In today’s episode of Healing from Within, your host Sheryl Glick welcomes Dr. Joseph Wenke for a return visit to the show. Dr Joseph Wenke is the author of You’ve Got to Be Kidding, and his newest book Papal Bull. Dr. Wenke seeks to imbue readers with their own intuitive sense for pursuing life in a loving way and to reevaluate earlier beliefs untruths, or repetitive behaviors by the Catholic church as well as other religions. When religion separates one from the Unity of connection the soul and spirit is sometimes denied the freedom to find God-or the Universal Source of life in their own way.. without prejudice, restrictions, fears, and cohesion by enforced man made belief systems that may serve an antiquated view of God but not the total vision necessary for freedom of self-discovery, individualized thought and free will.
Sheryl shares with Joe that the goals of “Healing from Within,” are to offer through the experiences, research and multi-dimensional views of authors and guests through their metaphysical studies, religion, science, medicine, and the arts questions that concern life and death and both the spiritual and physical aspects of life attempting to offer the means for self-investigation, self-mastery of our emotions and behaviors, and the means for change as change is inevitable and also desirable in the continued evolution of man. The goal of course is to find how we may create our lives in a more open-minded, therefore, healthier way.
Dr. Wenke was born the oldest of eleven children in a strict Catholic family in South Philadelphia and attended a long line of Catholic schools including the University of Notre Dame. He received an M.A. in English from Penn State and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut. In his study of the Catholic Church, its history, practices and beliefs with equal parts revelation, inquisition and humor he hopes to rekindle in readers their sense of humor so they can rethink what is presently known about the Catholic Church. I believe these inquires apply to the way all religions work…often within a limited and narrow framework of rules from the past that often create separation between other religious theories, people, and nations and from a more conscious way of finding our true potential to thrive and love.
Joe relates his own view of his early Catholic school experiences from the 50’s and 60’s and the impact it had on him. He says school was boring and regimented, corporal punishment existed. Some teachers were very young and had only graduated from high school with no teaching credentials. Religious instruction was also done primarily by rote memorization . Time for questions and intuitive or personal connections to the material was not available. Therefore the imagination and creative aspect of the child and soul were not fully attended to. Sheryl goes on to say religion, as indeed every form of education, should have a creative aspect as we are each as unique as our individual fingerprints and education should be the development of our multiple types of intelligence: visual, mathematical, linguistic, athletic, spiritual, artistic, musical and intellectual.
Joe mentions that when he was studying at Notre Dame he began to realize he had not met a single person from outside his racial and cultural group until he was eighteen, but unfortunately he was aware of how blacks and Protestants were viewed by his community. He became aware that these views were to influence his writing and the values he now holds dear. Sheryl goes on to say she was raised in a Jewish community though not a religious household and the ideas of many families and religious leaders were very similar. “Stay in your own group” was the philosophy of the day…and to some extent that ideology still lingers when people send their children to religious schools separating them from other new ideas and people.
Joe goes on to discuss his view of confession and how this aspect of religious tradition created a whole Catholic guilt trip for him. As he reflects now on his experience of baby boom Catholicism, he remembers there were too many people, no money, racism, corporal punishment, bad education, boredom and loads of guilt trips. Joe says, “The only thing that saved me and a lot of kids like me was rock and roll and the Beatles…” The freedom of that expression through music supported the development of many teenagers as they sought their own self-development and a detachment from parents and limiting belief systems. Of course Sheryl believes the Beatles focused on freedom love and Universal tolerance or unity and concepts of humanity beyond religious dogma..that is why I believe all teenagers were mesmerized by their music and the rock and roll movement as a way out of their mundane existence. Many were seeking God or Oneness with all of life but it wasn’t found in most religious experiences. Sheryl believes we are born to remember that divine spark of universal life or God within us even though it remains buried deep within our soul or subconscious. Sometimes thinking about the inequity of certain belief systems, hardships, chaos and confusion lead to our discovering the true nature and beauty of life. In that way any system or ideology that makes us question is indeed serving a purpose.
