In this video we are in Evanston, Illinois, visiting Tom and Mary Ellen Lavin. Tom is a Jungian analyst, and he tells us in colorful detail how he left the seminary before becoming a Catholic priest to study Jungian psychology in Zurich. He is very concerned and hopeful about what Jungian psychology can offer to believing Christians, and he asks questions like, "How can we get soul back?" His wife, Mary Ellen, is a clinical psychologist, and joins Tom in expressing her hopes and frustrations in the Jungian-Christian dialogue. Entertaining and thought provoking.
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Tom Lavin has a series of audiotapes available through: Jung Institute of Chicago, 1567 Maple Avenue, Evanston,IL 60201. Tel. 847-475-4848. Fax 847-475-4970, including A Primer of Jungian Psychology, Psychological Types, Psychological Development in Men: Fatherhood, Mythologies of Love and Marriage, Jung's Commentary on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Christian Shamanism: Visions of Nikolas of Flue, and more.
Visit their home page: http://nsn.nslsilus.org/wlkhome/ocp/melintro.html
Jim: Christianity has a tremendous need for a psychology like Jungs, and the wide-spread interest on the part of Christians in his psychology can be taken as a recognition of that fact. But the Jungian-Christian dialogue has been going on for more than 40 years, and something keeps it from flourishing. In this series of profiles we are going to meet people involved in different facets of this dialogue, and try to discover what is happening in it today, and what hopes there are for it in the future.
Today we are in Chicago near the Bahai Temple to talk with Thomas and Mary Ellen Lavin.
Tom: My name is Tom Lavin, and background in terms of how I got into Jungian psychology, and the beginning, what the person of Jung did for me. I was in a Roman Catholic seminary, and was on the verge of leaving after a year and a half, and I really felt I was losing my soul. I was doing what I was told to do, I was studying philosophy at age 19, metaphysics in Latin, the courses were in Latin, the textbooks were in Latin, and everything was in Latin. I felt I was losing my soul. Not only that, but there was also a community problem because people around me were having nervous breakdowns, and I felt that this qui regular vivet deus vivet kind of summed up the whole mentality. If you live according to a rule, you are living the divine life, and I found that I was strangled by rules, but then I was 19, and thats normal. But when you bring God into it, that makes it worse.
I was ready to leave, and a friend said, "Dont leave dumb. Leave smart, and it would be important for you to read more than philosophy in Latin before you leave. Its February. You cant get into another school anyway. Heres a list of books." And at the top of his list was Carl Gustav Jung, another person by the name of Joseph Goldbrunner and his book, Holiness is Wholeness, and that really touched me right away because I said there is something psychologically sick about this holiness stuff. But then it must be me. It must be my fault.
Anyway, I did read Jung, and from the very beginning of reading Jung and what I was given to read was Psychological Types the inference was, at least at the school I went to, God loves extraverted thinkers best. I dont know who she loves best, but at that time that was a strong inference, and as a helpless intuitive I didnt know what to do. I all of a sudden began to read that there is a place for everyone in the Kingdom, in humanity, in life. There is a place for every woman and every man and every type, and that every type has its own genius that can really serve other people, and in my case for me, the church, as well. I couldnt get enough of Jung, but at the same time I am reading Freud, Maslow, Carl Rogers was big. Time frame we are talking 1961 at this particular time. Eventually I left the seminary. I did stay. I didnt quit. I stayed for two more years of philosophy, and three years of theology, and prior to what would have been my ordination to what would have been at that time the diaconate and subdiaconate, the Archbishop of Chicago and I agreed to disagree. He felt there was a future for me in canon law, and if I wanted to study in Europe I could go to Rome. I, on the other hand, felt that my gifts were in other areas and wanted to go to Zurich and study Jung, and then come back and work with priests and nuns because by that time I was very much aware of what an ecclesiogenic neurosis was. So really, it was my own pain. It wasnt, "Gee, it would be a neat idea to study Jung." It was my pain and the people that I was studying with, working with, and not knowing what to do about this before this. But knowing that Jungs psychology was deep enough and wide enough to give me a foundation for a physics of the soul that I didnt see in other psychologists. Not that they didnt have a dynamic, not that there wasnt a lot of truth and a lot of genius, and I say that still today about Freud and Maslow and Rogers and others, but it is almost as though their containers were a bit small for the inner conflict, real religious conflict that I was feeling inside of myself, and I began to read Jung at this mans suggestion, among other people. But I thought, "Yep. Jungs where it is at for me." So I didnt get ordained. My own ethic was, how can I speak to people from a pulpit about the heart of God if I dont know anything about the heart of a person? Other people could do what they wanted, but I wanted to find out more about the person and her or his relationship with the divine. So thats what got me to Zurich.
