The Fr. Richard Rohr Phenomenon

March 2006By Bryce Sibley

The Rev. Bryce Sibley, STL, who holds a Licentiate degree from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Rome, is Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Parks, Louisiana, in the Diocese of Lafayette.

During the past few years, I've noticed among Catholic circles a marked increase in the attention paid to the work of Fr. Richard Rohr. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Fr. Rohr wrote and spoke often on the Enneagram, but lately he seems to have abandoned "personality spirituality" for the now-popular "male spirituality." Through several recent visits to my own diocese, Rohr has attracted quite a local following. So, in order to better understand the increasing "Rohr phenomenon," I decided to purchase his most recent book, Adam's Return, and attend a conference given by him titled "Men Matter: A Quest for the True Self." Surprisingly, there were over 400 people in attendance, some having traveled hundreds of miles to be there. After reading the book, going through a few of his other writings, and then listening to his presentations, I have come to believe that Fr. Richard Rohr adheres to some very questionable, if not dangerous, beliefs. Although most of what he says and writes may appear harmless to most people, the discerning Catholic reader will notice that underneath the surface lie ideas and opinions, some of them fundamental to Rohr's message, that reside outside of the realm of orthodox Catholic teaching. I would like to look at a few of these ideas here.

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"Going to that deeper place, free of dogma, letting engagement lead to experiential Christian formation rather that revelation"? As an Episcopalian it sounds all too familiar. Posted by: martillo
September 19, 2007 12:25 PM EDT
Had a good laugh on this article with regard to Father Rohr's ideas. Several years ago, as a deacon candidate in a liberal eastern US diocese, we fellows heard of the father via a "way out" instructor/priest, who told us of this magnificent man who has made great strides with men. One classmate asked if this was the same Franciscan priest from New Mexico who was asked to leave one diocese after another for his "screwed up" male only retreats. The priest went ballistic on the man, and behind his back, went to the director of the program to have him tossed out of the program. Cooler heads prevailed however, and Tony will be ordained with us shortly. With regard to the RC Church, I have learned in my deacon classes to "shut up" and "toe the line", and later, do things correctly. I'm seeing that many of the more mature minded seminarians are privy to this "BS", and just give the professor/priest what he wants, and then follow Magisterium lines when they are ordained. Posted by: Pozzi
August 04, 2008 05:19 PM EDT
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