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The synthesis of all heresies in one person…

Francis receives notorious New Age Apostate
‘Fr.’ Richard Rohr in Private Audience

On June 20, 2022, the Vatican’s daily press bulletin stated that Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) had received in private audience the Rev. Richard Rohr, OFM (b. 1943), founder of the neo-pagan Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rohr, an American, has long been a big name in the United States, but not in a good way. One might say that he is a New Age version of hellboy James Martin, S.J., another scandalous man Francis approves of and has granted an audience to. On Twitter Martin excitedly announced the meeting between Francis and “Fr.” Rohr as an encounter “of two great spiritual masters.”

There is no doubt that both Rohr and Bergoglio share the same religion, it’s just not Roman Catholicism.

Officially a Franciscan friar, Rohr is not typically seen wearing a religious habit. In fact, a quick check on YouTube indicates that his typical attire is street clothes. That is a good thing, of course, lest anyone should mistake him for a Catholic priest.

For the appointment with his boss at Vatican City, however, Rohr did manage to dig out his old Franciscan robe, as these official Vatican photos show. As is likewise apparent in these pictures, Rohr’s gift to Francis was a copy of the Spanish edition of his abominable and extremely dangerous work The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe (2019).

Before we look more closely at that blasphemous book, a few more biographical notes on the man Richard Rohr are in order.

Now 79 years old, Rohr is a native of Topeka, Kansas, where he was ordained in 1970, presumably by Bp. Ignatius Strecker (no information is available online as to who actually conferred holy orders on him). For his 50th anniversary, the Modernist Rohr reminisced: “It was a beautiful ordination ceremony. I was young and excited; my hair was long (I had hair!), and I wore colorful vestments covered with flowers I’d probably be embarrassed to wear now.”

The validity of Rohr’s ordination is doubtful and therefore must be considered invalid in the practical order. It is doubtful because the revised Novus Ordo rite of 1968 was used (it was mandatory then), which omits one of the words declared essential for validity by Pope Pius XII in 1947. Since Strecker was a valid bishop, however, it cannot be ruled out that Rohr is actually a valid priest.

As a Franciscan, Rohr was first part of their St. John the Baptist Province and worked his initial theological mischief in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he quickly rose to prominence as a charismatic speaker and youth leader. The following newspaper clip shows a young Friar Richard (right):

Ordination of Friar Richard RohrOrdination of Friar Richard Rohr 06 Jun 1970, Sat The Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, Ohio) Newspapers.comf

Sadly, Rohr’s apostasy — he likes to call it “alternative orthodoxy” — goes back decades. He is so bad that even many Novus Ordos cannot stomach him.

The following links to several conservative Novus Ordo publications provide more information about the wretched man’s religious ideas, including his endorsement of occult/pagan practices:

It is a frightful thought, but Rohr is also a retreat master. In March 1997, he spoke at a conference of the homosexualist New Ways Ministry (since endorsed by the “Pope”, of course), where he shared some of his retreat experiences. His talk was entitled “The Men’s Movement: Homoeroticism and Homophobia”.  The following quotes are from that talk (CAUTION! indecent content ahead):

“The nakedness thing, I must comment on, is really uncanny to me. I could give a whole talk just on that. I never encourage nakedness, as such, but it always happens. I will normally have on the fourth day of a five-day retreat, a day where I send them out into the canyons or into the desert alone. I’ve prepared them for that day. A lot of men, and women too, I’m sure have never spent a day alone, in solitude. And then that night we come back and process: What happened in the canyons alone?

Well, there’s always one who in that processing will raise his hand and, sort of with embarrassment, admit that when he got out there he took off all his clothes. And then there’s chuckles all around the room — I can just predict it, it happens every time — there’s chuckles all over the room. ‘Oh! I did, too!’ I did, too!’ I did, too!’ There’s something about nakedness in the male psyche — and now I’ve studied initiation rites — it’s universal. The boy always gets naked, as you see in the sweat lodges, too.

