Skip to comments.More Weird Liturgy? "Our Lady" Rite Author Inspired By Labyrinth Walk
Posted on 07/28/2006 6:45:14 PM PDT by sionnsar
For those wondering what inspired the Episcopal Church's newly-elected, female presiding bishop to refer to "Mother Jesus" during the General Convention, the answer might be found on the "Office of Women's Ministries" (OWM) page on the official national church website.
Indeed, this is not the first time that the OWM has gotten into liturgical mischief.
The phrase used by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori appears in a "Eucharist Using Female Nouns and Pronouns" on the OWM's section of the Episcopal Church (TEC)-sponsored website. The rite is accompanied by "Morning Prayers to the Lady" - and this does not mean our Lord's mother. Both services offer worship to "Our Lady" and to the "Holy Mother," and end with the salutation "Blessed be" - a common statement of farewell among Wiccans.
The author of the services, Sandra Thomas Fox, wrote them in 2001, five years after she had a feminist epiphany during her first walk in a labyrinth - a spiritual exercise that actually has New Age roots - at the National Cathedral. There, she became sensitized to "the misogyny in the liturgy."
The webpage that leads to the two feminist liturgies has an all-capitalized disclaimer for each: "NOT AN OFFICIAL LITURGY - FOR USE IN DISCUSSION." Nevertheless, the pages from which each of the services can be downloaded invite readers to use them as well in "gathering communities of worship." Therefore, these services can be used anywhere.
The feminist "Eucharist" invokes God thus: "Blessed be the Lady who births, redeems and sanctifies us."
The threefold Kyrie Eleison becomes this: (Celebrant): Loving Lady, have mercy; (People): Mother Jesus, have mercy; (Celebrant) Loving Lady, have mercy" - thereby giving Jesus both a sex change and children.
The prayers of the people - addressed to "Mother" - include the request that "every member of the Church may be your handmaiden" - thereby praying that all men in the church get a sex change.
The prayer of confession is addressed to "Most Merciful Lady."
The Great Thanksgiving begins, "May the Holy Mother be with you," and continues: "It is truly right, Mother, to give you thanks; for you alone are the I AM, living and true, dwelling in light inaccessible from before time and forever," and adds: "Blessed is she who comes in the name of Love."
With the prayer "Mother, you loved the world so much that you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary," the consecration prayer claims that Jesus has two mommies - and no Father.
Immediately after the consecration of the bread and the wine, the celebrant says, "Mother, we now celebrate this memorial of your redemption." (A Freudian slip, perhaps?)
Oddly enough, the Lord's Prayer is unchanged - so this is the only spot in the service which addresses God as "Father."
The "Mass" ends when the celebrant tells the congregation, "Let us go forth empowered by the Love of our Lady," and the congregation replies, "Blessed be."
THE FEMINIST "MORNING PRAYER" service is similar in spirit. After the confession of sin (again addressed to the "Most Merciful Lady"), the celebrant says, "Nurturing Mother, have mercy on us; forgive us all our sins. Through your beautiful Son, Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit sustain our eternal life."
Before the psalms, the celebrant says, "The mercy of our Lady is everlasting: come let us adore her." After the Psalm readings, the celebrant sings a new age Gloria Non Patri: "Glory to the Mother, and to her Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever."
In this service, too, the Lord's Prayer was unmolested - but the celebrant precedes it with "May our Holy Lady be with you...Let us pray the words of her beautiful Son, Jesus Christ."
The prayers of the people include "Keep your example of Motherhood ever before us; Let us see in all our children a sacred trust from you" - an invocation that seems out of place here, since the Women's Ministries site lists the pro-abortion Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice among "social justice" groups.
The General Thanksgiving at the end of the service starts, "Most merciful Mother, we your handmaidens give you thanks for your great love for us and for all you have made." The service ends when the celebrant says, "Let us give thanks to our Lady;" the congregation replies, "Blessed be."
