Jun 12, 2007

Vatican hosts whirling dervishes (I am not making this up)

Zenit.org reported today that Sufi mystical whirling dervishes from Konya, Turkey, "were presented today in the Chancery Palace at the Vatican." Zenit said:

"The performance was organized by the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See and the Pontifical Council for Culture to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the birth of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (1207-1273), considered one the most important poets of Sufi mysticism."

According to Zenit, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said Rumi was "above all, the founder of the famous Mawlawiyah Confraternity whose members are called Whirling Dervishes in the Western world."

Zenit said attendees included "members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, the media -- including ZENIT -- and other Vatican figures of the world of culture and interreligious dialogue."

Don't look now, Cardinal Poupard, but most people associate whirling dervishes with the occult. The dervishes whirl themselves into "an altered state." Also, Sufi mysticism and whirling dervishes are said to be some of the occult sources of the Enneagram.

Can we agree that Cardinal Poupard's event seems to have been imprudent, to say the least?

At least these "performers" have not been to the Religious Education Congress -- yet. Can't you just see them as liturgical dancers?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year Rome, next year Anaheim!

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a break. Most people associate dervishes with the occult"? Only if they are ignorant, or also associate charismatic Christians, fasting monks, and anything other than stultifying rote liturgy with "altered consciousness."

8:25 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear OC Outcast,

You have a good nickname / handle!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 8:25 p.m.,

Just do some objective research on the subject.

It is an insult to "fasting monks" and to Catholic charismatics to liken whirling dervishes to them.

What you term "stultifying rote liturgy" has sustained the faithful through centuries of hardship, persecution and war. And it is the LAW of the Catholic Church that Jesus founded. The liturgy does NOT belong to the celebrant to do with as he pleases. There is NOTHING "rote" about the Holy Sacrifice, either.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have picked up a poetry book writen by the founder of this group. Rumi, a Persian and mystic of the 13th century.
I was taken that his search for truth and God is withing the soul, and in one writing he does claim that God is Love.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 1:10 p.m.,

Thanks for writing. I think you'll agree that we all have to be careful about such figures. New Age is nothing if not deceptive.

And translators sometimes take liberties with texts to mask or prettify the real meaning.

"Searching within" can be a New Age vehicle or practice. We Catholics have the Sacraments and the Magisterium as sure truth.

St. John already said, "God is love," and it is certain that Rumi did not have Father, Son and Holy Ghost in mind when he wrote it too.

A word search I just did on "Rumi" and "New Age" turned up 79,300 citations.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Love is reckless; not reason.

Reason seeks a profit.

Love comes on strong,

consuming herself, unabashed.

Yet, in the midst of suffering,

Love proceeds like a millstone,

hard surfaced and straightforward.

Having died of self-interest,

she risks everything and asks for nothing.

Love gambles away every gift God bestows.

Without cause God gave us Being;

without cause, give it back again.


8:58 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Pseudo,

All that glitters is not gold. A few nice-sounding sentiments do not prove anything about a man's spiritual state or influence.

And don't you wonder about the accuracy of this translation?

"Love comes on strong" does not really sound like a sentiment written in early Arabic.

Also, the two instances of "without cause" are not in line with Catholic teaching.

Almighty God's inspired word in the Canticle of Canticles is the best love poem for Catholics.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

"Gocémonos, Amado,
y vámonos a ver en tu hermosura
al monte y al collado,
do mana el agua pura;
entremos más adentro en la espesura."

And Rumi wrote in old Farsi, not Arabic.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Pseudo,

Thanks for the lines and for the info about Rumi and Farsi.

There are still the 79,300 hits I got from searching the web on "Rumi" and "New Age" together. That alone should make each of us wary about him.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I know this is quite delayed but I just ran across this article and I though I would comment. First of all, Rumi was a Sufi a form of Islam, not something to be placed under the umbrella of "New Age". So while it is probably still not in line with Catholicism it cannot be said to be New Age. I also find your "word search" logic a bit faulty; I just did a search for "Jesus" and "New Age" and got 18,200,000 results, should we be wary of him too?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

January 21, 2009

Dear MT Vessel,

Thank you for your comment of January 2009. I understand about Sufi and about Rumi. I just do not think that whirling one's self into "altered consciousness" is a good spiritual practice. I also think it is downright dangerous.

I'm not saying that dervishes are New Agers. I'm saying that their practices are the type of thing that New Agers would adopt.

Yes, it does not necessarily prove anything that a search on Rumi and New Age turns up many hits. But I think we can agree that really, whirling dervishes are not good spiritual models to follow.

10:48 PM  

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