And I think it’s this desire to get rid of all this persona. All this stuff you have to live up to — you pay a big price for being a patriarch. And feminism has sometimes not been sympathetic enough with that. You pay a big price for having roles and titles and importance and power and significance and the male is just finding every way he can to take it off, to take it off. They always tell me they had to do it and it’s amazing how often some wonderful things happen in this sitting there in the sunlight naked — exposed, as it were.”

“We often have camp-fires, and I know some of you have been at these where it happens, so you know what I’m talking about. Always, always, there’s some guys — I mean, is it in their hard wiring? — they’ll strip and have to leap over that fire, burning their balls. . . . I don’t know what it is. They’re the ‘real’ men, who can leap over the fire, naked.”

“This is not part of my agenda that they’re supposed to . . . it’s just that we have a fire, and then predictably men start doing the same old damn [sic] things, all again and again and again. There’s this deep desire to get naked, to somehow, even risk nakedness in front of one another. To expose the self. That’s really pretty archetypal. It shouldn’t really surprise us at all, should it? I mean, that’s really what all lovemaking is, of course — could you love me when you see me in my nakedness? Could I still be beautiful, could I still be attractive to you in my nakedness? Can you see it all and still be desirous of me?”

(Quoted in Stephanie Block, “Coloring Outside the Lines”, The Wanderer [May 22, 1997]; republished at Catholic Culture.)

If you think this is bad, just wait till you see what goes on behind the Franciscan friar’s forehead theologically.

In fact, we will now take a look at some of the content found in The Universal Christ, the book he gave to “Pope” Francis on June 20. Spoiler alert: The “Universal Christ” proclaimed by Richard Rohr is a false christ, a kind of anti-christ.

This book contains so many whoppers, one quickly stops trying to count the number of heresies stated outright, implied, hinted at, or encouraged. Here is a small selection of the spiritual garbage Rohr presents to the hapless reader (page numbers are based on the electronic Kindle edition and may not match perfectly the print edition):

  • “When Christians hear the word ‘incarnation’, most of us think about the birth of Jesus, who personally demonstrated God’s radical unity with humanity. But in this book, I want to suggest that the first Incarnation was the moment described in Genesis 1, when God joined in unity with the physical universe and became the light inside of everything.” (The Universal Christ, p. 12)
  • “The Incarnation, then, is not only ‘God becoming Jesus.’ It is a much broader event, which is why John first describes God’s presence in the general word ‘flesh’ [John 1:14]. John is speaking of the ubiquitous Christ that Caryll Houselander so vividly encountered, the Christ that the rest of us continue to encounter in other human beings, a mountain, a blade of grass, or a starling.” (p. 12)
  • “Everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God.” (p. 12)
  • “For you who have loved Jesus … do you recognize that any God worthy of the name must transcend creeds and denominations, time and place, nations and ethnicities, and all the vagaries of gender, extending to the limits of all we can see, suffer, and enjoy?” (p. 36; italics given)
  • “When you look your dog in the face, for example, as I often looked at my black Labrador, Venus, I truly believe you are seeing another incarnation of the Divine Presence, the Christ.” (p. 51)
  • “Our inherent ‘likeness to God’ depends upon the objective connection given by God equally to all creatures, each of whom carries the divine DNA in a unique way.” (p. 60)
  • “God loves things by becoming them.” (p. 113)
  • “In the mythic imagination, I think Mary intuitively symbolizes the first Incarnation — or Mother Earth, if you will allow me.” (p. 122)
  • “In Mary, humanity has said our eternal yes to God. A yes that cannot be undone.” (p. 127; italics given)
  • “When Jesus spoke the word ‘This is my Body,’ I believe he was speaking not just about the bread right in front of him, but about the whole universe, about every thing that is physical, material, and yet also spirit-filled. … His assertion and our repetition resound over all creation before they also settle into one piece of bread.” (p. 131)
  • “Honestly, and without any stretch, my dog Venus taught me more about ‘real presence’ over a fifteen-year period than any theological manual ever did.” (pp. 131-132)
  • “As if eating his body weren’t enough, Jesus pushes us in even further and scarier directions by adding the symbolism of intoxicating wine as we lift the chalice and speak over all of suffering humanity, ‘This is my blood.'” (p. 132)
  • “The bread and the wine together are stand-ins for the very elements of the universe, which also enjoy and communicate the incarnate presence.” (p. 133; italics given)
  • “A true believer is eating what he or she is afraid to see and afraid to accept: The universe is the Body of God, both in its essence and in its suffering.” (p. 134; italics given)
  • “Jesus was always objectively the Universal Christ, but now his significance for humanity and for us was made ubiquitous, personal, and attractive for those willing to meet Reality through him. Many do meet Divine Reality without this shortcut, and we must be honest about that. I cannot prove that Jesus is the shortcut, nor does he need me to….” (p. 178; italics given)
  • “When we find a truly healthy and holy attitude toward ‘earthly’ things like money and sex, the Mystery of Incarnation will finally have its full victory….” (p. 237)