AS EARLIER NOTED, this all began with Ms. Fox's first experience with walking the labyrinth at the 1996 Sacred Circles conference at Washington National Cathedral. That day, "during a guided meditation led by Dr. Sarah Fahy, I had met the wise woman who had told me, `Women are beautiful. You are beautiful,'" Fox wrote. "Immediately after I...walked one of the labyrinths set up in the nave. To my surprise, as I entered the path I dissolved into tears. Questions welled up inside of me. Why had no one ever told me I was beautiful? Why did I need to be told that women were beautiful? I sobbed my way into the center, where I sat until I was once again composed. As I began my walk out, the Eucharist was being celebrated at the high altar. I decided I would silently say these comforting, familiar words as I walked...But on this day, to my horror, these words I loved turned to dust and ashes in my mouth. All I could hear was `He, Him, Lord, Son, Father'...I had heard the misogyny in the liturgy, and there was no going back."
Fox continued, "I realized that I did not see my mother, my two daughters, or myself as made in the image of God. When I looked at the liturgy I discovered there are 195 male nouns and pronouns in Rite I and 145 in Rite II. In both cases, there is one reference to a woman - the Virgin Mary in the Creed. If our liturgy is our story, the telling of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, where are the voices of the women that Jesus loved, respected, and held dear? Where is an understanding of the holiness of being a daughter, wife, or mother? Wondering what it would be like to have a service to the Divine Feminine, I used Rite II, Prayer D [from the 1979 Prayer Book] as a starting point and wrote such a Eucharist in 2001.
"If one feels that reading this service is blasphemous, I can only say that writing it felt even more so. Yet I felt called to continue, for what else would allow us to see the narrowness of our current liturgy?...My hope is that this Eucharist will begin a dialogue about the ways in which language affects the quality of our worship, our feelings towards God, and our sense of being created in God's image."
As earlier indicated, this was not the first foray into the bizarre for TEC's Office of Women's Ministries. In 2004, there was an outcry over two other offerings on OWM's section of the official church website: "A Women's Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine" and a "Liturgy for Divorce." The Women's Eucharist made no mention of Christ, nor of his Body and Blood, but gave thanks to "Mother God" for things like menstrual blood and breasts.
It emerged that the Women's Eucharist had been on a Druid website since 1998. What's more, it had been penned by "Glispa," who turned out to be part of a husband/wife Episcopal clergy couple who up until a short time earlier had also been involved with and promoting modern-day Druidism, including nude mating rituals and invocation of the "Horned God." Once exposed, Pennsylvania clergy Glyn Ruppe-Melnyck and her husband, W. William Melnyck, repented of their Druidry; Mr. Melnyk lost his parochial job over the issue but Mrs. Melnyk kept hers.
The two offending services, which were removed from the OWM website in the 2004 controversy, were part of OWM's "Women's Liturgy Project" to collect worship resources written by women for women - an initiative that, given the latest from the OWM, is evidently ongoing.
*Sources included: Sandra Thomas Fox, "Reflection on the Holy Eucharist,"
Women's Ministries, http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_60499_ENG_HTM.htm;
Women's Ministries, "Liturgies Using Feminine Images," http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_60497_ENG_HTM.htm, a page that links to texts for the two liturgies;
Women's Ministries, http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_31001_ENG_HTM.htm, a blurb for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Sorry to hi-jack a thread, if that's what this amounts to, but this is an important point I would like to make:
Does everyone see how quickly idolatry descends? Churches which accuse the Catholic Church of idolatry should note:
The Catholic Church was around hundreds of years before it had to start defending itself against accusations of idolatry from Protestants.
In all those hundreds of years, never, not once, ever, has any Catholic used the word, "worship" to describe his relationship with the Blessed Mother of God, who is Mary. NEVER! Never has a Catholic prayer asked the Blessed Mother for forgiveness. NEVER! We ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us that we be kept from sin. It's not that the Church hasn't done these things because they'd make us look bad to Protestants. We do loads of stuff that blow Protestants' minds. FREQUENTLY.
We frequently pray to the Blessed Mother (MARY!) to pray for us that we may not sin.
