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"Strange Habits" at Womenspace Still Strange!


If concerned and scandalized Catholics believed that the activities involving nuns from Brisbane religious orders at the Womenspace Centre in Kedron, Brisbane, had ceased then they are in for a rude shock. Every indication is that it is still “business as usual”.

It would appear that Archbishop Bathersby’s mild admonition to the nuns “to ensure that matters that have caused concern and wonderment to many Catholics in recent weeks are adequately addressed” (Catholic Leader 13.1.02) has been largely ignored or at least made less identifiably “Catholic” under some superficial organizational changes.

For instance, the place has now been incorporated as a legal entity. Perhaps this is for the “canonical and legal reasons” mentioned in the Archbishop’s January statement. It is now "Women’s Space Association Inc." and its web site is hosted (would you believe?!) by the State Library of Queensland’s Community Web Publishing Project. However it is significant that one thing has not changed. The previous coordinator, Mercy Nun Sr Anne McLay, is now Chairperson and coordinator of the new incorporated body.

According to the “Womenspace” website, and Anne McLay’s own website, she is still enthusiastically promoting and teaching pagan Celtic spirituality. St Patrick would not be amused. St Patrick, who spent his life converting the Irish tribes from this very paganism to the Catholic Faith, who founded monasteries whose monks took that Faith to a Europe mired in the Dark Age, is being betrayed.

So too are those Catholics who still have the naive notion that a Catholic Nun, who claims to be a teacher, should be teaching the Catholic Faith - not delving into the dangerous depths of Celtic paganism and leading other women down the same path into the occult and New Age apostasy.

On her website, Anne McLay claims to be “in the Wise Women period of her life” and also says she has been teacher, writer, co-facilitator of Celtic workshops and retreats. The fact she is a member of a Catholic religious Order she has apparently thought “wiser” not to mention.

McLay is quite open about where her Celtic Pathways will lead. She uses shamanic*(?!) practices to "breath life" into your spiritual path, to deepen your mystical yearnings, to meet your spirit guides and power animals, to make a Shamanic journey to Other Worlds (Upper, Middle or Lower) and connect reverently with the Earth and all her beings. She talks of the Celts being aligned with the “spirits of nature”.

All this leads directly to the common New Age heresy of making a god of the Created rather then the Creator: to the Gnostic-inspired and ecology-based Creative Spirituality of that pantheistic, nature mystic, de-frocked Dominican priest, Matthew Fox.

If this not enough, then you can learn about the Celtic Tree Oracle as an “effective tool for receiving guidance”. It is made up of a set of cards based on the symbolism of the sacred trees of the Druidic alphabet, the ogham, used in “the transmission of hidden or inner knowledge. Want more? Then you can go on an Immran – a spiritual journey – by Caitlin Matthews (The Celtic Book of the Dead) who has devised another set of cards to map out your spiritual journey. Cartlin tells of her conversion (to what? Paganism?!) through entering the islands of the Otherworld.

When we talk about any power that is beyond ourselves and not from God, we are really talking about the occult. This is dangerous stuff! We should pray for Anne McLay, her clients and followers caught up in this shamanic journeying. It can only lead in one direction and it is not to Heaven.

The “god” of the New Age is not the God of Christianity or Judaism. To New Agers it is something like an impersonal energy or force of which the whole universe consists. This is but a form of pantheism. To us, to all Christians, God is the Creator and Lord of all. We are His Creatures. In the New Age “spiritualities”, Jesus becomes but one of the many spiritual masters who discovered His “higher self”. Accepting the apostasy of the New Age is to believe one can also become enlightened through our own efforts, not through Revelation and the Grace of God.

Then if you have had a couple of difficult days – instead of offering them up for the souls in Purgatory – Sister Anne McLay, in another session, can counsel you on Sacred Wounding, Dark Night of the Soul, Meeting the Dark Goddess, Entering Chaos and what it means for your spiritual journey! She doesn’t say what it might do for your immortal soul.

However the activities of Chairperson Anne McLay is but one segment of what is still going on at Womenspace. During May you could have gone to a meeting titled MARYFEST “at which a number of different women were to explore the image and understanding of Mary (we presume they mean Our Lady, the Mother of God!) in art, literature and contemporary theology, Celtic tradition and goddess spirituality”. Just what relationship could be found between Our Lady, the Mother of God, and Celtic paganism & goddess spirituality escapes us!

Or you could have gone to a WATAC (Women and the Australian Church) meeting. These are apparently held regularly at Womenspace. There you would learn that among the aims of WATAC are to:

  • model new ways of being church – the “discipleship of equals”
  • to promote the use of inclusive language
  • to work to change oppressive structures in church and society and in particular the issue of the ordination of women
  • to affirm the intrinsic goodness of human sexuality. Other visions of WATAC are
  • to give birth to a transformed church
  • to provide a forum for the searching and longing for an inclusive church.

    Observing all the varied activities offered at “Womenspace”, eco-feminism and New Age practices dominate the scene. The danger to the Faith of any unsuspecting women who get caught up in all this is obvious.

    New Age thinkers very quickly show what they believe about God. Their apostasy is that God is not a Supreme Being separate from Creation. No. He is Creation. All creatures are part of this divine essence - all creatures as well as inanimate objects. To follow this line of reasoning whatever exists – a person, a possum, a pumpkin – is part of God. This is just as extreme as the other widely held view of the atheists of secular humanism (where man is the center of all things) to the pantheism of the New Age (where man/woman is God).

    Ex-priest, Matthew Fox, time and time again committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit by exhorting his audiences to adore wicca, shamenism and goddess spirituality.

    A number of Catholic theologians have labeled eco-feminism as much more than a political movement. It is a new religion – a mandate to believe or perish. They claim that most eco-feminists are especially preoccupied with Gaia – the early goddess in Greek myths – the union with the One is called “cosmic consciousness”, God consciousness. They say: “we have no dogmas, no authorised texts or beliefs, no body to authorize anything, nor do we want one”.

    This thinking is expressed in the recent "Winter Solstice Ritual" at “Womenspace” where there was a gathering for a celebration ritual to honour the ongoing cosmic rhythm. Not to honour God, mind you, who created the cosmic rhythm but the cosmic rhythm as God. The old paganism is alive and thriving at “Womenspace”.

    Isn’t there some sort of contradiction here? The Archdiocese may have distanced itself “canonically and legally” from “Womanspace” but the scandal still remains. Here is a professed member of a Catholic religious order openly, in her website, seeking for customers to join her “Celtic Shamanic Pathways! A more apt description could be “pagan, occult pathways”. If the Mercy Order won’t act, still persisting in the absurdity that promoting “paganism” is within the charism of the saintly Founder of their Order, Blessed Catherine McAuley, then someone else should – and now!

    Jerimah:10.2 “Thus says the Lord. Learn NOT from the customs of the pagans and have no fear of the signs of the heavens though the pagans fear them.”


    H Berry, 1989, "Confident Living"
    Paul Likoudis, Catholic Resource Network, Trinity Communications
    Connie Marsher, 1999, "The Celtic Spirits' New Covenant"

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