Interview by Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
RICHARD ROHR: There’s no place where you can’t pray.
JUDY VALENTE, correspondent: Richard Rohr, a Catholic priest, is addressing a packed house at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.
ROHR: I love beautiful spaces. But if creating beautiful spaces like this for one moment leads you to think that God is not equally out there on the streets of Portland, then religion is not doing its job.
VALENTE: For the past 25 years, Rohr, a Franciscan [priest], has run the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque. He calls himself a “radical traditionalist.” For example:
ROHR: It’s not correct to say Jesus is God. Now, don’t run and report me to the bishop, all right? It’s not correct to say that — Jesus is the union of the human and the divine. That’s different. I’ve been a priest 43 years. Most of the Catholics Christians I’ve met would for all practical purposes believe Jesus is God only, and we are human only. We missed the big point. The point is the integration, both in Jesus and ourselves.
VALENTE: Such provocative ideas make him an enigma to some, and a modern day prophet to others. Richard Rohr is one of the most popular spirituality authors and speakers in the world. His ideas appeal to people across faith traditions, and to spiritual seekers as well. Rohr argues that most organized religions dispense doctrine when they should be encouraging personal transformation.