We NEVER pray to the Blessed Mother to forgive us our sins, even though we ask freinds, the priest, etc. (We ask forgiveness from those we hurt, or priests, who represent the Church. We ask Christ alone for divine forgiveness. We do not ask Mary because we have not sinned against her, and she does not grant the forgiveness that God grants; she can only pray for us, as can saints and our earthly beloved.)
Our prayers say we venerate Mary.
We never adore Mary, or that we worship her.
No Catholic has EVER said that Mary is divine, god, or all-powerful.
I'm not saying the Pope has never approved such things. I'm saying they have never occured, not once, never.
Some Protestants may not recognize the distinctions between these things, but if there were no distinctions, why have some happened so frequently, and others never happened?
But Mary was human and in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us.
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between men and God. Anything else, and you leave yourself open to charges of idolatry.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" -- 1 Timothy 2:5
I'm sure you've heard of latria, hyperdulia, and dulia, and the differences between the three, but I would guess you don't buy it, so I'm not going to waste my time.
LOL! You're hijacking a hijacked thread, and one we're departing within a few dozen hours?? Go for it -- just please don't follow us to our August thread for this discussion!
(Amusing, an Undead Thread might live on after the UTers depart...)
>> Sorry. But I have many RC friends who tell me forthrightly that they do worship Mary in a way with their prayers because they see her as being worthy of worship due to her supposedly sinless nature. <<
Nuh-uh. Don't believe it. I flat out don't believe it at all. It's that preposterous. Maybe you asked why they worshipped her, and they didn't correct you or something, but I flatly do not believe you ever heard any Catholic say, "I worship Mary."
>> But Mary was human and in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us. <<
That is true. The only difference is that Christ, knowing her role to play as bearer of the Word, did not allow her to be polluted.
>> Jesus Christ is the only mediator between men and God. Anything else, and you leave yourself open to charges of idolatry. <<
Now THIS I could believe a Catholic getting wrong. It reflects a downright miserable and pathetic failure to educate people, but I could honestly believe someone could think that the priest forgives someone on behalf of God.
The priest forgives on behalf of the Church, for committing sin when pledged to sanctity is a sin against the Church. But this is of the nature of one friend forgiving another. Only God can forgive. Which is why you will NEVER hear anyone EVER ask Mary to forgive them. Go check on the internet.
Of the hundreds of BILLIONS of web pages out there, 47 contain the phrase "I worship Mary." 42 of these are amidst denials (i.e., "Protestants always say I worship Mary...") or unrelated (i.e., "I worship Mary Kate and Ashley"), two are sarcastic, one is a protestant hypothetically putting those words in the mouth of a Catholic, one is a South African pagan "guru", and one is about Alistair Crowley.
Keep in mind that the internet includes the texts of tens of thousands of Catholic prayers throughout the ages. And not ONE of the ones which have made it to the internet.
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" -- 1 Timothy 2:5
"Queen of Heaven" is from a traditional devotion called the Litany of Loreto. If Jesus is King (and He is), then His Mother is queen mother. "Co-Redemptrix" is a Latin term, that means "a woman who assisted with the redemptive act" (of Jesus). It isn't dogma, but pious belief of many Catholics. "Mother of God" is an acknowledgement of Jesus' divinity, as He was fully human and fully divine, and one is inseparable from the other.
I might be wrong , please correct me if I am, do you believe Mary was taken to heaven before she died?
The "jury" is out on that one. The dogma of the Assumption teaches that after her last minute on earth, Mary's was assumed, body and soul into heaven, as she was the Ark of the New Covenant. It doesn't say whether she died or not. If she didn't, there is precedent for that. St. Elias (Elijah) was taken up on a fiery chariot. But I happen to believe that she did die, for her Son died, and all she wanted to do with her life was to be God's handmaid.
Don't you believe that prayers to her are magnified and given special consideration? If so, doesn't this imply she has special powers?
The only implication is that she is the closest to Jesus.
These people are crazy.
Aside from that, I think everybody should stay away from labyrinths. I have family in SF that lives near Grace Cathedral, the Episcopal cathedral, where they have actually built an official "labyrinth" on a raised stone plaza near the front of the church. I can look down at the little old Chinese ladies practicing tai-chi in the park, and then turn my head just a bit to see the fruits and nuts circling and hopping around the labyrinth, occasionally stopping to adopt a yoga position, or sometimes even spinning around with their arms outstretched (I would assume this is the dervish contingent).