I think it is really important to get a flavor of Zurich, what Zurich was, what training was, right after Jung died, because I showed up in Zurich in late 66, early 67. Jung died in 61, and it was really a little village. I likened it to do you remember the old double cookers? Zurich at that time was a double cooker in that you were cooked not only in your own analytical vessel, your own therapy, but the whole community was a vessel for becoming an analyst. Everybody knew everybody. I think many times too many people were in one anothers business, but thats my value judgment. But it was an absolutely fascinating time. I had corresponded while I was still in the seminary with Goldbrunner, and said I would like to come over as a deacon or a priest and study Jung at the Jung Institute, right there. What about that? And he said, "Fine. Come over." First it would be good if you learned German, so I did that in Germany at the Goethe Institute. I was studying at the University in Munich at the time, and I walked into the Directors study and said, "Hi, Im Tom Lavin and I would like to become an analyst. Goldbrunner sent me." He said, "Really? We didnt get your letter." I said, "I didnt write one. Im here." He was very kind. He said, "Why not come and have a cup of coffee." So we talked about becoming an analyst, and I talked about being a seminarian in Chicago, and he said, "Have you ever been analyzed?" And I said, "No." He said, "Not one hour of analysis?" And I said, "No." He said, "You know that analysis is the core of training. You do want to be analyzed, dont you?" And I said, "If I could get a "bye" on that, I kind of feel I have my shit together and I just came out of the seminary so I couldnt get into a hell of a lot of trouble." He said, "You want a "bye" on analysis?! Really." I said, "I came to learn how to do this with other people." He said, "Oh. If they did make you, if the Curatorium of the Jung Institute made you have analysis, who would you have analysis with?" And I said, "Goldbrunner said this professor Meier and a Dr. Frei are very good, and they work together, and you are supposed to work twice a week with a man, and twice a week with a woman, 4 times, I guess I could work with them." He said, "Do you have any idea that people wait years to work with them?" I said, "No. That probably means I should get a "bye". He said, "Uh huh. Why dont you call C.A. Meier up and see if you can get an appointment before you go back to Munich." So I did. And I walked into Meiers office and sat down. Meier looks at me, peers over his glasses, and the first question was, "Whats a "bye"? What does it mean, "bye?" I looked it up: "buy." I said, "No. Its "bye." He said, "You dont want analysis, do you?" I said, "Well, I dont mind, but Id rather not." So we go through this, and he laughed. He said, "You come from the Jesuit?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Hows your Latin?" I said, "I speak it and read it and write it fluently." So he got up and went over to the library and pulled out Cicero or Julius Caesar that I probably couldnt translate today, and he said, "Translate." So I did. He said, "Oh, thats very good, very, very good. For an American thats exquisite." He said, "Hows your Greek?" And I said, "Well " And he got up, and he found the Gospel of John in Greek, or somebody. So I translated. He said, "For an American, thats very good." And then he said something in German, and we began speaking in German. After ten minutes he stopped and he said in English, "Herr Lavin. You are educable. We will start on Monday. I will talk to Dr. Frei. You will see us four times a week, twice with me, twice with her, bring the dreams. We get started." And that was the beginning of the trip.
