Question re: book called "Good Goats" by Dennis Linn

Hello:

I am currently in the first year of a 4 1/2 year Diaconate Formation Program for the Diocese of Joliet, IL. We just completed a course in fundamental Catholic theology that was taught by a retired bishop, and it was fine, all the materials were completely orthodox.

However, as we start the next course, we are confronted with a text called “Good Goats, Healing our image of God,” by Dennis, Matthew and Sheila Linn. This book is embarrassing and repulsive, and is part of a course called “Personal Skills for Deacons.” In short, the text states that we must let go of our image of God as a stern male and forget about hell, as God would never send anyone to hell. The text exhorts us to nuture our feminine side, and also takes shots at capitalism and the US government. I was wondering if anyone is familar with these people and/or the book, and could you give me some citations/comments/material for the class discussion.

Thank you for your blessed work.

In Christ,

Gary Menozzi

[quote=Gary Menozzi]Hello:

I am currently in the first year of a 4 1/2 year Diaconate Formation Program for the Diocese of Joliet, IL. We just completed a course in fundamental Catholic theology that was taught by a retired bishop, and it was fine, all the materials were completely orthodox.

However, as we start the next course, we are confronted with a text called “Good Goats, Healing our image of God,” by Dennis, Matthew and Sheila Linn. This book is embarrassing and repulsive, and is part of a course called “Personal Skills for Deacons.” In short, the text states that we must let go of our image of God as a stern male and forget about hell, as God would never send anyone to hell. The text exhorts us to nuture our feminine side, and also takes shots at capitalism and the US government. I was wondering if anyone is familar with these people and/or the book, and could you give me some citations/comments/material for the class discussion.

Thank you for your blessed work.

In Christ,

Gary Menozzi
[/quote]

Hello Gary,

I would ask your instructor why he thinks Jesus pushes the concept of hell and damnation if your instructor thinks to do so is so evil. Moses and Old Testament did not give us the burning in hell with Satan concept, Jesus did. I would suggest you go through the New Testament and print out all the times Jesus warns where He will not forgive someone, He will burn someone in Gehenna or he will send someone to eternal damnation. See what your instructor has to say. Or visit WARNING! Jesus Does Not Forgive All and print it out. Take it to class and discuss it.

Go to your parish priest with your queries about this book and if he is not concerned take your queries to your bishop. If that doesn’t help take your concerns to Rome. Adoremus or the St Joseph Foundation should be able to give you the correct address and help you word your letter.

Perhaps the retired bishop who gave othodox instruction might be able to give you some advice.

If it walks like a snake, and quacks like a snake…

I just came across this horrible book filled with dissent and heresy. This book has the appearance of a children’s book complete with illustrations of goats and sheep happily playing together though Christ said he would separate the sheep and the goats. The book claims that it’s denial of the doctrine of hell is one of three orthodox positions acceptable in the Church. It quotes Protestants heavily as well. A big deal is made by the authors about the Impimi Potest the book received from the Jesuits - but the book conspicuously lacks an Imprimatur. This is actually the first time I have seen the Impimi Potest withou and Impramatur.

I suspect that there may be anti-Catholic infiltrators at Paulist Press. What else explains a once good publisher putting out such secularist garbage and casing confusion among the laity? The Freemasons are pretty into goats from what I understand. They’re also into Egyptian religion. Were the ancient Egyptaians goats? You bet! As Jesus said, the goats are those who refused to show mercy to the poor and the Egyptians treated the Hebrew strangers in their land horribly by breaking covenant with them and enslaving them to the point of taking away their alottment of straw for bricks and trying to committ mass genocide against them. I think the Linns are infiltrators who hate the Church.

The doctrine of hell shows how high is man’s dignity. Those who deny hell take away man’s responsibility and thus His human dignity. The Linn’s argued that our view of God affects who we are. They have a finite God who doesn’t think too highly of man and so of course they will teach error in his name. Only a finite god teaches error.

It’s interesting that this book is available at VH1’s website under “Deism.” Since when is VH1 into selling Catholic books? It’s not!

Patrissimo

I just discovered a universalist website called Universalist Herald which lists Good Goats as a universalist book for kids. Universalism is not and has never been the teaching of the Church. I am actually a little surprised that there isn’t more of an outrage over this book which was clearly designed to confuse weak Catholics. Any clergy who would endorse this book should be sent far far away where they can’t hurt our young and weak.

Read any universalist or annihilationist literature and you will see that proponents of such positions invariably reduce man’s dignity to that of infants or animals and reduce God to being a finite being who isn’t too concerned with what we do.

Patrissimo

The Linn Brothers were two Catholic priests. Sheila was a nun/sister. They were heavy into the Charismatic Healing Movement. Eventually I think it was Dennis who married Sheila. I think one of the two is dead now. They were considered Guru’s in the 70’s for “with-it Catholics.” I am frankly surprised that anyone at this time in history would use one of their books for deaconate formation. I can’t recall if they were also involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement or not.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, there were a lot of “with-it” Catholics in the 70s who did tremendous damage to the faithful. I can’t believe how bad this book is. It’s intention is clearly to get Catholics out of the Church - just like the so-called charismatic movement.

Any clergy or teachers who would use this book should be dealt with decisively before they do even more damage to an already suffering Church. As it is, I am more and more convinced all the time that these sort of “Catholics” are infiltrators whose purpose is to weaken the Church.

