Oprah and Her American Faith

Faithful members of Oprah Winfrey's TV flock know what's happening when guests start talking and their leader keeps saying "Amen," "Preach it" or even, "Sister, I understand the whole God connection!"

The host wants the guest to start "testifying," a confessional process in which believers look for God's healing hand in life's hard lessons.

Winfrey learned all about "testifying" as a girl back in the Faith United Mississippi Baptist Church, where envious peers often called her "Miss Jesus."

But here's the irony, as noted by journalist Marcia Nelson, author of The Gospel According to Oprah: Winfrey has become a billionaire and one of world's most powerful women by baring her soul and urging millions of others to follow her example, resulting in what some critics call the "Oprahfication" of America. However, it's almost impossible to answer this simple question: What does Oprah believe?

"She sounds like a person who was raised in a Baptist church," said Nelson, who spent months digging into Winfrey's beliefs on suffering, gratitude, generosity, forgiveness and other spiritual topics.

 "Still, it's hard to put a label on Oprah because she refuses to let people do that to her…. You'd have to say that she looks a lot more like a Protestant than she does a Catholic, but what does that mean? It's hard to say what a person needs to believe these days to be called a 'Protestant.' "

Winfrey retains the ability to slip smoothly into the "mother tongue" she learned as a child in black churches, noted Nelson. For a few years as an adult, she attended the Trinity United Church of Christ, a progressive congregation in Chicago known as Senator Barack Obama's home church. Then, during her "Remember Your Spirit" period in the 1990s, conservatives criticized her ties to Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love) and other "New Age" writers who blurred the lines between Christianity and other faiths.

The key is that Winfrey has been a trailblazer who symbolizes many contemporary religious trends.

Many Americans, said Nelson, are drawn to a "practical, how-to, self-help, just-do-it" approach to faith and personal growth that meshes smoothly with the parade of counselors, doctors, writers and ministers — of every conceivable faith — featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It's crucial that the host looks straight into the camera and says: "This works."

Thus, noted Nelson, Winfrey has "been roundly criticized for making the spiritual too psychological, too therapeutic, too soft, too easy, too self-centered. The gospel according to Oprah doesn't appear to require some kind of doctrinal commitment or a community to ensure that the life-changing 'Aha!' moment of decision is more than a new year's resolution that is quickly made in isolation and broken two weeks later."

The public loves complex, conflicted celebrities and Winfrey is the spiritual superstar. She quietly supports humble projects near home, yet courts publicity by flying off to start gigantic projects around the world — such as the new $40-million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy near Johannesburg.

She tells women to love themselves the way they are, but keeps offering weight-loss tips. She urges viewers to give to others, but also pamper themselves. Winfrey says women should embrace their maturity, but shows them how to look 10 years younger. She advises women on private moral dilemmas, but fiercely guards her own privacy.

One of the fastest growing segments of the population consists of people who call themselves "spiritual," but not "religious," noted Nelson. Winfrey clicks with media-driven, postmodern believers who stress the importance of personal experience and storytelling over the authority of religious institutions and doctrines. Meanwhile, many churches are trying to shed old names and labels, calling themselves "community churches" and adopting other post-denominational names.

The bottom line, said Nelson, is that for generations Americans were able to rally around a kind of tame, "nominal" Judeo-Christian faith that let them affirm a few common traditions and many old-fashioned values. But this has become harder after waves of immigration from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and elsewhere.

America is becoming more pluralistic on faith issues and that has always been just fine with Winfrey. She is all about spirituality, not doctrine. If she has a creed she keeps it hidden.

"Oprah's clothes may bear labels, but her faith does not," noted Nelson. "I don't know what her personal beliefs are."

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  • Guest

    I have a lot of admiration for Oprah: I think she is a genuinely good person who has done a lot to help others. I also admire all that she has accomplished in her life. That being said, it bothers me that she supports same-sex marriage, lives out of wedlock with a man, and seems to support moral relativism.

  • Guest

    It’s hard for people today who, craving that “something more”, are fed sugar-coated beliefs that never ultimately satisfy. Of course, there is always hope that people like Oprah and her viewers begin to sense that deeper hunger for God and His truth. Thankfully, nothing is impossible for Him.

  • Guest

    The real “Our Lady of America” can be understood by going to http://www.ourladyofamerica.com or http://www.oltiv.org

  • Guest

    Jesus says to judge people by their fruit. To me, Oprah is bearing good fruit. Not everyone has the fullness of the faith, even those who attend the catholic church can know all about Jesus but not really know Him. Sure there are some things in her life that could use changing…There are things in my life too. Everyone has problems and no person is perfect. But Oprah is a beautiful example of someone who keeps on trying to make the world a better place. A person who shares her abundance with the less fortunate.

    God writes straight with our crooked lines. We don’t need to be perfect and have all the answers to love and serve Him. Perhaps if we Catholics lived the lives we should, more non catholics would see the fullness of the faith we hold and want it for themselves.

  • Guest

    This is supposed to be a Catholic Website, and although I admire Oprah Winfrey for what she has accomplished, I really don’t think that her various ways of handling her religious beliefs have anything to do with Catholicism. It may only be my opinion but this is exactly the sort of influence that has steered Catholics in other directions. There are so many of these so called various beliefs being propagated by celebrities that people who don’t have a firm belief and understanding of Catholicism {their own religion}, have a very hard time making up their minds as to what they should believe, and then, therefore, turn away from their religion to follow these trains of thoughts given to them by celebrities. If our churches are emptying, this is the reason. Our jobs as devoted Catholics is to teach our religion, not supply others with what these celebrities think and believe. Therefore, I don’t think that this article was appropriate for Catholic Exchange.

