New Age Catholic Priest Joins Episcopalians, Backs 'Rave' Liturgy
Apr. 16, 1994
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A Roman Catholic priest who was censured by the Vatican has found a new home for his New Age blend of Christian mysticism, environmentalism, social justice and feminism.
The Rev. Matthew Fox was welcomed into the Episcopal church Friday, bringing with him his ''creation spirituality'' and his plans for a high-tech, multimedia Mass to lure youths back to Christianity.
The services will be similar to one developed in England, which used 42 television sets and 12 video cameras to record and rebroadcast sermons and the Mass, interspersed with images of American televangelists, industrial pollution and an embrace between President Clinton and Prime Minister John Major.
Fox also said he hopes to inaugurate what he calls the Virtual Institute of Creation Spirituality - an on-line system to teach spirituality through computers and local community work.
''Worship forms are working for some - maybe 10 percent,'' Fox said. ''But how can you say the liturgy is working for the people if 90 percent don't show up?''
Fox compares himself to 13th century theologians like Thomas Aquinas, who said revelation can be found in two places: the Bible and nature.
Fox ran afoul of the Vatican when he founded the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College in Oakland.
He also angered conservative Catholics by hiring faculty members who included a certified masseuse, a Zen Buddhist, a yoga teacher and a self- described witch named Starhawk.
In 1988, the church silenced Fox for a year. In 1993, he was expelled from the Dominican order after 33 years. The expulsion prevented him from performing the sacraments.
California's Episcopal bishop, William Swing, said Fox joined the Anglican church in January. If he completes his studies, he could begin administering sacraments by December.
No Catholic officials have complained about Fox's conversion, Swing said after welcoming Fox to Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Fox, 53, said he decided to join the Anglicans when a group of young people from northern England invited him to view the ''rave'' liturgy they developed.
The word ''rave'' refers to underground all-night dance parties that feature synthesized music, flashing visual images and heavy use of hallucinogenic drugs.
But the liturgy does not include drug use.
Fox invited the group to set up a similar service at Grace Cathedral and Swing has agreed.
''What better place to see it happen than in the Cathedral, with all of its archetypal power?'' Fox said.