Dr. Wenke says the Catholic Church assumes when you die it is Judgment Day. Do you think God or any divine soul judges another soul? Sheryl says to Joe, “You say you are an atheist, but maybe just have another way to view the God force or creation other than by controlled religious dogma”. Joe questions God by saying “Who has a right to judge me? I didn’t ask to be born, I didn’t ask to choose my parents, I didn’t select my genes.” Sheryl goes on to say, “Actually, many intuitives mediums near death experience survivors and people of various religions who meditate and transcend this reality to higher consciousness, myself included, will profess that we do have a life plan and did indeed choose before we incarnated into this life all the characteristics of our life that would serve to further our souls development. Sheryl also believes we do have a life plan and destiny and are here to gather experiences that lead us to refine our soul energy and to interact in more loving accepting and humane ways. Books that question how life began and the reasons for living all share this search for that higher aspect of compassion and a more accurate truth about the human and divine connection.
Joe says in regard to free will and how it relates to the concept of sin and all the guilt so many people struggle with may be a a result of earlier religious training and for him it is quite simple. “Since God created everything no human being is responsible for anything and we are personally responsible to stand up for ourselves both here on earth and beyond”. On the concept of Purgatory and Hell- are they the same? Are they physical places? How does the Old and New Testament address this concept? The Old Testament says that “Sheol” was under the earth and everyone goes there when they die because there was no awareness of Heaven yet until Jesus died and brought attention to that place. All of the ancient great Theologians agree that in addition to human suffering separation from God is actually the worst pain of all, and that is probably the reason so many people deal with loneliness as a physical life offers many ways to explore our own interests but a spiritual life gives us the peace and calm that transcend the human condition.
Sheryl goes on to say she is so fortunate because she was never taught much religious dogma, only the stories of the Patriarchs or ancient messengers of God and the holidays of the Jewish people- Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and those holidays all revolved around survival, courage, family, and God protecting the people against the evil men did. These holidays were also the stories of men and women who honored the best qualities of humanity so they were honorable loving and cooperative. Sheryl never thought about death very much because she really did not think it existed. But if she did think about it at all, it was simply a return to God wherever his energy and life force existed. Now as a Reiki Master Teacher, medium and healer Sheryl believes all religions are the beginning way to honor life- both human and eternal but cannot believe in hell as we are not judged but loved unconditionally and offered continuous opportunities to grow. We may share a life review at the time of our death to learn how we responded while in our physical life but that is merely to learn how others felt in regard to our choice and action… merely a learning experience not punishment.
Joe wrote and I quote..”The idea of an all –loving, all-knowing God who sends to Hell, who condemns to never ending torture in an inextinguishable fire, just about everyone he creates, is one of the funniest things imaginable. I would think human beings who accept this must not be using any reason”. Sheryl says, says there is no death, only transformation or ascension to another form of energetic life. Spiritualists believe that sensitive people, highly attuned to higher energy, are able to gather information from souls in that dimension or in Heaven or Afterlife. Sheryl is one such person and can attest to the truth she has discovered and to the truth discovered by those who had a Near death experience that consciousness survives physical Death.
Sheryl mentions Christophor Coppes, a former guest on the show and author of “The Essence of Religion” which is a comparison of the 5 Major Religions and how Near Death Experiences may give the clearest view of how religion seeks to answer the questions of Heaven, Hell, life, death. Christophor also cared for a dear friend suffering from HIV-Aids in the final time of his life and as a leader in the field of Finance and also the head of the Near Death Association in the Netherlands, is both a spiritual and scientific seeker to age old questions. The Essence of Religion is a great resource book for those wishing to see the similarities and differences of the major worldwide religions.
Sheryl mentions that 4000 years ago The Essenes, a mystical group of the Jewish faith, believed in Angels and an Afterlife…but the practical orthodox leader of the faith blew off these people who understood The Visible and Invisible realms of life. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was believed my some to have been raised within a group of Essenes and of course was able to communicate as do all sensitives to Spirit. So it was not so unusual for reports of people to speak with Angels or other aspects of God as it has been so throughout time.