  • Guest

    OK…..
    Here it goes….
    I don’t watch the Oprah show. I don’t like her politics. I neither admire or despise her. I am indifferent when it comes to her. She is a tv celebrity people! I can’t stomach watching the “drones” that agree with everything she say’s for fear of being “scolded” on national TV. Frankly, I don’t like or agree with MOST of her beliefs and her(or lack their of) morality.
    HOWEVER…..
    There are a few things that really bothered me about this article.
    It is NONE of anyone’s business WHAT Oprah’s religious belief’s are. Just as it is none of anyone’s business what mine are.
    In the whole scheme of life….it is NOT that big of a deal WHAT the heck she believes. (or not)
    But what bothered me the most this morning is opening up my Catholic home page and seeing a huge picture of “Oprah in prayer” and reading a “fluff piece” on what she may or may not believe. Truly, I really do not think many people really care about this, nor should they.
    Terry….PLEASE find something (or someone) with more substance to write about next time. Something (or someone) that really might matter in this world. If you need suggestions…look to the military or the Vatican. I’m sure you can find more suitable subjects to write about!!!
    Oprah? Are you kidding me??? DIG DEEPER!
    I know for a fact that things are not THAT boring in our world!

  • Guest

    ProLifeWoman:
    I agree that there are more positive role models to highlight, but I think that CE and Terry do a good job of highlighting them on a regular basis. Oprah is a netional phenomenon that needs some reflection. One cannot go on with the head in the sand pretend she does not exist. And as another poster suggested, we all have our faults.

    After all Terry is bringing to our attention the tension between the good that Oprah does and the muddy areas of her personality. I feel that it is good to point to both and to let us reflect on them as this tension applies to all our lives.

    If you don’t like Oprah, don’t watch her. Neither do I, but I deal with many people who do and are influenced by her, so I appreciate articles like this one that make me think about the influence she has on our world.

  • Guest

    I have read all the comments posted this morning. And I too am no great fan of Oprah. I do believe it is important to know what these people stand for and believe.
    Even though I know her shows and her theology are a bunch of bologne, most of main stream america does not. Housewives that sit around on weekday afternoons eating up everything she has to say, because they believe she is speaking their language and giving them good advice, beleive what she is telling them is the gospel. We know that to be false, we know the true Gospel of Jesus Christ: It’s not about us, it’s all about Christ, and we will have no joy in this world until we get this in our thick, prideful skulls.
    My point is, yes we do need to know what the “stars” are doing, regarding their faith, because these are the people that influence the majority of Americans. We need to know what they believe in order to defend them (if they are preaching what is right) or to inform others of their defected beliefs (Oprah) about what they are preaching to people. We also need to know so that we can pray for them.
    For instance, Mel Gibson, is known to be involved in the LaFevre movement. Yet, the media claims him to be Catholic. He is not Catholic if he is a part of this movement that openly opposes the true Catholic Church. Yet, he does try to live his faith, with daily Mass, wearing the scapular, and praying the Rosary. These are all awesome things and he is so close to being what he truly desires to become, he just needs our prayers. Just think if more of the stars were openly practicing faithful people how that could change our society for the better. I can have an influence on only a few souls by my witness, prayers, and sacrifice. But imagine what kind of amazing conversions Oprah could inspire by her own conversion to living her life for Christ!!!! MILLIONS!

  • Guest

    Lest we forget, Oprah is pro-abortion and pro comprehensive education (contraception, access to abortion, etc) for young girls. She makes no secret of her cohabitation. Sadly, many girls and women who look up to her are likely to imitate her behavior. We need to pray for her.

  • Guest

    From the band Casting Crowns song “What If His People Prayed”

    What if the life that we pursue
    Came from a hunger for the truth
    What if the family turned to Jesus
    Stopped asking Oprah what to do

    What if His people prayed
    And those who bear His name
    Would humbly seek His face yeah
    And turn from their own way

    Here is what I think; Oprah is a product of a culture that wants what she offers. If those who claim the name of Christian would turn their lives over to daily, not just daily, but daily deep and meaningful prayer… If those who claim the name of Catholic would do that and combine it with frequent reception of the sacraments…
    We would not need to have this or many other discussions.
    Jesus tells us in sacred scripture that we will do even greater things than He did. But, I believe that it can only happen in lives that are not only built on the “Rock” but also lived with an awareness of and partnership with the continuous presence of the Holy Sprit.

  • Guest

    Although I am not a great fan of Oprah I thought the article on Oprah was helpful. Like it or not, she is extremely popular and a cultual phenomenon. Catholic Exchange has always provided timely articles on pop culture as well as more in depth articles. As Catholics, we need to be ready to respond to pop icons and their influence in our lives.

  • Guest

    To the person who wrote this comment: beware of selectively picking bible quotes and then labeling some non-Catholic with them. Good fruit ALWAYS would lead someone to the Catholic because it is a consistent dogma of the Catholic Church that there is no salvation outside of Her bounds – extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Catholic writers have been stressing this since the inception of the Church, e.g. St. Irenaeus. This is the INTRINSIC and qualitative difference between the things that need changing in Oprah’s life and a Catholic’s.

    The cliche “God writes straight with crooked lines” has little important on the danger of Oprah. Her sly manner makes people comfortable to “confess” their sins to her and seek her guidance rather than a confessor, and her morals, speech, etc. do not lead one anywhere near the Catholic conception of reality.