Wow! What heresy isn’t this man willing to promote? Rohr is neck-deep in an über-heretical hodgepodge made up of elements of Immanentism, Emanationism, Naturalism, Pantheism, Teilhardism, Jungian psychology, and what not.

Not surprisingly, Rohr’s thought has no place for the dogma of original sin as taught infallibly by the Council of Trent. In fact, Rohr claims that original sin was first introduced by St. Augustine and that it is “never mentioned in the Bible” (p. 60) — a complete lie, of course. Further on, he asserts that original sin “is just a theory, even though some groups take it as long-standing dogma. The early church never heard of this…” (p. 139). Again, a brazen lie.

Needless to say, ladies and gentlemen, the Irreverend Richard Rohr also does not believe in hell, the place of everlasting punishment for the wicked. He writes: “Infinite love, mercy, and forgiveness are hard for the human mind to even imagine, so most people seem to need a notion of hell to maintain their logic of retribution, just punishment, and a just world, as they understand it. God does not need hell, but we sure seem to” (p. 183).

Aside from the blasphemy and heresy contained in this statement, it also appears to be contrary to everyday experience. Does it not seem that contemporary man is a lot more ready to accept the idea of “infinite mercy for all” (if we want to call it that) than with the idea of everlasting damnation?

Either way, the following links provide some powerful refutations of the denial of hell:

We must not allow ourselves to be deceived or impressed by the fact that the jolly Franciscan friar quotes Sacred Scripture in support of his apostatical ideas — all heretics appeal to the Bible to support their false doctrines. In his Second Letter, Pope St. Peter warned that “the unlearned and unstable wrest” not only the epistles of St. Paul but also “the other scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet 3:16). Indeed, we know from the Gospel of St. Luke (4:1-13) that the devil himself quotes Scripture in his effort to manipulate and deceive!

Aside from The Universal Christ, “Fr.” Richard has also penned many other books, including The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your Transformation (2016), The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (2018), and Every Thing is Sacred: 40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ (2021). Enough said.

Few presbyters in the Novus Ordo Church are as brazen and candid in their heretical depravity as Rohr is. In 2014, we published two posts on the apostasy of this “spiritual leader” that are worth revisiting:

Of course, with Bergoglio at the helm in Rome, Rohr knows he has nothing to worry about — at least not for as long as he doesn’t become a “restorationist” who tries to undo Vatican II.

Our Blessed Lord warned that “many false prophets shall rise, and shall seduce many” (Mt 24:11). That the Franciscan apostate Richard Rohr is one of them, is beyond question. He is precisely one of those false teachers denounced by St. Paul: “For there shall be a time, when [people] will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

Rohr is extremely dangerous, not only because of his false doctrines but also because of his accessible writing style and his winsome personality. Poison is always a lot more dangerous when it is mixed with sugar and administered with a smile by someone who comes across as affable.

And now, with “Pope” Francis’ endorsement, he has just become a lot more dangerous.

Image source: composite with elements from Shutterstock (Martin Ferriz) and YouTube (screenshot)
License: paid and fair use

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