I was in therapy for 11 ½ years, the kid that didnt want it, who wanted a "bye," sometimes three times a week, sometimes two. Years later I got a letter from Meier from Zurich, and he said, "I would like you to be my biographer." And I cried. Hes got all these Swiss guys. I couldnt believe it. But I went over, and Ive got about 30 hours on tape, stories. Stories about himself, about Jung. Anyway, it is all written, done. Its in Italian now, but sooner or later it will be published in English. Mary Ellen and I were there last summer, and I said, "Ive got 30 hours of stories, good stories about you and Jung and whatever. May I do whatever I want with this?" He said, "Of course. I wouldnt have asked you to be my biographer if I didnt trust your discretion." There are some stories that sooner or later will come out, but he was wonderful in his way, very interesting, and Lilliana was really wonderful in her way, and I would think, "Oh, God. Here I am, bringing in the same dream. Hes going to talk about it. Ive already written it out, and shes going to talk about it. Its going to be so boring." I never had a boring hour because they worked wonderfully typologically, they were interested in different nuances, gender nuances that were there, and I really didnt need a "bye." At that time everyone knew everyone and knew who was going to whom. There were all sorts of biases in terms of who loved Jung the most, who was the better follower, and so on. Someone gave me very good advice when I got to Zurich. He took me out to lunch, and over lunch he said, "Look. Weve got some camps here. Theres this camp, and this is in this one. Basically, do your dream work, do your active imagination, take your courses, do your reading, do your analysis, and dont get caught up in the Jungian collective." And thats the same advice I give to somebody right now. Dont come in taking sides, the whites and the blacks, the greens and the reds, or whatever.
Oh, I have a wonderful dream I can tell you because I was to start maybe with, once I got in, I thought maybe I should be working with Jolanda Jacobi, the only Catholic because I am a Catholic, instead of Lilliana Frei who was Protestant one of the most spiritual persons I have met in my life. But again, should I go with the Catholic because most priests went to Jolanda Jacobi. While I am still thinking about this, I have a dream. I am standing on the bank of the river that goes through Zurich, and I am looking at the Guild House across the way. They had all of these guide houses for carpenters, and so on, so I am looking at the carpenters guild hall, and there are two doors. One door says Dr. Lilliana Frei and the other door says Dr. Jolanda Jacobi. I am standing there looking at the two doors, and this old Swiss man comes up next to me, and he says, "Can I help you?" And I looked and smiled. And he says, "Are you lost?" And I smiled at him and said, "Yeah, I am, but not the way you think. But thanks for your help. I dont need your help." And he looked at me and he said, "Look. After the first floor, it is all the same. It doesnt make any difference what door you go into first, whether Frei or Jacobi." And then he vanished. And that was the end of the dream. So I went with my heart and went with the Protestant instead of duty-bound going with the Catholic because after the beginnings of work with the soul, it is all the same. In the beginning the personality and the gender of the person you are working with is, indeed, going to influence you, but not determine you. The guild house had maybe 5 floors, and after the first encounter with someone who is in touch with her or his soul, it doesnt make any difference. The process has begun. You will never be the same. And then you can begin to enjoy it. It is not a question of right or wrong any more. Its a question of growing in a whole sense of gratitude about who you are becoming. In the beginning you are struggling and you have to deal with shadow stuff and the dark side, and talking to people about things you have never talked to anybody about, and thats why I chose to begin with a woman because I could always talk to the guys in the seminary. That was no problem. But with a woman? And so thats how I began.