  • Guest

    Oprah is NOT the POPE and she is NOT Jesus Christ! Anyone who puts ANY stalk in what she believes and “preaches” is a fool! As for her being a “national phenomenon that needs some reflection”…maybe for YOU and your family she is but certainly NOT for me and my family.
    Also, regarding the comment “we do need to know what the “stars” are doing”… What hogwash! Those people are NOT authorities on the Catholic Church and most certainly NOT authorities on the Catholic Faith. My goodness! It’s no wonder that there are people in this world who have been elevated to “super human status!” If we see them that way and treat them that way…it will BE that way.
    TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISIONS AND QUIT BUYING THOSE RAGS AT THE CHECK OUT STAND!! Go to Mass and if you have questions about your faith or spirituality…I suggest you go to a priest, RCIA class, Deacon or pastor of your church or refer to the Catechism or the Holy Bible!

  • Guest

    er…
    I think you may have misunderstood what was meant by the poster that said “we do need to know what the ‘stars’ are doing.”

    I took the poster to mean that it is helpful when talking to our friends and families (who do watch this stuff) to be aware of (to some extent) what and who they are watching. Imagine a friend actually struggling over something Oprah said for whatever reason, and you say in return, “Oprah is hogwash – put it out of your mind because you are a fool if you put any stalk in what she says.” I think you’d lose the esteem of your friend to some extent.
    But, if you are just a little bit aware (like I think the intent of this article was for), you could simply answer back, “well, just what is it that Oprah believes?” and help your friend to realize that maybe she should not be struggling so much over it.

    I’ll be more helpful to them – to gently lead them closer to Christ – if I can understand where they are coming from…and not just to be a raving lunatic telling them they just need to go to Mass.

  • Guest

    ProLifeWoman,

    I totally agree with you that Oprah is not a positive and most likely a negative influence on our society. As I said, I don’t watch her and nobody in my family does. But I work with other people who are not part of my family and who do watch her. The only way I can intelligently interact with them when they are under the influence of Oprah is to know what this lady is all about and I am glad that I get informed, even if superficially, by CE on these matters.

    But I have to ask: why are you so angry? It looks like this discussion touched a nerve with you and it made you very unhappy. I don’t know anything about you, but I do pray that such anger will leave you and that you will find a way to go back to living your life in the joy of Christ, even when people around you do things that you disapprove.

    May God bless you.

  • Guest

    Christ makes good out of evil. I think that some religion is better than no religion at all. It seems that her version of ‘religion” is often the only religion that some people encounter in their daily lives or choose to embrace. It is what millions of Americans are comfortable with. Sadly, that is just the way many want it to be and she may capitalize on this. That is why I believe she never really comes down hard on religion. There are many, many, many things Oprah says or does that I do not agree with but, on the other hand, I am at least more chose to watch Oprah rather than Jerry Springer. Just my humble opinion!

  • Guest

    To put things in perspective let’s compare Oprah, and other billionaire “philanthropists” such as Bill Gates, to Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

    Interviewer (talking to Mother Theresa): So what about all these awards you have received, the Nobel Peace Prize for instance?

    Mother Theresa: I don’t even remember the number. They are nothing. Of the Nobel Prize, I said I will accept it if you give it for the glory of God and the name of the poor. I do not accept awards in my name. I am nothing.

    Interviewer: You did not allow the traditional banquet to take place after the Nobel investiture?

    Mother Theresa: No. Instead they gave me the money for it. So we had a big dinner for 2,000 poor people on Christmas Day with that money. That was much better.

    Mother Theresa abhorred publicity. In 1979 when she went to Oslo to receive the prize she was subjected to relentless media attention. Long years after the event, she shudders at the thought. “For that publicity alone, I should go straight to heaven” she has often said.

    Finally, Do people like Oprah, Bill Gates and Ted Turner “Do everything for the glory of God”? I think not. They do it for their own glory, and more often than not, with hidden agendas.

  • Guest

    Last word from me on this subject.
    No anger here. Just passionate about this topic. I have seen so many “worship” these people and is it sad. To even give the notion that Oprah or any other movie star or celebrity is anything but an entertainer is absurd. (yes, including Mel Gibson)
    As for the reply to me from the person who started his/her response with a resounding “er”… You go ahead and arm yourself with the words and thoughts of Oprah and the like to “help” your friends when they are struggling with their faith. I will however turn to the Church and all 2000 years of her wisdom and the wisdom of Jesus Christ to help them. You ARE correct about one thing you said…you do not know anything about me, so to call me names and say that I am a “raving lunatic telling them they just need to go Mass” is typical and frankly rude and childish. I dare say that you need to go back and re-read what I suggested for someone to do when faced with a family member or friend who is struggling with their faith and the things of this world. You will find that I did not just suggest that one thing.
    Simply put, if you CHOOSE to rely on Oprah and others like her, to answer any questions for you other than, “who is wearing what to some awards show next month?”, you will miss out on the whole truth that only The Church can provide. I would think that you would want to be a better friend than that!

  • Guest

    I don’t think that Oprah is only motivated by her own glory; I think she has some genuine altruistic motives. And I agree that while we shouldn’t worship celebrities, it does help to know their stands on the issues so that we are in a position to defend against their misguided positions when speaking with people who fall prey to their influences. I think we can appreciate the fruit that Oprah has borne while also recognizing that some of her misguided views (such as pro-gay marriage) are harmful to those who hang on her every word.

  • Guest

    I don’t think Oprah is motivated by her own glory, either. I do think all the “stars” are all a little egotistical in their own right, but I think sometimes their fans have a lot to do with that. I also think there are others in Hollywood, the professional sports world, etc. that have genuine interest in the causes they promote. I wouldn’t look to any of them to steer me in matters of faith or morality, but they do have a platform to speak from and an audience through which to encourage good works. Even if they inspire ten people to pick a worthy cause and work for it, then I say keep up the good work. But, as many of your have said previously no one should merely subscribe to a celebrity’s stance on a moral issue because they are a “fan.” I think you can admire someone’s work in a movie or on the television news, but don’t have to completely agree with the way they have chosen to live their lives. I am a big fan of a certain television show, because I find it entertaining, but I certainly would never live my life the way its characters do!