>> How about the phrases "Queen of Heaven", "Co-Redemptress","Mother of GOD". Aren't there statues depicting Mary in most of your Churches that people bow down to? Don't you claim in the "immaculate conception" that Mary was born without sin. I might be wrong , please correct me if I am, do you believe Mary was taken to heaven before she died? Don't you believe that prayers to her are magnified and given special consideration? If so, doesn't this imply she has special powers? <<
All of these assertions ARE true (although that last question is very problemmatic.) And I congratulate you for getting the wording correct, too!
But that's my point:
The Protestant often hears "venerate Mary" and "adore Christ" and cannot distinguish the two. Catholics have tried to explain until collapsing on the floor in exhaustion the distinction, but to no avail. I think some Protestants associate certain words so closely, that they interchange them in their memory. The protestants treat the distinction as if it is some wordplay made to defend against Protestant attacks, but the distinction goes back hundreds of years before Protestants existed.
Which is what I mean to demonstrate: That there is a significance difference between similar sounding statements, as demonstrated by the fact that what is called idolatry by Protestants has resisted for two thousand years falling into further idolatry.
If there were no distinction, such words would tend to be used interchangeably (as admittedly does happen with the word, "pray"; Many Catholics deny "praying" to Mary, accepting the modern equivalence between "pray" and "worship." Others acknowledge praying to Mary, recognizing that to pray has historically meant to beseech.)
If there were no grave moral distinction, Marian cults and impious practices would spontaneously occur, as Catholics, once bereft of grace, slid across such lines. (Note: There were Gnostics who "worshipped" Mary, but this was more akin to what these Anglicans are doing; Gnostics were involved in all manner of other forms of idolatry.)
I think you make it way too complicated.
Believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior who paid for your sins by His death and resurrection, and you are one of His flock, by the grace of God alone.
Just curious, but why did you only ping the Reformed to your post which doesn't even address the topic of this thread?
>> "Co-Redemptrix" is a Latin term, that means "a woman who assisted with the redemptive act" (of Jesus). It isn't dogma, but pious belief of many Catholics.<<
Of course, it's not JUST a pious belief, it's a fact that Mary assisted with the redemptive act, although it's also a fact that she in no way had the power to make it more perfect; any graces she has flow from God. Even this subtlety has been portrayed for centuries in art. Look at the points of origin of the rays shining through Mary's hands; now look at those from Jesus. In any painting of Mary with such rays (representinng grace), the point of origin is not from within her hand, as it is in the images of Christ. Rather, the point of origin is above her head.
I believe the reason the Church resists formally approving of the use of the term, "co-redemptrix" is precisely because the term IS dangerously ambiguous. Those who have used it have used it with certain connotations that Mary is not the source of any grace or redemption, merely the channel. But the word does not necessarily carry that connotation, and so the Church does not teach it, lest it unintentionally lead the flock into idolatry.
Can mother jesus breastfeed her young'uns?
No, that's backwards. Your statement is vastly oversimplified.
Excellent point. I was just reading about how these labyrinths can be a type of hypnotism which trains the mind to follow preconceived patterns of someone else's making.
Mother Jesus? Why do female clergy, not always, but most times want to make God into a woman? Here's a blast from the past.
Mary Baker Eddy,(1821-1910) the founder and Pastor Emeritus of the Christian Science heresy reworded the Lord's prayer like this:
Our Father which art in heaven, Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Wonder if she was the first female cleric that started that?
I guess I had saved it as a list of Protestants... Know any Lutherans or Methodists I can ping? =^D You know normally when I want to Ping the GRPL specifically I go through Gamecock.
(I did NOT ping Anglicans because they do not necessarily reject certain Catholic practices which Protestants necessarily do.)
It DID address the topic: the original post shows how quickly idolators blast through any theological distinctions. I wanted to compare it to Catholic practices compared
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