I think that we have to look at contemporary Catholic groups as a group of people who are deflated, people who have not been given, or who have not given themselves permission to experience the spirit within, so instead of inspired, we are deflated as a group. I am not only talking about Catholic Christianity, either. The amount of our friends and relatives that are on Prozac in this country must be saying something. It is a metaphor as well as a necessity of what is going on in our culture. When things arent going right in culture, then we have to look at cult, and creed, and codes. If a culture is deflated and depressed and down, then we have to look at the same root of "cult" and say we have cultures of bacteria. In other words, we have something that gets special care is a culture, some thing or even person that feels himself to be different or special or in need of special care, because thats the root word etymologically, "cultus." Somehow special care is not being given. People dont feel they are special. People feel they are rather robot-y. People feel they have lost their spirit. Now it is not named, but if you travel around the country lecturing, as you do, you notice that there is a tremendous hunger for things of the spirit. There is a tremendous longing for a return of the soul. Thomas Moore has done a wonderful thing in allowing the word soul to be used again in polite company, or even academic company. People are using that word again. Its used in many ways. I dont care how its used, but that it is again coming into common parlance is very important, that we have a realization that we are more than just our egos. Now, what happens lets just take the Catholic Christian culture. What type of special attention is needed or necessary, the special care for this culture? I think we need to be aware of our own energy first and foremost. If you are inspired, you are aware of your breath, you are aware of your life force. I remember our younger son, Brian. The church we went to, the Newman Center, had the Gospel choir from Holy Cross Church down on the south side, and they came up and they sang. After Mass little Brian who was about 6 or 7 then turns to us and says, "Can we go down to 29th and Cottage Grove every Sunday for Church? This is neat." There was something where he was touched. Im not saying that we all go to Gospel choir, but that something was touched in this child, something very important. Music will touch the soul. There is a soullessness about contemporary Catholic practice. It is sad. All the icons Remember Joseph Campbell when Bill Moyers asked him, "Well, wheres your church?" And Campbell kind of leaned back and smiled and said, "Well, my parish is Chartre." Thats where the icons are. There is energy with the icons. People in the East, the Byzantine painter will fast before she or he paints an icon. There is a ritual in portraying an aspect of the divine. Theres soul in it. But sometimes I think that a wrangler in Wyoming knows more about soul than a Ph.D. in theology, but I mean that. You go the corral in Wyoming, and hell say, "You ride a lot? You want a spirited horse? You want Bess, or do you want Harry over here?" He knows what spirit is. He has a working definition of what spirit is. And you know the presence of spirit. Thats an important thing. It is more than semantics. It is a whole cosmology, the difference between spirit and soul. We have spirit. How do you know we have spirit? How do you know we have pneuma right here in Lake Michigan? Because there are waves, we can see the sails, we know that the wind is there through its effects. We dont know windy in a vacuum. You know spirit, and you also know, by the way, know archetype present because of its effects, and when that spirit is embodied, like in a person, you have soul, or soul food, and when the soul leaves the body, Thomas Aquinas, we go back into the realm of the spirit. All Saints Day, All Souls Day. We have a whole rich tradition in history to become remembered to, to become mindful of, to understand that we as a people, for whatever cultural reasons, and there is no blaming, because blaming is futile, and often unkind, and the ones we blame the most are ourselves. Sure, it makes money for analysts, but it doesnt do you any good. The idea of how do we get our soul back, how do we get yeast back into the body of Christ is a pivotal question, and I think it is a question that needs to be addressed not in RCIA or Christ renews our parish, or Mary renews our home, but rather, in very small groups of people who are open to one anothers wondering. And the whole idea of culture, cult, how we have a cell forming in this bacterial culture, and I think that there are cells of deeply caring, probing, feeling people who do want to feel their own spirit in their persons, in their church, and we do have to look at spiritualities, and I dont like the word "spirituality," to tell you the truth. It bothers the hell out of me. I understand it. You know the story of Bell Shamtof, the Hassidic story about the rabbi who finds the divine light in the forest and then his followers find the place where Bell Shamtof used to find the light, and then several decades later they know there is some forest some place where one could talk to the divine, they say. How many degrees are we removed from numinosity? How many degrees are we removed from the road to Emmaus? Not in terms of what happens in the church, but also our intercourse with one another, whether that be marital or social intercourse. We are spiritless, and that is the primary neurotic condition that we have to begin addressing as the people of the Book. We have a moral obligation, inner imperative, it seems to me, to begin to open our hearts and our minds up to our legacy. Christianity is an aristocracy