Friday, February 19, 2010

Fr. Daniel J. O' Hanlon, S.J. "Marxists Have Something To Teach Me"

My own spiritual roots are in Roman Catholic tradition, and in the spiritual family of the Jesuits which began with an unusually holy and wise man, Ignatius Loyola, over four centuries ago.
As with most authentic gurus, he spent years of intense personal sadhanas before disciples were drawn to him
and formed the group which eventually became the Jesuit order. My spiritual home is in this family and has been for almost 40 years, in fact, I feel no need or inclination to pull away from these roots, but I do have a strong desire to be in touch with our great and ancient spiritual traditions of the world. Buddhism is five centuries older than Christianity, and Hinduism is perhaps as much as 20 centuries older.
These are the two traditions from which I have learned the most. Marxists have something to teach me too,
and so does contemporary western psychology, especially the new movements in humanistic and trans-personal psychology.

Link (here) to 1978 winter edition of the Yoga Journal to read the full piece, you wont be disappointed, I promise. You will love (Not really) the cartoon of nuns in a yoga back stretch. The article is entitled, Opening Windows to the East by Fr. Daniel J. O' Hanlon, S.J.

Father O'Hanlon taught for 30 years at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley and a predecessor institution. He retired in 1989 as a professor of fundamental and systematic theology. (here)


Anonymous said...

So much for Christ being the Alpha and the Omega. Christ seems to have been shelved for Buddhism, Hinduism and Marxism.

Anonymous said...

Did we read the same article? I understood Fr. O'Hanlon to be using his full intellect in engaging with (not necessarily endorsing) the great spiritual thinkers of the World. When we don't close our ears and eyes to those around us our own faith can be strengthened.

Over fifty years over service to the Church! May he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I've studied in all of these traditions: a few years in Yoga-Vedanta, a few years in Theravada Buddhism, and a few years in the Communist Party. It is true that we have something to learn from all of them, and it's not just Berkeley Theologians who say so, but writers like Peter Kreeft as well (at least as far as Buddha is concerned)

That being said, I feel that the most important parts of these traditions as well as Catholicism are in their differences which tend to be obscured nowadays in the name of tolerance.

I have read some of Sivananda's books (the ashram Fr. O'Hanlon writes of) and what I remember is the bizarre occult powers that Sivananda lists as a by-product of yoga -which brings in the whole question of the occult.

These traditions make sense to me as the inevitable cul de sac of a compassionate theology without Christ. All have their dangers as theologies without Christ. Which is where I see the necessity of Orthodoxy.

I liked the cartoon of the nuns doing the "wheel" yoga stretch. By the way, I have a problem with the lower lumbar region of my back which I've been able to control by doing yoga stretches every morning.

Anonymous said...

Let's see: marxists killed over 100,000,000 in the 20th century. Yes! We can learn from them. They're morally better thah the Little Eichmanns and Bush. They didn't waterboard poor innocent mass murderers who provided intel to save thousands of innocent little Eichmanns. Bush bad. Pol Pot okay!

YES! Also:

"The KKK has something to teach us all."

That anonymous said...

¨Let's see: marxists killed over 100,000,000 in the 20th century.¨

The Zen buddhist who trained the principal buddhist leaders in the US after world war II promoted the extermination of the jews.

Read Brian Victoria´s ¨Zen at War¨for more on the matter.

That Anonymous said...

Fr. Hanlon was in the SF Bay Area in 1976 and so was I, doing some of the same things he was doing but partly for different reasons. Like him, I was also looking for God and had turned my back on the second person of the Blessed Trinity, as if he was just another avatar. Unlike him (I think) I was deeply traumatized by psychedelically induced, and orientally (Hinduism, yoga, mantras) oriented seemingly mystical experiences (oneness with nature).

While one Jesuit helped me through, and out, another, a spiritual director, unintentionally, helped me get lost yet again. It took me some 25 years to find Christ again.

How did and do I know Jesus Christ is it? I came back accidentally, stumbled into him, was not intending to find him, and it did not happen through the church. The love he manifested is beyond understanding. How do I know it was him? It happened after reading a prayer, from Saint Ignatius, whose exercises I had purchased for someone else.

It has taken several more years to truly recognize that the Church is infallibly guided. Had I never left, much suffering, others and mine, would have been avoided.

That anonymous said...

One more point on how else I know Christ is the only way. His revelation was instantaneous upon reading that prayer. There was hardly effort on my part. He came as in the Eucharist, all grace, all gift.

I on the other hand had been looking for God (not Jesus), but was all undeserving, and I don't mean this out of false modesty.

I would like to explain this better. If anyone has any serious questions, I'll try to answer without revealing personal details.

Anonymous said...

Some of these stories of conversion read very much like those of born-again Christians.

Anonymous said...

I guess this thinking is why Christopher Hitchens can respond to the plea that "Christians have something to teach me" in the negative since countless people have killed in its name.

That anonymous said...

Christ manifested to me as the most holy, loving and peaceful. In the Eucharist I am filled with life, peace, joy.

I have never experienced Christ driving me to kill or hurt anyone.

Yet Catholics go into the world and there is tremendous evil. Some people want to destroy the Catholic faith. Others want to kill us. Thus the question of justice and legitimate self defense arises.

Anonymous said...

Is it fair to draw attention to the work of a man published so long ago? The Church and the world have changed since then and so might he.

That Anonymous said...

Did Fr. O´Hanlon S.J. ever publicly discredit the ideas he promoted?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"I have never experienced Christ driving me to kill or hurt anyone."

And yet many have killed in His name.

That Anonymous said...

Yes, when one publishes ideas about one's faith one is in effect promoting them. If they are wrong one should retract them. Otherwise, one ends up serving the enemy of the true faith. Fr. O'Hanlon, S.J. appears to be saying that his roots are in Catholicism, but that he sees it as just another religious tradition among many.

Accordingly, Fr. O'Hanlon, S.J. should retract his ideas if he does not want them discredited.

Anonymous said...

He can't re-tract anything--he's dead.

But what does this mean--"Fr. O'Hanlon, S.J. should retract his ideas if he does not want them discredited."?

BTW, the Greeks have something to teach us as well. Be not afraid.

That anonymous said...

Anonymous --I can't take your comments seriously and will not respond further until you demonstrate sincerity and good will. But, BTW, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

There are questions I would ask someone like me and I'm surprised no one has. For example, how do I reconcile being a Catholic with the Second Commandment:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them."

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Ex. 20:4-6.

That's a problem with the Catholic Church, and not entirely different from the temptation Daniel O'Hanlon S.J. succumbed to.

That anonymous said...

The Catechism on images:

"The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it."70 The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.

Catholic Catechism -- passage 2132