  • Guest

    For anyone who wonders why we featured this article, please look at our tagline: Your Faith. Your Life. your World.  We need to know what the influences are on the people we come in contact with every day if for no other reason than to know where they are coming from and how to approach them about our faith. Jesus talked about this world being like a field and the Gospel being seeds that are sown in the field.  Well, think of articles like this as soil analysis.

    Blessings to you all,

    Mary Kochan

    Senior Editor, Catholic Exchange

  • Guest

    Still, I do think this article leaves a person wondering what it’s all about and how on earth it got published on Catholic Exchange. I agree that it would be helpful to be aware of what such influential people as Oprah does or “preach” or teach because sadly, so many people get sucked in to it, but at the same time, this article is VERY lackluster—like pussyfooting on what Oprah is like. If they are to write about her and her practices and “beliefs”, at least do a compare/contrast method that sheds more light on what the Catholic Church teaches and how to either beware of this person’s conduct or emulate it. Somehow, the article did not do anything beneficial to Catholic readers as far as teaching or informing. Instead, it seemed to have annoyed a lot.

  • Guest

    In all of the posts here I don’t remember seeing the one word that truly describes the Oprah “phenomenon”: idolatry. That’s what it is, pure and simple. My younger brother pointed something out to me a few years ago. In the course of a normal day, especially your day(s) off when you are likely to run more errands, you can scarcely avoid seeing this woman’s face SOMEWHERE! Whether it’s a TV commercial for her show, the 1000 or so magazine covers with her face on them complete with her words of “wisdom”, or your local Barnes & Noble or Borders with her book choices, it is difficult to escape her. Think of it as a social experiment and try it sometime.

    Oprah’s Book Club? Come on! Who really cares what she reads or recommends to you to read? The reason no one can pin down what she believes in is because, in my estimation, she doesn’t really believe in anything except herself and her own self-promotion. She is a false prophet preaching nothing and she fits perfectly into our celebrity-obsessed, idolatrous, relativist culture. And what, exactly, are her credentials? If I remember correctly, her career started as a substitute news anchor for a local TV station somewhere in the South. Very impressive.

    She may have a good heart and be well-intentioned in her philanthropy but she is definitely NOT someone to follow in matters of religious spirituality. Furthermore, her narcissism is directly counter to Catholic teaching. The other media that promote her knows this very well and saturates the market with her nonsense. She is a perfect example of someone who truly believes in everything because she believes in nothing. Think about it.

    Pax Vobiscum

  • Guest

    I agree with jnr1003, this article is lackluster on a meaningful message.

  • Guest

    Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is a war and we are fighting for souls!!!! God will be the ultimate judge, what did you do to bring more souls to him!! The better we know the enemy,the ways in which satan is using a particular situation or person, the better armed we are in the fight for souls! Nobody here has said that we should go anywhere other than the Church for guidance, we just have to know what we are up against. If you say you truly love Christ then you must say that you truly love Oprah, because she is a child of God and how much it must heart his Sacred Heart that she, as his child, is so far from him. This is where we the faithful come in, we must fight for all souls for Christ most especialy those souls who are so far away from Him. If we say we are not responsible and judge others by their actions with no hope for conversion, then we are not much better than the pharisees.

  • Guest

    This is the worst article I have ever read on Catholic Exchange. What happened? It is the sort of article I could find on any mainstream media site. If this was the first time I had ever visited the CE, I would probably not come back. I hope it is an aberration. If this continues, I’ll have to change my homepage to Catholic Answers!!

    Love and approval are not synonymous. Just because we are called love Oprah as a child of God does not mean we should approve of her message or moral relativism. She is “preaching” an extremely dangerous kind of “christianity”–the kind in which we can be “of” the current culture while calling ourselves Christian. Her message is the same as any other “feel good” guru with a few scripture quotes and amens thrown in to make it sound Christian. It is so dangerous and pervasive. The so-called “fruit” being borne is just more moral relativism. The followers of this brand of “christianity” have been convinced that they can do whatever feels good and approve of all sorts of evils (homosexual marriage, abortion, etc.) and still be Christian. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth…”

  • Guest

    I think the comment about Oprah, Bill Gates and Ted Turner donating money for possible hidden agendas and their own glory is a pretty harsh thing to say about 3 people who have really tried to make a difference in the world. You don’t know these people and you come off sounding arrogant and judgmental.

    I have a few questions for you
    1) do you ever pray for people you judge (like these 3 people?)
    2) how much money or time do you donate for making the world a better place?

    I don’t think your harsh comments about the world’s biggest philanthropists were Christlike. What do you know about the state of their souls?

  • Guest

    It’s disappointing to me that any Catholic could trash Oprah. You might not agree with her views (I don’t on many) but I still think she trys to do what is right and has a heart for hurting people and truly wants to make a difference in the world with her wealth.

    You didn’t once suggest we should pray for her. I think that speaks volumes about who you are and your intent to pass judgment (in a harsh way I might add). You can’t possibly know what God is doing in her soul. So, Think about that….

  • Guest

    I agree with workingitout! I wrote my comment earlier this morning and I almost mentionned the same thing. I have your page as I open my computer, and if this is the type of articles that you want to keep on running, then goodbye, because if I want propaganda, I can find it anywhere. You were, so I thought, one place where I could go to find some truth, but alas, this morning, I was disappointed!