of the spirit if we really look at it. But people dont want to deal with the ethical obligation, the ethos. People who are on a spiritual path are people who have pep, i.e., they are positive, they are energetic, and they are playful. What happens when we get bottlenecked? I think the whole question of loss of soul is one thing. Often it doesnt get that bad that people become dispirited, but we can say that things dont flow, or they are not in flow, or things get bottlenecked, that people cant feel their own energy any more. They dont feel inspired anymore. Then they leave, and they go looking here, there, and elsewhere for something that will break the bottleneck. I think there are a couple of things here. One important thing that Jungs psychology can offer religion as an institution is to validate the 8 functions, or vectors of energy, that thinking people learn that they can feel. Feeling people can learn that they can think. With thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition we can overuse them and then lose our spirit. Thats one. Or we can lose the spirit, the effervescence, if you will, because we are bottlenecked. Our energy is not able to get through, and that happens very much when you are with people who try to push the divine into a sensation, thinking, feeling or intuitive way. Each energy has its own history within the Church. The thinkers are the dogmatists, the sensation function people are the fundamentalists. Its right there, and thats it. Dot for dot, crossing Ts and so on. They bring us back to basics. Feeling people are enthusiastic in God, or in the divine. They stand out many times, or feel they have to, or stand up, or give witness. And intuitives, God help them us are people who really need to have a vision to get the energy going. We need the icon. We need to visualize, and so you have people who need facts. Other people are very much interested in form. Other people are interested in feeling. Other people are interested in fantasy. And to realize there is a place for all of this outside and inside, I dont have to be guilty about who I am, energetically, my physics is what it should be energetically, nor do I have to point fingers as we Christians have done for a millennia now at other people who dont see the divine, who dont approach as an extravert the divine, or receive the divine as an introvert the way I do. Its all sibling rivalry, and to get beyond that to a sense of a dynamic family where everybody belongs, thats not going to end suffering, but it will end a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of lack of support. I think theres a great distinction that we can make between being broken, and being broken open. All of us have been broken hearted because of under information, misinformation, no information, about how we can approach the divine as individuals and as a group. The question of the divine is always going to bring pain with it, but we have to ask ourselves the question, "Am I a person who has been broken, or am I broken open?" I would submit there is an ocean of difference, clinically, or in experience, there is an ocean of difference between being a broken hearted person and a person whose heart has been broken open because of family suffering, or personal suffering, bodily illnesses, or whatever. Lets look at our brokenness as a broken-open-ness, and that there is hope for us as individuals and as a people. We are not a divine joke even though we are very often confused. And I think we should sometimes just sit back and wonder and laugh. We are all fools. Now what was the worst thing as a kid? "Dont make a fool out of yourself." "You are representing our family. Dont make a fool out of yourself." I think inherent in the Gospels is, "Make a fool out of yourself. Become foolish, for Christ sake, or Buddhist sake, or whoever." Understand the archetype of the fool. Be able to laugh, and then to come back, really refreshed, to be able, as Jung was, and I think this was one of Jungs greatest contributions as he viewed Christianity, he was able to be in the valley and at the peak at the same time, or switch. This is so important because a meeting of Christians should not always sound like the annual meeting of the survivors of the Bataan Death March. The keening that goes on, the wailing that goes on, we are all victims, and I guess we have to take up our cross. But what about crossing over? I think we stay too much in the archetype of the martyr victim. We have forgotten how to dance. We have forgotten how to circumambulate mystery because we are too busy climbing the ladder. And now we are senior persons of Our Lady of the Last Thorn, and we find out the ladder is leaning up against the wrong wall. Thats devastating for those who are 50-something, or 60-something, and they have paid pew rent since they were kids. And now they are beginning to wonder whether the grail has left the grail castle. And in some places it has.
The problem is this. Do I lose hope in the grail, do I lose the energy for the quest just because I cant find it in my diocese, or in my parish, or my subculture? I think the importance of the quest is still on. Every morning, every dawning, is an occasion of wonder, not a source of temptation or despair. And I think thats what Jung adds very much to this, that the hope is psychologically justified, that the Church, like an individual, to go through shadowy times, or to know negative soul energy these are stages on the process. It is not the end of the line. And so as we make our circular journey and go into deeper dimensions of understanding, coming to terms with our life cycle and the cycle of the divine, we can be and should be very hopeful because in any intimate relationship we have the cycle of expansion, contraction, and resolution.
