(I first want to give a big thanks to my brothers and sisters on the
Romcath. List for helping me with this. Getting info on Renew 2000 is
difficult, and apparently, with good reason.)
When is a Catholic organization not a Catholic organization? When it's
Renew 2000. If you go to their web site you will notice that it is very
ambiguous and doesn't mention Call To Action or any other CTA umbrella
organization, i.e. WomanChurch, Dignity, Futurechurch, Catholics for a Free
Choice, etc. You won't see obvious members of CTA mentioned in their catalog
of booklets. You may even find wording which sounds exactly what the Church
It can best be described as the old bait and hook technique of shady
salesmen. You know, advertise a top of the line item on a fantastic sale,
but get there and find they don't have it and sell you something else.
The bait: "RENEW 2000 is a very thorough spiritual renewal evangelization
process designed for parishes to prepare for the new millennium. It
incorporates the themes suggested by Pope John Paul II in His Apostolic
Letter. Special attention is given to the needs of young adults, both single
and married." (Renew 2000 web page)
Sounds great. It implies its in accordance with John Paul II's Apostolic
Letter (but they don't mention it by name). But notice, incorporating themes
'suggested' by the Pope. And, of course, again, the main focus is toward the
However, appearances can be deceiving.
The hook: " In our parish, there was a wide-spread dissatisfaction with
the Session I Renew 2000 participant booklet, "God, a Community of Love"-even
as there was enthusiasm over meeting together as small groups. The complaints
were general: as a team leader having reviewed the materials in detail, I
decided to try to put into words possible reasons for the unease of so many,
along with some comments on the current Session II materials. Doing so is
difficult: the problems are subtle ones of tone and vocabulary. In fact, the
greatest problem of the materials was what they didn't say" (A REVIEW OF
RENEW 2000 MATERIALS by Brock Fowler)
Mr. Fowler goes on to say: "As I was reading the materials, I often felt
like I was back at Unity School of Christianity-a New Age-ish church where I
spent some time on my way to becoming a Catholic. At various times, I was
reminded the vocabulary that I heard former Catholics use while explaining
why they left the Church, or from ecology spirituality (which is New
Age/pagan, and goes by various names), or from those feminists who propose
that the Church is a patriarchal instrument of oppression. It is important to
use the language of faith, rather than a secular vocabulary, in a renewal
effort aimed at the Catholic in the pew: " (Ibid)
One phrase used in the Renew 2000 web site which sounds extremely
"The actual decision to walk with Jesus in his Church involves us in the
painful process of turning away from old habits of selfishness and sin (John
12:24). If we want to follow Christ, we will have to leave the "wide road" of
ease and superficial pleasure and try to walk on the "narrow road" that leads
to life (Matthew 7:13-14; 16:24). As Christians we are called to choose life."
Yet, the reality is far different.
" Session II materials continue to use loaded language. For example, on p.
34, we are urged to identify ourselves with the Pharisees for the sake of
honest self-examination (emphasis added): "These Pharisees gather the
evidence, but they cannot believe because they are too rigid. Because the
healed persons does not `fit their narrow definitions,' they choose to throw
him out. In what way do I experience in me a self-righteousness or rigid way
of thinking? (Pause)"
Many believe that anyone who believes all the Church asks her children to
believe is narrow and rigid. We are told that the Catholic view of the family
is a "narrow definition" that needs to be expanded to include the full
variety of unmarried sexual relationships. Failure to give on this, and many
other points, is often called "rigid thinking." Interestingly, the Bible and
Church history are full of martyrs who refused to compromise their faith: was
that "rigid"? (A REVIEW OF RENEW 2000 MATERIALS by Brock Fowler)
So the pain seems to be from our letting go of 2,000 of Christian teaching
and tradition and embracing a 'new' theology.
This seems to follow Call To Action tactics. Rosemary R. Ruether
mentioned Jesus as a 'symbol' some may want to retain during a conference on
"Women and Spirituality."