  • Guest

    To zcolleen,
    I don’t think that it is a question of trashing Oprah, but, rather the point is: “Does this article concern Catholics and does it belong on Catholic Exchange?” As far as I can see, most of the people are in agreement: NO! it does not belong on this site! Oprah {goog for her} is being reveered everywhere, so why do we have to see this on this particular site as well?

  • Guest

    Oprah, Most Dangerous Women in America-beware!

    I didn’t always feel this way; actually used to be a big fan. About 3 years ago I got very close to the Eucharist, and “scales fell from my eyes.” One of the first things I saw was the perils of the “Oprah following.” Without question Oprah endorses much that the Catholic Church, and most Christians, oppose (already addressed by other readers). And oh yes, Oprah “looks like an angel.” But wait, don’t “real” angels go where they are needed without bringing their camera crews? I’m not saying she hasn’t ever made a difference in anyone’s life, but then, with a billion in the bank, one would hope.

    My bigger point is this. What good does it do a man to gain wealth but lose his soul? WHERE’S THE CROSS. ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE CROSS. I certainly don’t see any signs of it in the new “Leadership acadmeny” in Africa, but the new age yoga center is there. Marianne Williamson, her buddy and cohort, tells us “Get off the cross we need the wood!” Her shrink marriage guru in her book berates the “Catholic woman” for “sticking with her husband.” After all, should life be about making US happy?

    SEE THE SUBTLE SEDUCTION. This is how the evil one works, always with a “but it’s doing so much good”. There is almost always something good or pleasurable in the evil one’s work, which is why it’s so hard to see. LOOK CLOSER and watch, and remember the favorite color of the devil is grey.

    You may also want to read up on the Vatican’s (JPII) teaching on the perils of new age or Johnette Benkovic or Father Mitch Pacwa.

    As a Catholic who cares about the souls of others, which I suspect most or all readers of this thread do, wouldn’t you rather see the girls in Africa have a solid Christian education then a yoga center and 200 thread sheets!

    Oh, but it LOOKS so good, and the better it looks, the more who “follow Oprah”. Oprah is someone I pray a lot for. Can you image if Oprah ever went “Catholic?” It’s her influence that make her, in my opinion, the most dangerous women in America. Perhaps God will use that, with enough prayer, to make her the “best positive influcece.” IF or until, never underestimate the power of the “subtle seduction.” Look real close, and I assure you there is NOTHING there of Christ, but plenty of ME. Don’t be fooled by the money of the rich for publicity or “new age” education, or the clever marketing of the “god of self.”

    Rita

    p.s. If you don’t believe me, read some of the books of her best friends from her radio show. According to her, these are the folks who best represent her.
    p.p.s Just an FYI, I have challenged many of her teachings on line, especially on Amazon book reviews of many of her “endorsements.” My reveiws, always gentle but harsh truths as to why they conter Christ, are “mysteriously” removed. That was a wake up call to me in itself.

  • Guest

    I would like to state the following few facts and follow with a few observations.

    Facts: I am a 45 y.o., married for 26.5 years with two grown children, born, raised a devout and lived all of my life in Ohio Catholic, who married a European/Catholic and raised two Catholic children, woman. For the first time ever I chose to take some time and explore some of the Catholic oriented websites that I have heard of, through family, in an attempt to expand my Catholic horizons. I opened “Spirit Daily.” I clicked on the Oprah article link. I was forwarded to this Catholic Exchange link, read the article and every single subsequent remark.

    Observations: I am so extremely disappointed and dismayed. Although I am not quite sure just what I thought I would encounter in reading this particular article and remarks, I DO know that what I did encounter was precisely what I did not think I would.

    I thought that I would discover a forum ‘different’ from others. Something that would be enlightening, perhaps even pleasant and at the very least and hopefully the MOST, obviously Catholic in nature. What, in this one tiny example of anotherwise irrelevant overall article, I discovered was an arena where I felt like I was in the midst of gladiator driven chariots on the floor of the colliseum being forced to try to preserve myself from the impending trampling under hoof.

    Through much of the remarks – the judgementlism, the prejudice, the vileness just the overall LACK of ANYthing Catholic in tone – humility, charity, kindness – Christianity! Your Faith, Your Life, Your World. Indeed. This IS what I have found here. Delusion. Shame. Perhaps what I was looking for was HOPE that in this world a Catholic can find a place where Catholics ARE and DO present theirselves as such with a site bearing the name. A place where the matters, people, places and things of the day are addressed with a Catholic spirit.

    It is my humble conslusion, yes, after reading just one tiny little article and it’s remarks that we needn’t look for other souls to save. We needn’t look for other causes to shine the light of justice upon and into the eyes of in the name of exposing the work of the evil one. We needn’t look any further than into our own souls, our own conscience, our own relationships with Our Lord and God, our own ‘Catholicism’ and pray with vigilance and steadfastness… for ourselves, for those of us who claim and even boast the title of ‘Catholic’ for all of the world to see and take note of. May God hear our prayers and help US all and then, perhaps, we can begin to help others.

  • Guest

    jbaljak,
    I read your comments and share your sentiments. I hope that because of a few negative posts from a very limited number of people that you will not think this is a bad site. I believe that when you give an open forum to people you will get all types of responses, even from good Christian people and the same way you cannot call all Catholic Priests bad because of a few bad ones, you can also not label this website from a few overly zealous souls.

    I believe that your comments really should make a lot of us think before posting our own opinions on such websites. What if a protestant or non-Christian were to stumble upon this site and see the ugly remarks and uncharitable comments that have been made about others, they would be pushed even further away from the fullness of the truth. “They will know we are Christians by our love.” This should be our motto first and foremost and our love for Christ should ooze into every aspect of our life, including how we charitably share our opinions of articles or people we do not completely agree with.