Mary Ellen: My name is Mary Ellen OHare Lavin, and was born here in Chicago, and have a slight background in Jungian psychology. I do want to start by telling a little bit about myself because I think it is important to describe this journey from an experience that I had. I was born into an Irish Catholic family. My father was from Ireland, and he died when I was 5 months old, leaving my mother to raise three children without much financial support. I grew up in the Catholic Church. One of the major things that my mother felt she had to do was to make sure that the 3 of us received a Catholic education. This was the least and the most important thing that she could do as a mother. My mother cleaned houses, and this was how we were able to support ourselves. Well, when I got to a certain age, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life, and I knew that as a woman living in a poverty of such that I didnt have money I had a rich life, but it wasnt financially supportive I knew that perhaps I could get an education by going into the Church, and so I joined the convent. I lived the life of poverty, chastity and obedience for 8 years. I also was able to earn a bachelors degree, which was very important to me as a young woman in the 1960s. I lived the life of a religious, but during that time I was also in communication with my own husband, Tom Lavin. Tom had been in the seminary, and he and I would communicate while we were living our religious life. When I was asked to take my final vows, I somehow was not drawn to the religious life as a celibate, nor was I drawn to the life of poverty, and so I said no and that I wanted to leave. I wrote Tom a letter he was studying at the Jung Institute in Zurich at the time and I said I am going to be leaving the convent. And Tom said, "Oh, thats wonderful because now we can get married." And I said, "Wait. Im not ready for that. I want to go out and find my life as a young woman, as an educator, or step out in the world. I have been in a cloistered existence." So Tom came home from Zurich that summer, and he and I were married, and we were married in October, and one week later we went off to live in Zurich. The irony was that we had no money, we had high hopes, and I knew nothing about this man Jung, and I really didnt care, to be honest with you. When we got to Zurich I avoided the Institute as much as I possibly could because I didnt feel that I fit in, and I didnt understand the whole idea, although I did enjoy the people I had met, namely, Lilliana Frei and Freddy Meier and Jolanda Jacobi, and we had some nice conversations, and I was not enthralled with them that I did enjoy visiting with them, and they were very inclusive with me. My mode of operation was to be a wife and a mother. I think because of my religious experience I saw that as the ideal for me, to be the support of my husband who was a student at the time. I became pregnant very soon. Tom and I laugh because we thought that since we had both been in religious life, we had been saving up that seed. We got pregnant quite fast and quite often. We of course werent able to stay in Zurich. It got very expensive. So we moved to Munich where Tom worked for the military and I was a teacher in the elementary school system. We eventually came back to Zurich because Tom needed to finish his studies, and it was at that time that I realized that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to have analysis. Here was the opportunity of a lifetime. We lived in this lovely little flat outside of Zurich. Once a week I would get on the tram with at that time 2 children in tow, and I would take them down to the department store, Yamolis. Yamolis had an agreement with the women in Zurich. They would baby-sit for them while the women of Zurich would shop. Well, I dropped the children off in the nursery under the pretense that I was going to go shopping, and instead I would hop on the trolley and go over and meet with Mary Breener, and I did this for a year. I was in analysis with Mary Breener while the children were at the nursery in the store, and I would pick them up afterward, and we would go home. Thats how we lived our life. Thats how I was introduced to Jungian psychology, and to paying attention to my dreams, and becoming perhaps more involved in a soul search that I hadnt found in religious life or in organized religion.
I do want to backtrack. I want to share a dream with you which I think was very important at the time I made the decision to leave the convent. I had had a dream that I was in a boat with another friend, and we were in our nuns habits, and I had my ring, which I still wear, which is interesting because the ring actually belonged to my great-grandmother, and somehow I was playing with it on my finger, and the ring fell off and went into the lake. So I said to my friend, "I have to go in search of the ring. It is very important to me." I dove into the water, and I couldnt find the ring that I was supposed to receive, or wear if I had taken final vows as a religious. Instead I found another ring, a ring that was made of brushed gold. I can remember diving down into the water, it was so vivid, and I came up, and I was not wet. I was still intact. I held the ring and looked around to see if anyone knew to whom the ring belonged. And there was an older man standing on a bridge. He waved at me, and I asked him if the ring was his. He said it was, but he had thrown it in. It was from his wife who had died, and that I could have the ring. That dream happened 28 years ago, but I still remember interpreting it somehow that I was giving up the ring of religious life, and I was finding another ring, a ring of more significance for me, a new life. And I think that the dream was probably helping me make that transition from religious life to married life, which is what we did. After many years living in Europe and being in background of Tom Tom as you know is very extraverted and Im very introverted, and thats probably why we married one another because we complement one another in a lot of ways I realized after raising our children, and they are now 26, 25 and 20 but when they were in their late teens I decided I wanted to return to school, and I took Tom for a walk along Lake Michigan, and I said, "Tom, Ive backed you in everything you have done in becoming an analyst and becoming a psychologist, and I want to go back, and I want to get my degree now." And Tom said, "Well, of course. Absolutely without a doubt." And so I did after raising the children and almost turning 50. I returned to class to earn my own doctorate in clinical psychology. I looked around for an institute that would honor my needs to deal with soul, and I found an institute and it was in Santa Barbara, California, the Pacifica Graduate Institute, and every month for 3 years I got on an airplane and flew to Santa Barbara. I would come home, and on Monday morning I would go in to teach at a school where I was teaching. So it has been a long journey of making my connection with Jungian psychology and honoring that intellectual side that had not been honored as a young woman within the Roman Catholic Church. And I feel that it was a very important part of my own development to go back and become something other. So it has been a long journey.