Renew 2000 has a booklet on "SMALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES:A Vision of Hope"
If they were speaking of such 'communities' as the Legion of Mary, or other
ministries in the Church, there would be no problem. However, it appears
that Renew 2000 is more in line with Call To Action.
"RENEW 2000 and small faith communities: Imagining Future Church' ": RENEW
2000's diocesan director from Illinois will speak on the small faith
community process, the expected result of which is to replace the Church with
a "community of communities" and non-male leadership…... The RENEW 2000
materials that I reviewed (Small Christian Communities, Called to Lead, and
several shorter texts) appear orthodox at first glance.
The name "Call to Action" appears nowhere in the materials. But the section
entitled "Feminist Spirituality" is unadulterated CTA anti-Church agitprop.
In it, one reads:
"The foundations of feminism are basically religious...."; "Many Christian
women and men who recognize the relationship between many feminist goals and
the realization of God's reign are developing a spirituality which integrates
a feminist consciousness.... There has been an exclusive emphasis on male
imagery when talking about God. When God is imaged as only masculine, we lose
the particular expression of God that is feminine." " (Paulists' RENEW 2000
Is Just A Front For Call To Action By Beth Roney Drennan)
" ChristSophia, a female Christ with a pierced nose, is promoted in a 1992
video series featuring RENEW 2000 coordinator and coauthor of the primary
RENEW 2000 text Margo LeBert.
LeBert is coordinator for RENEW 2000 and has been "American coordinator for
the international office of RENEW in Plainfield, N.J." She coauthored the
primary RENEW 2000 text, Small Christian Communities.
A few years ago, LeBert was featured in a video series called InnerAction.
InnerAction and Call to Action are associated with many of the same
theologians, writers, and groups. Most disturbing, however, is that the
InnerAction program in which RENEW 2000 coordinator and author LeBert appears
approvingly features a large, full-color icon of "ChristSophia," a female
Christ with a pierced nose holding a naked, faceless fertility goddess doll
with huge bare breasts.
This program recommends "to the Christian community" a new "ritual,"
including 16 "special chants" to the earth, to plants, to the "sisters"
(special powers that help people), to powers that bring rain, to the four
being powers, and to the spirit of Handsome Lake (InnerAction Cultural
Blessings participant magazine, pp. 8 and 27).
Another presenter in RENEW 2000 coordinator LeBert's InnerAction series is
Fr. Richard Rohr. He also heads a CTA-associated organization (Center for
Action and Contemplation) and founded another (New Jerusalem).
Rohr, who has presided at the "weddings" of same-sex couples, also writes
books about "enneagrams." "Enneagrams" and their concomitant "enneagram
trances" are not in the Catechism, but an Internet search of the word reveals
that enneagrams are a part of (again!) the WICCA (witchcraft) and paganism
web sites." (Ibid)
The list goes on and on. One thing that was of note was how Renew 2000
seems intent on covering their Call To Action connections. One can only find
them after extensive research and digging. And I wouldn't have found it
without the help of my Catholic friends on the Romcath e-mail list group.
"….."evangelization" project RENEW 2000:
- 1) Utilizes reference names or writers whose work has been hostile to and
in direct conflict with Catholic teaching;
- 2) Requires extensive research to discover the background of its
- 3) Will reach and influence a vast number of Catholic faithful for a
significant length of time;
- 4) Will reach faithful who have been told by their pastors and bishops that
the program is entirely safe and who have not been put on notice that the
program harbors any dangers;
- 5) Will reach many laypersons who are not sufficiently educated in Catholic
teaching to be able to identify or recognize dangerous theologians and
For a full expose' on Renew 2000, I recommend going to the Peters Net Web
site and searching their database for Renew 2000. (http://www.petersnet.net/)
Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., openly declared Call to Action
and their affiliates to be heretical and their members excommunicated. Renew
2000 appears to be their attempt to get back in via the back door.