    In defense of Catholic Exchange, they have no control over the comments that are posted. But what I have seen is not all bad, there are several people who really see the heart of the matter and seem to have the true spirit of charity in their assessments. This is not about our opinions about Oprah. We all know that what she “teaches” on her shows is not what we profess as Catholics. This is about love for souls, being informed, and arming ourselves for the battle against satan. The more we know the better able to fight for souls and to win the battle for Christ and His Church. Love conquers all and backbiting and slander will always destroy.

    Let us be true soldiers for Christ and pray for all souls. Satan has obviously wormed his way into even a Catholic forum and must be extracated. We are not in a battle against each other, we must be a united front and quit bickering among ourselves. And yes, as you said, we must first work on ourselves if we hope to change others. “First the man, then the Saint”.

    In Christ

  • Guest

    With all respect to everyone who posted, I think we need a little clairty here. While it is certainly wrong to CONDEMN, (which by the way no one on this thread has done), it IS merciful, and required, to “judge actions.” If we don’t judge actions, how can we make decisions? Sorry to say, the “who are you to judge” has been very misunderstood in these past years of “moral relativism”. I am a child of God who wants every soul to be saved, consequently, I have an obligation to point out perils of the soul, especially when they are so easy to miss.

    When ANYONE, be it a celebrity or one’s sibling, endorses same sex marriage, premartital sex, pro choice, and “anything goes as long as it feels good”, I’m sorry, that deserves attention. When a person of great influence lives outside the teachings of the Catholic faith, Catholics need to be warned, being the influcence on souls is a VERY SERIOUS problem. If you want a real wake up call to reality, I suggest you go to Peterkreeft.com and listen (it’s free), to his lecture on how to win the culture war. You can make a CD of it or listen to it from his website. Peter is one of the few who has the guts to warn Americans of the danger of our souls. He does so because he cares and loves; love being not what we want to hear but what we need to hear.

    The bottom line is that this country (& the western world), as Pope Benedict continues to warn us, has become so entrenched in moral relativism, some of us don’t even know what sin is anymore. Indeed, the biggest sin of the 20th century is simply “not knowing sin.” That presents a big problem for souls. Despite God’s mercy being bigger than all the sins of the world combined, even God can’t forgive a soul who won’t repent. If we live in moral relativism, and never “think” we sin, we can never be forgiven.

    I am glad CE posted this article. Yes, it does appear to have made many uncomfortable. But then, we’re Catholics, not the feel good club of Oprah. We know there is a cross to carry and souls to save, and tiptoeing around not calling a spade a spade isn’t going to help anyone except Oprah and her fan club. Look around at your own parishes and see how infested they are are with the new age. Look how many people, and good people, do “whatever Oprah does and says or recommends.”

    Being a Catholic also gives us hope, great hope. I trust in God and in Romans 8. I have to believe that somewhere and or somehow, certainly if there is enough prayer, Oprah will “see the light” and go towards Christ and the cross, using her influence to win souls for Christ. As long as she has the adoring fan club who idol her, how will she ever get the message?

    May the peace of Christ be with you all.

    Rita

  • Guest

    in reply to Rita

    Agreed we must not condemn and we need to judge actions as being in God’s will or out of it.

    This article was so uncharitable on so many points. It could have been written in a much kinder tone and still have made it’s points. It heralds back to the days of legalism.

    Fr Groschel says that “faith is a personal relationship with God”. Oprah has faith. She just has not found her way to the Catholic church. Perhaps she did at one point look at it seriously but saw such a lack of charity she thought it could not be the church our Lord founded.

    Ghandi once talked about reading about Jesus. he was so convinced that He was in fact the answer that he went to a church. he was made to feel so unwelcomf in that church that he concluded the Followers of Christ had not kept Christ’s teachings and never stepped foot in a Christian church again.

    WE must walk through this world remembering that many are watching what we say and how we say it, what we do and how we do it.

    St Paul sums it up nicely when he says (paraphrased).. If I do great and wonderful things but do not have Love, I am nothing…Love is Patient, Kind, etc.. (Corinthians).

    This article tries to point out the flaws in another person’s thinking but does so in such a way that it in fact becomes a instrument of injury toward the very person the author is trying to reach. And sets an example that it is alright to injure a person’s character if that person is less then prefect in their beliefs.

    Jesus never operated in this way.. except to those arrogant know it alls who were quick to notice the speck in their brother’s eye.

  • Guest

    To sflynch:

    We will have to agree to disagree (respectfully of course, no harsh tone here). Love is NOT confirming people in their sins. I well understand “legalism” and that we are all on a different part (level) of the journey, but sadly this country has become so “celebrity and fame” obcessed that it’s no suprise Oprah was voted the 2nd most influential person in the world next to Pope Benedict (google for the artilce).

    We live in a country that jumps when she snaps her fingers. I know it well because I used to be a “member.” I have met her personally, and was disappointed when I finally figured out that the only “god” was self, and a “mystery higher power.” I hoped for at least a group “Our Father” in one of her “sermons”, but it never happend.

    I also know that if we all lived like model Catholics, everyone would be one. I care deeply about Oprah’s soul and salvation, but that doesn’t mean I can’t attack sin, or at least the endorsement of sinful behavior, (starting with supporting politicans who support late term abortions), that is attached to her “agendas.”

    We are in a serious spiritual culture war–the battle for souls. Oprah’s influece is at the least not “winning souls for Christ.” We can’t have two masters, either we are with God or with an idol. If every Oprah fan spent the hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament instead of the Oprah Show we would have a country we wouldn’t recoganize. The first American born saint, Mother Elizabeth Seaton, warned in the late 1800′s that the evil one would enter every American home via a “black box.” We can guess what the black box is. We also know that MTV and plenty of other shows are sinful; that’s easy. It’s the SUBTLE ones that we should be most afraid of.

