Richard Rohr — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Father Richard Rohr

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar, wisdom teacher, and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Who is Richard Rohr?

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar and ecumenical teacher who bears witness to the deep wisdom of Christian mysticism and traditions of action and contemplation. He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) and academic Dean of the Living School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he has lived since 1986. 

For over fifty years, Father Richard’s personal experience of God’s infinite and transforming love has inspired his lifelong work of helping to remove the barriers that keep people from knowing God’s love for themselves. 

He is the author of numerous books, including The Universal Christ, The Wisdom Pattern, Just This, Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, Dancing Standing Still, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.

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What does Richard Rohr believe?

Father Richard is an orthodox Catholic Christian, who is in good standing with Rome, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, and his own Franciscan superiors. He deeply believes the most traditional and orthodox Christian beliefs like the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, the Perennial Tradition of both the Eastern and Western Churches, Biblical spirituality, and The Divine Indwelling of the Holy Spirit—and he tries to present all of these in pastoral and prayerful ways that make sense to 21st century sincere seekers. He loves to emphasize the practical implications of such doctrines and thus “preach the Gospel to all nations” and not just to ourselves. 

Father Richard often surprises people who have followed his teachings over time with how very traditional he actually is—and his style of emphasizing transformative practice over verbal theory is now being called an “alternative orthodoxy” by serious theologians and believers. This is a term the Franciscan School has often recognized in its emphasis on lifestyle and proudly applies to itself. This, he believes, is why the established church has always protected and defended him, although he has certainly had his critics whom he always tries to hear and respect. 

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What does Richard Rohr teach?

Father Richard teaches wisdom found within the Christian contemplative traditions while also incorporating the universal truths found within all sacred paths that point to our common human longing for union with divine love and with each other. His teaching appeals to a vast audience—from current and former Catholics, Anglicans, Evangelicals, and mainstream Protestants, to “spiritual but not religious,” to Buddhists, to agnostics—all around the world. He has referenced the Buddhist proverb to emphasize that his words are only a finger pointing to the moon, not the moon itself. “All spiritual language is by necessity metaphor and symbol. The Light comes from elsewhere, yet it is necessarily reflected through those of us still walking on the journey ourselves.” 

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Father Richard teaches that great love and great suffering, as modeled by Jesus, are the universal paths of transformation—because they are the only things strong enough to quiet the ego’s constant demand for attention. “Great love and great suffering bring us back to God, and I believe this is how Jesus himself walked humanity back to God. It is not just a path of resurrection rewards but a path that now includes death and woundedness.” He teaches that we are transformed by passing beyond what seems to be our perfect Order, through an often painful and disorienting Disorder, to a better connection to and acceptance of reality, a profound Reorder. This is the repeating universal pattern that connects and solidifies our relationship with God, ourselves, and everything around us.

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