This website is the home site of my criminal reformation apostolate; here you can find details about the Lampstand Foundation which I founded as a 501c (3) nonprofit corporation in Sacramento, California in 2003.
I also maintain a daily blog, The Catholic Eye, https://catholiceye.wordpress.com/
The work connected to the apostolate is listed under the home page categories (to your left) which I will be expanding as needed.
Though unpublished as an article, last year Lampstand published a book supporting the ordination of women to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, and in the Preface I wrote the following:
For this book, a quote from Groppe (2009) frames the over-arching theme:
In a culture that systematically denigrates, commodifies, and violates women’s bodies in advertising, film, and pornography, it is imperative that the church bear public and symbolic witness to the mystery that women and men alike can serve as an icon of Wisdom made flesh. (p. 171)
That is bare bone essence, isn’t it?
The Church stands in the world as a sign of contradiction and as the world since time immemorial excluded women from full personhood; the Church must ensure that within her embrace, woman’s full personhood is deeply rooted and complete; which can only be accomplished by priestly ordination and full equality with men in the leadership of the Church on earth as that equality is certainly so in Heaven.
I have come to believe, fully and completely, that the institutional Church has been wrong in not ordaining women to be priests; just as the Church was wrong for centuries in seeing the earth as the center of the solar system, and slavery as acceptable and usury not; and this wrongness, in the treatment of women, will become obvious to criminals being evangelized, for they know, better than most, the pain and sorrow of being marginalized, even though their marginalization is self-imposed while that of the women in the Church comes from the Vatican and twisted history.
Underneath and alongside the institutional church, the deeper reality of the supernatural church has always existed, the Church founded and shaped by Christ, the Church the people in their hearts have always seen—for the institutional church has too much that has been claimed as doctrine, then changed—but the supernatural church, the mystical church, has always known the true and equal power of the women in the Church.
My Catholic belief is centered on the Great Story; that throughout human history the idea of God has been prevalent within the human heart and mind; and of the four major religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, only three, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism can claim an individual as founder, and of them only one, Christianity, can claim a founder who was God; the other two merely claiming to be prophet and enlightened respectively.
Christ’s Godhood is certified by eye witness accounts of miracles he performed unexplainable by any human ability; in particular, his resurrection.
Christ formed his church on the rock of Peter, and the gates of hell have not prevailed against it, and as the Roman Catholic Church survives still, I know that, as a Catholic, I am of the People of God, and I am as certain that God is in the soul of each human being on earth.
“Question Authority”; that was the foundational mantra of the 1960s; choosing to question the authority that was instructing them to do something they felt was wrong and incorrect teaching is, unfortunately, an aspect of Catholic institutional life; but it is corrected by the Catholic teaching mandating listening to one’s conscience, as Gaudium et Spes (1965) teaches us:
- In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.
This comes from the point made in Romans 2:14-16:
14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
All human beings have the eternal written on their hearts and even within those who do not believe in God, even some who call themselves Humanists, as is evident when the father of Humanism, Abraham Maslow (1971) writes about the first step to the supreme heights a human being can reach, that of self-actualization:
As a simple first step toward self-actualization, I sometimes suggest to my students that when they a given a glass of wine and asked how they like it, they try a different way of responding. First, I suggest that they not look at the label on the bottle. Thus they will not use it to get any cue about whether or not they should like it. Next, I recommend that they close their eyes if possible and that they “make a hush.” Now they are ready to look within themselves and try to shut out the noise of the world so that they may savor the wine on their tongues and look to the “Supreme Court” inside themselves. Then, and only then, they may come out and say, “I like it” or I don’t like it.” (p. 46)
This “Supreme Court” is conscience, the ability to determine right from wrong or even good wine from bad wine, according to taste, the taste of a well-informed conscience, or, of listening, in that quietness, that “hush” , which, as Christians call it, the still small voice, which, when heeded, serves us well.
Catholic teaching is absolutely correct, one’s conscience, one’s connection with God, is surely what one must align with, which calls for the attitude, “trust but verify” and verify through our own study, our own conscience, our own listening to that still small voice from God, our own entering into the hush.
Catherine of Siena (1980) captures this elegantly, in The Dialogue, God is the speaker:
Imagine a circle traced on the ground, and in its center a tree sprouting with a shoot grafted into its side. The tree finds its nourishment in the soil within the expanse of the circle, but uprooted from the soil it would die fruitless. So think of the soul as a tree made for love and living only by love. Indeed, without this divine love, which is true and perfect charity, death would be her fruit instead of life. The circle in which this tree’s root, the soul’s love, must grow is true knowledge of herself, knowledge that is joined to me, who like the circle have neither beginning nor end. You can go round and round within this circle, finding neither end nor beginning, yet never leaving the circle. This knowledge of yourself, and of me within yourself, is grounded in the soil of true humility, which is as great as the expanse of the circle (which is the knowledge of yourself united with me, as I have said). But if your knowledge of yourself were isolated from me there would be no full circle at all. Instead there would be a beginning in self-knowledge, but apart from me it would end in confusion. (pp. 41-42)
David H. Lukenbill (2014) Women in the Church, St. Catherine of Siena, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, & Criminal Reformation. Sacramento, California: The Lampstand Foundation, Chulu Press. (pp 9-14)