Patrissimo

I hadn’t heard of their current status. Very sorry to hear it. I went to some of their talks in the 70’s which were very good. I still have a book of theirs on preparing people for death which I find very good. Sounds like they really went off the tracks.

I just checked their website, and no one looks dead to me: linnministries.org/about_linn_ministries.htm
They’ve got lots of retreats and workshops scheduled this year, including many in Latin America.

I’ve found some of their books to be very healing in overcoming issues I’ve had with scrupulosity. In some cases, in their efforts to help Catholics recover from deep emotional wounds from their past that have religious components to them, I can now look back and see how the Linns may have placed their bets on some “bad horses” in some cases (like passing fads, rather than something that might be labled as a full-blown heresy), so to speak; but in my opinion the good that they do outweighs the bad.

I may be mistaken, but I think I remember priest-psychologist Fr. Benedict Groeschel favorably recommend some of their works to people. I could be wrong; I’ll look around and see I can back this clam up and get back to this thread another time. . .

The illustrations showing sheep and goats playing happily together is theologically incorrect. Jesus will separate the two and only sheep will enter heaven - not sheep and goats.

Patrissimo

I have been a Roman Catholic clergy for 27 years this month. I must admit, these posts against this book and it’s teachings are among the saddest and most disgusting I have ever read. They reflect an absolute ignorance of Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the teaching of the catholic church at it’s highest levels, not to mention unimaginable arrogance and intolerance of those God loves so much that He sent His only Son to die for. How anyone who speaks like this can conceivably consider a call to the clergy is beyond me. You are all in my prayers tonight. Learn your Holy church. Lear her teachings.
For the sake of Jesus, learn some humility and tolerance.

See** Crossing the Threshold of Hope** by His Holiness John Paul II,* Does “Eternal Life Exist?”* [Note that this work provides his answers as a theologian to an interviewer; not official teaching of his office.] I pulled this up from a Bing link to www.excerptsofinri.com/printable/​crossing_the_threshold_​ofhope… I can’t get the whole link. It just opens in Adobe reader when I click the Bing reference.]

The problem of hell has always disturbed great thinkers in the Church, beginning with Origen and continuing in our time with Sergey Bulgakov and Hans Urs von Balthasar. In point of fact, the ancient councils rejected the theory of the “final apocatastasis,” according to which the world would be regenerated after destruction, and every creature would be saved; a theory which indirectly abolished hell. But the problem remains. Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf.Mt 25:46).

At the same time, however, there is something in man’s moral conscience itself that rebels against any loss of this conviction: Is not God who is Love also ultimate Justice? Can He tolerate these terrible crimes, can they go unpunished? Isn’t final punishment in some way necessary in order to reestablish moral equilibrium in the complex history of humanity? Is not hell in a certain sense the ultimate safeguard of man’s moral conscience?

A lifespan of 20,40,60,80 years weighed against an eternal punishment. Really ? Nothing about that makes me think of perfect love or unconditional love. With my own very limited ability to love, I couldn’t do that to my own child. I just have a feeling God loves us, His own creation, at least as much as I love my own child. Punishment? Maybe. Eternal punishment? Does not compute if Jesus speaks the truth about our Father. Such talk as in Matthew 25 is about urgency and importance, more than reality. I can assure you that the church, as in magisterium, has never officially taken a stance on the existence of a place called hell. They never will. They understandably can’t. Now it has been often taught by church leaders and teachers but not Mother Church. Anyone who has eternal punishment hanging over their head no longer has the freedom to love God…they are only obedient to God out of fear and they know it. Is that what God wants? No, it is not. By the way, thank you for your post.

Someplace I once saw a short summary of the Book of Job -

Job: * God, I don’'t understand You.*

God:* Well, at least you have learned that much.*

Love it !!! Thanks

The following is just my speculation. My field is physics; far from theology.

God’s love has often been compared to a great fire. I think one must love God intensely to capable of receiving His Love as great pleasure rather than pain. To come into His presence without a great love for Him would be akin to going to a Florida beach from New England without adequate sun protection. What would be a pleasure to one properly prepared is unendurable agony to one unprepared.

Purgatory finishes the preparation of those who are insufficiently prepared.

Hell is a shelter for those who refuse to love Him. Like hiding behind a large rock on the Florida beach, one only experiences an attenuated form of His Love, which is still unendurable agony.

I once read an account, probably fictional, of a woman saint who beseeched God to allow a soul to come to Heaven from Hell. He allowed her to choose one and bring it to Heaven. Upon arrival it screamed in ever greater agony. It complained that God was unjust. It admitted that it deserved Hell for its actions in life, but claimed that God was unjust to allow this woman to impose even greater suffering by bringing it to Heaven, which was much worse.

Why do we need the graces offered by the sacraments? This sounds a whole lot like ‘“Eternal Security”. Let’s just live as we like, for we know there is no punishment for our personal sins once we have accepted Jesus’ saving grace. If we want to live by the rules set down by Jesus, fine, but it is not required. I do not mean to sound obtuse, but this sounds a whole lot like the premise of several forms of protestantism.
Does the CCC have anything to say regarding this?

IV. HELL

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621

I have heard that a young man once informed Saint (Padre) Pio that he did not believe in Hell. Saint Pio told him not to worry, “You will when you get there.”

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