    The more I thought about this article, and all who felt it was so inappropriate, the more I came to realize I think it was “providential.” I might even aruge that the “Oprah” article is one of the most important articles every posted on Catholic Exchange. If we aren’t bothered by what Oprah preaches, we should ask if we REALLY know the CCC, what the church teaches on the new age, or dare I say, sin, all relative of course, not to a relative age, but to what Jesus taught and who He was/is. Image Jesus being a guest on Oprah. I suspect he certainly would NOT condemn, but suspect He would also warn, in His most loving & gentle way, “GO AND SIN AND MORE.” On this day of pro life, with a country that has 47 million aborted babies, and has led the rest of the world to “follow our example”, do we really want to idolize a women who supports late term abortion? Imagine if Oprah came out today and was pro life, denouncing any support of candidates who support abortion. It would change Amercia, and probably save a lot of souls. And that’s why I pray, pray, pray for Oprah and all influential “celebrities” of this great county. Jesus died for them as much as the rest of us, and as Catholics, we have the Mass/the Eucharist which is the greatest power in the universe, and as I said before, I trust in Romans 8.

    Sflynch I respectully disagree that Jesus never “acted this way.” Jesus knew sin, and warned against it many times over in scripture . I leave you with the last words of the last apostle (1 John):

    “Little children, keep yourself from idols”

    Rita

  • Guest

    All I want to remind you of is a verse that we sometimes sing in church, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love by our love and they’ll know we are Christians by our love”.Don’t feel a whole lota love from you as I read most of your responses. I think they called people with judgemental and critical hearts Pharisees, you know the ones who took part in the crucifixion of our Lord? Hmm. Seems like 2000 years later that is still happening in the church (all of His children, including Oprah) Jesus Christ died for. It is no wonder our young adults don’t want to have anything to do with thier parents faith! God help us.

  • Guest

    To Mary:

    Sadly you missed the whole point Mary, but real love is more & deeper than “feeling”, although that’s what our culture would have you believe. Confirming people in thier sins is NOT love. The major problem is, especially for the youth, that sin is so rarely talked about, few even “know” it anymore (your reply makes the point, doing so (as in pointing out perils of Oprah), gets one “judged” for being “judgmental.” I digress.

    I would think on a board like CE we could at least have open discusion without being accused of “legalism” for trying to teach the truths of the faith when souls are in danger. If we are here just to make each other feel good, well, we have Oprah for that. Even more so, I would think most Catholics would understand that “attacking sin” is NOT attacking the person? Do you even understand the ‘person’, be it Oprah, or anyone, misguideing truths of the faith, is NOT the enemy? The enemey is sin, period.

    We are not here to be popular, and/or successful (despite what Oprah teaches), only faithful? Maybe I offended you by writing that if we aren’t botherd by Oprah’s teachings that perhaps we don’t know our faith well enough. Well, that’s the truth of Christ Mary, it’s what he shed His blood for, and love is ONLY love if it’s true.

    I’m sorry you think I am a Pharisee for trying to save souls, but sometimes truth is harsh. I have condemned NO ONE, nor would I ever. I only repeat, that a soul living in moral relativism is in grave danger, as Pope Benedict often warns us. God can only forgive IF we ask for forgiveness, which is why it’s SO important we “know sin.”

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio.htm –click on how to win the culture war, or download onto CD or computer.

    If you are open Mary, Dr. (professor/philosopher)Peter Kreeft, one of America’s finest Catholics, says it better than anyone in his “Culture War.” Awesome book, but the lectture is free and posted on his website, link above. I recommend it especially for anyone who doesn’t understand the fierce spiritual battle, and the battle for souls, we are now in, especially in America. It’s 50 minutes that could change your life. But be warned, it’s hard, and for some, shocking, truth.

    p.s. You will know Peter is a Christian by his “love”, i.e, “truth”, that few will tell you. My first reaction after hearing Culture war was “Wow, this man really loves us–willing to go/say where few good men will.”

    Rita

  • Guest

    “Many of us are hunting mice – while lions devour the land.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

    In the USA today, January 25, four thousand human beings will be killed in their mother’s wombs — the place that ought to be the safest place on earth for them — and we are arguing about whether we are “condemning” or “judging” Oprah Winfrey.

  • Guest

    Amen to “Protect the Rock.” Do you think those who “protest” the war realize, as you point out, that MORE LIVES ARE TAKEN BY ABORTION IN ONE DAY IN AMERICA, THAN THE THE SUM TOTAL OF IRAQ. Also, when sin is fully understood, we begin to understand the consequences of it, not only to our eternal soul, but also on earth, LIKE WAR. If you read Bishop Sheen, he writes often of war being a consequense of sin. It’s all one big connected circle, which is why, OUT OF LOVE, I beg my Catholic brothers and sister who think I am arrogant and a Pharaise, to KNOW SIN, despite how uncomfortable that topic is to us all, or how wretched I may be in the eyes of God. Jesus will show all who asked, especially in his REAL PRESENCE, all of our sins. Trust me it ain’t pretty, and I’m certainly and always will be a sinner, but I have been shown enough (which is really all I wanted to say in the firset place), to warn others to “beware of a culture that promotes, “feel good religion”, especially when it can “look oh so good” mixed with ‘charity’. Had it not been for the Eucharist, my enormous pile of “sins I didn’t think were sins”, would still be totally unrepented (an ongoing process).

