Richard Rohr, O.F.M. (born in 1943 in Kansas) is a Franciscanfriar ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970. He is an internationally known inspirational speaker and has published numerous recorded talks and books, most recently Yes, And...: Daily Meditations, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, and The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.
Rohr was the founder of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971 and the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986 where he currently serves as the Founding Director. The CAC is home of the Rohr Institute, with Rohr as Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation.
Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, incarnational mysticism, community building, peace and social justice issues, male spirituality, the Enneagram of Personality, and eco-spirituality are among the many subjects addressed in Rohr's writings and teaching. He founded the international movement known as Men As Learners & Elders (MALEs), which focuses on ritual and rites of passage to encourage men to greater spiritual consciousness. In 2013, Illuman, Inc. took on the mission of continuing and expanding the MALEs programs. Rohr is a contributing editor and writer for Sojourners magazine and a contributor to Tikkun magazine and the Huffington Post. He has been a featured essayist on NPR's "This I Believe" and a guest of Mehmet Oz on the "Oprah and Friends" radio show. He was one of several spiritual leaders featured in the 2006 documentary film ONE: The Movie and was included in Watkins' Spiritual 100 List for 2013. Rohr has given presentations with such spiritual leaders as Cynthia Bourgeault, Joan Chittister, Shane Claiborne, James Finley, Laurence Freeman, Thomas Keating, Ronald Rolheiser, Jim Wallis, and the Dalai Lama.
Rohr is in good standing with his archdiocese in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and also with Rome. He often refers to his position as being on the "edge of the inside", as a prophetic place from which to challenge and encourage the Church. In a critique of Rohr, Fr. Bryce Sibley writes that Rohr asserts that God is neither male nor female, supports the mission of homosexual advocacy groups, asserts that the Crucifixion of Jesus was not necessary for the redemption of mankind, and criticizes Catholic rituals for a lack of efficacy. Rohr's book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, develops Rohr's ideas on Jesus' death and resurrection, stating the purpose was not to convince God to be reconciled to humanity, but to convince humanity of God's grace and love.[original research?]Immortal Diamond explores the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as a metaphor and pattern for all people during their lifetime.[original research?]
Rohr has been notable for his support of homosexual causes, attracting criticism from some Catholics. In 1996, Rohr presided over a ceremony for a lesbian couple, which has been referred to by a commentator as a "wedding", during one of his retreats.
In 1997, Rohr spoke at a symposium of New Ways Ministry, a ministry to homosexual people which was condemned by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for not teaching in accord with the Catholic Church's moral teachings regarding homosexuality.
In 2000, Rohr publically endorsed Soulforce, an initiative to use "relentless nonviolent resistance" to encourage Christian groups to accept homosexual people.
In a 2003 letter to his diocese, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, Michael Sheehan, wrote that Rohr had agreed in discussions to conform to official Catholic teachings in his presentations.
Rohr's "wisdom lineage", those thinkers and movements that have influenced his own work, include the Bible of Nature and Creation; the Hebrew Scriptures interpreted by the Prophets; the Gospels, the Incarnation and Jesus; Paul as first Christian mystic; the Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers; the Patristic Period, particularly in the East; orthopraxy in much of Buddhism and Hinduism; non-dual thinkers of all religions; the early Franciscan theology of Bonaventure and Duns Scotus; the unique witness of mythology, poetry and art; the non-violent recovery of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.; much of Carl Jung's teachings; Spiral Dynamics and Integral Theory; 12-Step spirituality/American pragmatism; and scientific evidence from the universe.
Rohr emphasizes “alternative orthodoxy”, a phrase the Franciscan tradition has applied to itself, referring to a focus on “orthopraxy”—a belief that lifestyle and practice are much more important than mere verbal orthodoxy. The Perennial Tradition, or Perennial Philosophy, forms the basis of much of Rohr’s teaching; the essential message of his work focuses on the union of Divine Reality with all things and the human potential and longing for this union. Rohr and other 21st century spiritual leaders explore the Perennial Tradition in the Rohr Institute’s issue of the publication Oneing, titled by the same name (2013).
The curriculum of Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation is founded on seven themes developed by him.
This bibliography is ordered by the original publication date:
Wild Man's Journey: Reflections on Male Spirituality (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, ISBN 0-86716-279-1, 1986?; Revised edition 1996)
Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition (with Joseph Martos) (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, 1989) ISBN 978-0-86716-101-4
Simplicity, Revised & Updated: The Freedom of Letting Go (1991, reissued by Crossroad Publishing Co, U.S.; 2nd New edition of Revised edition, 2004) ISBN 978-0-8245-2115-8