This seems to be in line with the teaching of St. Benedict itself, for in chapter 5 of St. Benedict's Rule we find the following:
"The first degree of humility is obedience without delay."
But Sr. Vladimiroff seems to have an unbenedictine view of what traditional Benedictine or monastic obedience truly is. For at the 2002 Call to Action workshop (no place for a true follower of St. Benedict) she explained obedience as so:
"One definition of obedience within the Church, is to imitate the obedience of Christ, "who learned obedience from what he suffered." (Heb 5:8) Yet, just as Scripture teaches that obedience was submission to the will of the Father (Jn 5:30), it cannot be forgotten that Christ’s obedience to the Father was not a servile kind of obedience, but obedience in a community of equals – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
Now, do you see what Sr. Vladimiroff has had to do in an attempt to advance her distorted view of "obedience" fellow Catholics?
In order to advance her view, Sr. Vladimiroff has had to deny the humanity of Christ! You see, it is true fellow Catholics, Jesus because of his divine nature was/is equal to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, but it is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that because of his human nature, Jesus was also fully human! In fact, verse 7 of chapter 5 of the book of Hebrews, the very chapter quoted above by Sr. Vladimiroff, makes this fact absolutely clear when in reference to Jesus Christ, it states:
"In the days when he was in the flesh..."
And Let us also be reminded that as Catholics, we have proclaimed a belief in Jesus' humanity in the recitation of the Nicean Creed since the fifth century, when we proclaim:
"By the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.
So you see fellow Catholics, while it is certainly true that in Christ's divine nature his obedience was an obedience "in a community of equals," it is also true that in Christ's human nature, his obedience was indeed a servile obedience to the Father! But just for the sake of argument fellow Catholics, let us assume that Christ's obedience truly was an obedience "in a community of equals." What then, does Sr. Vladimiroff proppose we do with the following scripture verse?
"He went down with them and came down to Nazareth and was obedient to them..."
(Luke 2:51, emphasis mine)
Now, this verse of scripture describes what took place when Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after he had been lost for three days.
We are told in this scripture verse that Jesus was obedient to them (Mary and Joseph).
Now let us assume, as Sr. Vladimiroff implies, Jesus possessed solely a divine nature, and therefore his obedience was one "in a community of equals."
Does this not then present Sr. Vladimiroff with quite an interesting dilemma? You see, if Sr. Vladimiroff were correct (which she is not), then here we have in Jesus Christ, one who is equal to God the Father and the Holy Ghost, humbling himself in servile obedience to those who are his inferiors. But yet, in Sr. Vladimiroff we have one who professes to be a servant of God, but yet refuses to humble herself in servile obedience to Christ's/God's church - Vladimiroff's superior!
Clearly fellow Catholics, Sr. Vladimiroff's skewed version of "obedience" has no basis in Benedictine or monastic tradition, it has no basis in scripture, and it therefore has no basis whatsoever in Catholic teaching! But yet, this is whom the Newman Foundation considers to be a "distinguished speaker" fellow Catholics, a person who like the great serpent of old boldly declares, I WILL NOT SERVE!
But it gets even better fellow Catholics. According to a sheet that was handed out at the Newman Center, and to the Lexington Theological Seminary's website, Sr. Vladimiroff is president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
This is an organization that 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' has exposed in the past, as an organization who advocates the ordination of women, and who promotes gay and lesbian ministries. But much more disturbing than this fellow Catholics, is the fact that as early as four weeks ago, September 1 2004, Catholic World News reported that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious along with another group by the name of, Major Superiors of Men, put together a conference at which the keynote speaker was former Irish president and United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, an outspoken proponent of abortion as a "woman's right," and an advocate of homosexual rights. At that conference, hosted in part by the Leadership Conference of women religious, Mary Robinson was quoted as stating the following:
"At the start of this new century women were once again struggling to preserve the space they have gained against powerful forces invoking God."
Now fellow Catholics, What kind of "Catholic" organization could ever fathom presenting a keynote speaker who seems to believe that she is at war with forces that invoke God, and who believes that murder is a woman's right? Well, apparently one with Sr. Christine Vladimiroff at the helm. Are we beginning to get the picture? Are we beginning to see the pure evil that is being dispersed from the Newman Center fellow Catholics?
And yet, it does not stop there. As if this were not enough, Sr. Vladimiroff serves as a Pax Christi USA National Council member, she is also a committee member of "Culture of Conversation" yet another dissident group, and she herself has delivered a speech at a Womenchurch conference - any wonder why Sr. Vladimiroff refused Rome's direct order to prohibit Sr. Joan Chittister from doing the same? In other words fellow Catholics, Sr. Vladimiroff is a HERETIC - pure and simple! But the Newman Center does not appear to have any problem whatsoever with inviting her into the Lexington diocese and allowing her to inject her dangerous ideology into the hearts and souls of Lexington parishioners!
At the Newman Center Sr. Vladimiroff implied that the Catholic Church is a "monarchy," she compared the Roman Catholic Church to a "bleak and Baron mountain" in need of "change." The same type of "change" which is advocated by the above mentioned dissident groups! This is the same type of "change" that has left the diocese of Lexington with a self imposed shortage of priests, the same type of "change" that has left the Lexington diocese reeling with homosexual and heterosexual sex scandals, and this is the same type of "change" that has left the Lexington diocese with a shortage of funds. And yet, Sr. Vladimiroff has had the audacity, to simply stroll into the Lexington diocese, and shamelessly advocate more of that same type of "change!?" Exactly how bleak and baron does Sr. Vladimiroff want the church in Lexington to become fellow Catholics?
The Newman Center is out of control fellow Catholics! Do they not see the damage that has already been inflicted upon the Lexington diocese? Can they not see the hand of SATAN in all of this? Apparently not! On November 29, 2004 the Newman Foundation will be presenting Fr. James Bacik. Yet another "distinguished speaker" with ties to Call to Action!
Now before I go fellow Catholics, there is a question that remains to be asked in all of this. And that is, could the Newman Center have planned this any better? You see, Bishop Gainer just so happened to be out of the country on pilgrimage with Lexington parishioners on September 24. Considering that these pilgrimages are advertised months in advance, could the Newman Center have taken advantage of the fact that the good Bishop Gainer would be out of the country? Could they have been scheming this all along? "Naaah, not those guys?"
As Sr. Vladimiroff ended her speech, and I once again made my way toward those doors, There was once again something that caught my eye. There by the entry doors, in plain view, were copies of Church Watch and New Women New Church. These fellow Catholics, are newsletters/newspapers published by Call to Action and the Women's ordination Conference. Both angered and saddened, I glanced over at Jesus in the Tabernacle, uttered one final inward prayer, and exited the Lion's Den - the Newman Center!
God bless fellow Catholics, and never stop praying for the Lexington Diocese, we can not afford it!