    I write as one who was “consumed for 20 years by the culture of the world”, who, by God’s mercy, finally threw me from my horse (ironically after I went to an Oprah seminar, dragging 8 of my friends). It still makes me a sinner, totally dependent of God’s mercy and grace, but the good news is, I now ‘know’ sin and the consequences of it, but most of all, how disguised it often is. Be it a celebrity, a politician, or a nieghbor, I leave you with this. ALways beware of anyone who supports abortion. If we get that wrong, that even if only in “some” cases, it’s ‘ok’ to destroy the image of God, the least among us, then trust me my friends, EVERYTHING ELSE THAT PERSON SUPPORTS IS A FRAUD, EVERYTHING. I don’t care if they feed the whole living world. How could it not be? My priest at mass on Monday (pro life Monday), said it best. “You ask where is the cure for cancer, where is the peacemaker who will end the war?” The answer, God gave him to us but we aborted him.

    How beautiful God works. Today is the conversion of St. Paul. May we all, self included, ask God in His great love to throw us all “off the horse today.” Once again, I quote back to Romans, especially 1-8. The Navarre bible is ideal for anyone who needs help with Catholic intrepretation.

    May God bless all of you.

    Rita

  • Guest

    Rita, I was being flipant about feeling the love. You apparently misunderstood what I was attempting to say. Harsh? The truth? One mustard seed that I keep in my heart is what a retreat master said one weekend. We may be the only gospel some folks will ever read Have we forgotten that we serve a God who is loving, compassionate and forgiving? How about if we all make a committment to pray daily and even fast for those that have money and influence in this world that is so offensive to some. I am grateful for the love and tenderness Jesus has shown to me, a sinner thru others hearts, arms and compassion. I am thankful that no one has stoned me because of my sins. Spiritual warfare is REAL and it is sad when we allow ourselves to be used by the enemy. Our words and actions are sometimes not what our Lord wanted us to say or do. In time the scales fall from our eyes and we begin to see why God has allowed some to be in power in spite of the other garbage mixed in with his intent. I am a woman who had polio as a child and have had countless of surgeries. I am married to the most wonderful, loving and compassionate man. We have three children. One is in heaven due to brain cancer. I am again in a wheelchair the way I begin this journey in 1952. So yes, I know about the spiritual war that is continually on going. We all live it everyday. I know that my God reigns and what does he require of me? To walk humbly with my God. God bless. Mary

  • Guest

    Keep planting seeds, Mary!

    You probably have chosen the better part, for I had a different allegory in mind.

    My point was that the house is on fire and when the house is on fire, you don’t spend much of your energy admiring the handsome boots of the firefighter next to you. But you certainly do tell them when they’re stepping on the hose. And pray for them, of course, but maybe even give them a shout or a shove.

    I do not spend very much time listening to or even thinking about Oprah Winfrey, but as I understand it she is is a rich and influential celebrity who many see as a firefighter, but she apparently supports abortion and homosexuality wholeheartedly. She is stepping on the hose. I’d just as soon not discuss how handsome her boots are on a Catholic web site.

    I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone but me, but there it is.

  • Guest

    To pg:

    The truth of Christ is NOT a democracy, which is WHY, more than ever, this article not only belongs on CE, but at least in my opinion, is providental. Question–IF, like you point out, most on this site do NOT think it belongs here, AND they are wrong, would you THEN think it belongs here? Would you not be grateful that at least a few of us love our brothers and sisters enough to point out the perils of the the “teachings of Oprah”, EVEN if it makes most uncomfortable and most certainly unpopular?

    I am not going to rehash what I’ve already written, but I suggest you go back and reread or at least “hear” the folks who DO get the dangers of Oprah. And again, no one trashed HER, but we must, as good Catholics, judge her actions.

    Do you not think 4,000 abortions a day in the US matters? Do you not know the consequences of the sin of abortion? Do you not think the support of gay marriage is not only sinful but is directly oppposed to the meaning of life as God intented, and will/could be the demis of the family, consequently, the demise of society?

    I suspect you DO know all of that, which is WHY Oprah matters. Unless by God’s grace she does a 360, she will be throwing 20 million behind a presidential candidate that will be in full support of gay marriage and LATE TERM ABORTIONS. She’s pretty hot on Obamba right now.

    This election may be the most important in all of history. Without question, if Catholics voted via a conscience FORMED IN TRUTH, we could get ANYONE into office. Isn’t our jobs AS Catholics to protect the least among us, to protect the family? If we all hum along to Oprah’s feel good, it’s all relative tune, regardles of HOW many she feeds or educates (which is all a fraud anyway if you support abortion), how will she ever get the message, or most of all, hopefully convert to the truth of Christ? She is only 2nd influence next to the Pope, and it’s becasue WE GIVE IT TO HER. Her influence alone could cost millions more in abortions just for starters. But, pg, if one Catholic from this thread “gets” what a few of us have been trying to say, and even ONE LIFE, one baby does NOT get aborted, well, it’s as much as Jesus saying would suffer his passion all over again to save one soul!

    Yes, Oprah on CE is VERY important, as least for all Catholics in true obeidence to the faith.

    God Bless

    Rita

  • Guest

    Like it or not Oprah is nothing more than an "entertainer." She is pro-abortion, won't commit to a marriage, is very self serving, and wants the whole world to believe what she says is the absolute truth, which of course it is not. You know if I was the richest women in the USA I too could give, and give, and give, but would I focus only on my race. I don't think so. She belonged at one time to the same Church as Barack Obama. Give me a break why don't people see her agenda. Is she a good woman? How could I know I don't even know what faith she professes. Does she do good yes, so do I and I don't expect everyone to accept my word as gospel.

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