In Papal Bull Dr. Wenke gives an extensive list of possible/probable mortal sins which include; 1 faith in Astrology 2 faith in Eastern Philosophies 3 Faith in Atheism 4 Being part of Planned Parenthood 5 Sympathizing with Gay Right Groups or Pro Choice Groups 6 Marriage by a Justice of the Peace 7 Failing to eat properly, and becoming anorexic through Vanity 8 Taking Illegal Drugs 9 Excessive body piercings. 10 Sex Before Marriage 11 Impure Television or Movies 12 Lots of ideas about sexual behavior and what is approved or not approved including artificial insemination or in vitro if unable to conceive and many, many more. Sheryl believes God doesn’t judge, God just loves –Unconditionally. God does not create sin, suffering or pain, but gives us a world and mind body and free will to find the beauty within ourselves and others and the ability to create miracles not sin.
Joe goes on to write, most people want to go to heaven because it means they don’t want to go to hell. Sheryl goes on describe her view as a healing medium what an afterlife might really be. As a medium receiving messages all the time for clients, Sheryl feels and experiences the endless possibilities for growth, expansion and love through the messages she receives in extra-sensory ways such as clairsentiently, clairvoyantly, clairaudiently and clairknowing. We are of course much more than we appear to be, and life, a physical life, gives us the chance to find out more about our energetic connections to both those here on the planet and those beyond. Hardships, challenges and death are the ways of a physical life that we chose so we may learn from those experiences that these experiences are the stuff that divine things are made of…. ALL a means to a marvelous realization of life love and eternal goodness.
Joe does not believe the church values the higher aspects of our being but instead focuses on the baser elements such as sin, suffering, and redemption. Sheryl’s belief is that Jesus was inclined to show the miraculous force of life and how we must connect to each other, God and create miracles as that is what he showed us. Often religion fails to adequately show and focus on Jesus and other spiritual messages of God whose prime objectives were love based for the development of everyone’s magnificence soul presence and also the way to understand Energy, expanding evolution and Eternal Life. Didn’t Jesus say “You will do what I do and more”? Could that imply a clearer personal connection to Universal Energy or the force of all life? Sheryl believes the Christ Consciousness and Wisdom is to know we are each a part of that Oneness and Unity of life regardless of what religion we practice.. that is the Christ Consciousness..a higher regard for life and for our souls and this mind set can be achieved without fear of judgment by Spirit or Man.
Now to the final and most appalling condition Joe found not only in the Catholic Church but indeed in many religions and what he believes is a false belief and one not by God but by Man issued by St. Irenaeus in this quote; “Nature and the law place the woman in a subordinate condition to a man..” Pope Leo XIII wrote “The husband is the ruler of the family and the head of the wife: the woman as flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone is to be subordinate and obedient to the husband.” All the other religions assert similar ideas… Since they were written and established in ancient times when life was fragile and strong measures had to be applied just to survive the harsh conditions of life and limited resources, many religious rules seem to be overly controlling, stringent, and inflexible and self serving. Anyone who understands how energy and the life force work according to Quantum Physics knows God is not male or female: in our underdeveloped primitive minds we ascribed these attributes to the concept of God and foster thereof a hierarchy or caste system elevating men and limiting women. Since women are able to bear children Sheryl would think they have a huge advantage and might have been given this gift because of their spiritual and divine hopes for all their children- male or female and Gods favor. Seriously, we need to rethink our thoughts in alignment with God’s thoughts in regard to gender, sin, suffering, and any form of prejudice.. and perhaps recognize the limitations of the ancient laws and may not be God’s plan but man’s weakness.
Sheryl quotes The Church and the Second Sex, by Mary Daly who writes, “an element of the misogynistic cast of Catholic moral theology and two other sources of such belief in the Hebrew and Greek philosophy suggest that St. Paul asserted a savagely antifeminist view of inferiority. This idea served the patriarchal institutions by saying that the idea of women’s special sinfulness, stemming from commonly held interpretations of the Bible combined with a notion of her inferior nature affirmed in Aristotelian philosophy thus made it seem that the sociological fact of women’s subordination was inscribed in Heaven.”
In regard to the Christian antifeminism and anti-sexuality beliefs, Simon De Beauvoir in The Church and the Second Sex writes, “The fact that the Church serves a patriarchal society is said to be at the root of its moral attitudes toward women and its cause is to perpetuate the family…hence the Church perpetuates a double standard of morality.” Mary goes on to say “We have seen that Simone de Beauvoir’s position on the role of Christianity in the oppression of women is justified.. however we do not nor does she believe that the Church alone can be blamed for the oppressive situations that have arisen in the process of evolution. Now that humanity appears to be in a transitional stage we are experiencing a division between the liberal and conservative members of all religious communities.” This division and reassessment of several out of date and unrealistic concepts regarding male and female roles will hopefully bring about the necessary adjustments to make the religious attitudes reflect a more equalitarian view of how God values all his children.