Several months ago Tom and I were invited to talk to the cardinal of Chicago, Cardinal Bernadine. We were among many invited guests, helpers, mental health helpers, and I sat with a group of people who were nodding in agreement with the Cardinal, and I really, truly felt very sorry for the Cardinal because he told a very sad story as I recall. The reason for the conference was because he was having a great deal of difficulty in the archdiocese in Chicago with pedophilia and with homosexual priests, and he didnt know how to deal with it, and he had called us together to get some feedback and some help. He began by telling a sad story. He said, "I went to a conference, and I was the only clergy person there, and at one point I had to use the mens room. I walked into the mens room and I looked into the mirror, and I saw myself with my Roman collar, and I put my hand up this way," and he felt a tinge of "I am not with my own" he was not with his brother priests and he implied that he was embarrassed, not ashamed, but he didnt know how to deal with his feelings at that time. It was a very sad statement. I think the whole crowd of people sitting with me felt very sympathetic to him. Then he began talking about the sadness that he was feeling because of the amount of repercussions from priests who had abused young children in his diocese, the litigation that was going on in the archdiocese, the number of priests who were declaring that they were homosexual, the number of priests who had died of AIDS, and his sadness about this, and I was sitting there thinking. Because of my own development I am still a Roman Catholic but I think I am on the fringe because my catholicity is centered around a more nurturing, feminine image, if you will, and I sat and listened to the Cardinal with my heart pumping and my jugular moving on my neck because I knew I had to say something to this man. My husband looked over at me and said, "Oh, there she goes, she is going to say something." So I raised my hand, and I said, "Your Eminence, I have great empathy for what you have expressed, but I must tell you that unless you let the feminine in the front door, in a positive fashion, she will come in, but she will come in in the backdoor in the negative, and I am afraid thats what you have with regard to the problems that you are experiencing. Furthermore, the word seminary has the same etymology as the word semen, and I think you are not teaching your young men what to do with their semen." Well, I must admit the reaction I got from him was disbelief. I am not sure if he was angry, disappointed, surprised, it was just a blank stare, and I thought, "Oh, my Lord, what did I say?" But somehow I was moved not by who I am as a person but from inner spirit, inner part of me that had to speak that, and it seems so very obvious to me that the Church has not let the feminine in, and I dont see that feminine being honored, even in the next few years. Hopefully by the end of the year 2000 we will see some changes in the Church, but as it stands right now, there is no place for women. In fact, when it comes to the "Our Father," I cant say the "Our Father" at Mass. I halt and I wait, and when we get to part that says, "Give us this day our daily bread," then I join in because I cant think of my church as kingdoms and powers and glories. That has nothing to say to me as a woman. I am a woman who nurtures and helps and gardens and kneads bread and embraces. I am not a woman who carries staffs and runs kingdoms, and so I cant identify with that. The Church to me seems to leave my type of person out on the stairs. We are welcome, but we are only welcome with certain stipulations. I said that to the Cardinal, and I must admit I havent been invited back to any more meetings. And thats all right. Thats OK. Its their loss.
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