In April 5, 2012 Pope Benedict XV1 condemned the disobedience of priests who call for the ordination of women stating that these priests are disregarding definitive decisions of the Church’s Magisterium and citing the fact that “Blessed Pope John Paul 11 stated irrevocably that the church has received no authority from the Lord” to ordain women….Does this imply that Pope John Paul is a medium and actually downloading the word of God or was it his human approach to this long held church practice.? Bravo to those brave priests and women who see past the ego minded power leaders and financial agendas of those in any religion that seek to deny a human being male or female from aligning to the Divine and Universal Source for fulfilling their soul destiny to develop and explore and practice their God given spiritual gifts.
Joe gives a quote in his chapter “You Don’t Say” from St Isadore of Seville, “The more we are afflicted in this world the greater is our assurance in the next: the more sorrow in the present, the greater will be our joy in the future.” Why should we wait for joy in the next life when it can be achieved in this one. It may be an unconscious attitude or thought such as this that allows people to buy into suffering and hinders them from creating the most joyful and positive life experience which Sheryl, as a medium, believes creates our next life experience beyond this human dimension. It is the belief of many enlightened people that we were not born to suffer for our natural state as a soul being is to create our own story and make choices that deal effectively with the human condition and our physical life..Many know we are born to love, find peace and joy. What we do in this life in regards to our own personal development and in relating to others is what we are creating for our next life experience and what we will find waiting for us in our next state of life beyond this one.
This is from a quote from Walter Ph.D. Respect For Other Religions? Catholic Family News August 1997 . “The present emphasis placed on respecting other religions has contributed to indifferentism spreading the wildfire among the Catholic faithful. Indifferentism involves believing that one faith is as good as another and that all faiths merit salvation. The only sound conclusion for all Roman Catholics is to respect only one religion, the True religion founded by Christ himself: the Roman Catholic Faith. To give esteem or regard to other false religions is to betray our Savior as Judas betrayed him with thirty pieces of silver.” Sheryl feels it is in learning about the history of religion and the evolution of humanity that we realize that we are all part of the divine plan and may find our way to knowing God from within. Respect for all approaches that search for God are indeed noble. No one who truly seeks to know God would stop another person from finding Him in a way that best suits that person’s spiritual journey. In conclusion, all beliefs and systems are only other people’s thoughts. Sheryl and Joe ask you to seek your own thoughts on these very personal issues.
No issue other than religion has caused more harm to developing young people than the guilt that surrounds the issues of sex, birth control, and procreation. According to the Catholic Church the purpose of sex is procreation and other Christian denominations say the same thing. Joe say’s if there’s one thing the church is really good at, it’s building maximum-security prisons of the mind. Sex is only allowed within marriage and only when it allows for procreation. All other sexual encounters are a mortal sin violating natural law. Not only do religions, but various cultures offer their restrictive attitudes about what is right and wrong and how our young adults think about sex. As in everything else, we would hope that loving attitudes would show the way to good and healthy relationships and to enjoy a physical and spiritual life without fear, judgment and the opinions of others making us feel guilty. Sheryl Richardson, a spiritual seeker, simply said if it feels right, it is right for you. We hope that everyone uses their own intuition and inner knowing to enjoy one of life’s greatest gifts- the intimacy of loving another human being.
A quote by Ursula King, a professor of theology at the University of Bristol, is “ We have to uncover much that has been hidden, left out or forgotten: it means that we have to remake, rewrite and reinterpret much that has gone on in the history of our religious traditions.”
In Sheryl’s humble opinion….As evolving human beings it is hard to base our trust in perhaps outdated or incorrect dogma and philosophy..Connecting to the source or God I believe is indeed a personal journey, unique for each of us, and should not be restricted by anyone who professes to know the mysteries of the ancient religions. All Religions should emphasize Oneness and Unity for all and if it does not, then it has missed the mark and needs to be rethought.