Saturday, 28 February 2009

Who do you say I am ?

Have you been disappointed by the mud slinging in the blogging world lately ? I have. There’s been the article about Hermeneutic of Continuity in the Tablet which attempts to portray Fr Finigan in a poor light. He deserves redress but once again his supporters and their comments are equally as negative. Then there’s the case of Fr Kennedy in Australia with whom I have more sympathy. However, it has been reported that even here the Bishop received a bomb threat !
What is happening to Roman Catholicism ? So called 'conservatives' bash 'liberals' and 'liberals' fight back. One persons ‘dignity’ and ‘tradition’ is another’s ‘dryness’ and ‘stuffiness’. The ‘sign of peace’ is one persons opportunity to pass on the peace of Christ whilst it is another’s opportunity to contract disease. Isn’t there a way in which each faction can live side by side ?

Much of the to-ing and fro-ing, it strikes me, is all political point scoring so that each protagonist can feel more secure and entrenched in the theological, spiritual or philosophical position in which they feel ‘at home’. None of us likes to be led from our comfort zone. The ebb and flow of debate however, seems to promote 'Churchianity' rather than 'Christianity.'

I guess it has ever been like this. One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas; still another, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (1Cor 12-13.)

In the 19th century Cardinal Newman (incidentally a hero of mine - work that one out !) was against the liberals and yet he would toast conscience before the Pope. Would you hear conservatives advocating that today or would Newman too, be considered a ‘liberal?’

Are both positions mutually incompatible theologically, spiritually, philosophically or is it simply a matter of choice ? People at both ends of the divide, and all the colourful areas in between, have to live their lives according to their conscience responding to the love of God in their lives.

Aren’t we a brilliant advert for atheism – “See how these Christians love on another ?”
"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
Perhaps we need to call on Francis of Assisi who was asked in a vision to "repair my church, which as you see has fallen into ruin."

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Cardinals turn on Pope Invisible

Thought this article from Times Online deserved a mention - Poor Benedict !
Cardinals turn on Pope Invisible
The pontiff is facing dissent over his distant, regal style.

St Mary's Brisbane Updates

For the latest news on St Mary's look here for
Sacked priest, Fr Kennedy, celebrates mass at St Mary's Catholic Church
Father Peter Kennedy in defiant mass at St Mary's

and don't forget to vote !

Friday, 20 February 2009

To whom else shall we go ?

  • I guess the cause for a change in discipline within the Roman catholic Church regarding celibacy and priesthood would be my main reason for starting this blog. All the other issues raised within the blog are also important issues of conscience for me. A strange state of affairs really. What can you do if your church ignores or denies your perceived called to ministry within the priesthood ? What if your view on the position of people who are glbt conflicts with the 'official' teaching of the church. What if your view on women's ordination conflicts with church teaching ?

  • Many times in the history of the church has 'official' teaching been the opposite of what the 'official' teaching of the church is today. Slavery in South America was once promoted by the papacy, Jews were persecuted by the church as well as Muslims in the crusades, Gallileo was condemned for saying the earth revolved around the sun, married priests were allowed and believe it or not there was a time the extraordinary form of the mass didn't exist !

  • All these views changed in the course of centuries. This doesn't mean that those views were correct at the time the church held those views so you could say the church taught error - but as we all know the Pope is prevented from teaching error - when he speaks ex cathedra, as head of the church and so on. (depending on who you talk to !) I daren't even mention the principle of 'non-reception' of church teaching by the laity -as in the case of Humanae Vitae. The clergy seem to get away with the principle of non-reception as in the case of John xxiii's Apostolic Constitution 'Veterum Sapientia', where it is expected seminary training should be undertaken in latin.

  • Either all my grumbles above are presently not infallible teaching and therefore could change (married and women priests allowed, people who are lgbt not now 'disordered' - Pope JP II words not mine) given a few hundred years. In conscience then, do I just pray, pay and stay or do I keep raising the issues in the church just to be ignored or do I find a home where the issues raised above don't muddy the waters and I can get on with a relationship with God? Any ideas ? - keep juggling ? ? ?

A prayer by Carlo Carretto expresses some of what I feel at the present time. I reproduce it here out of interest.

"How much I must criticise you, my Church, and yet how much I love you!
You have made me suffer more than anyone and yet I owe more to you than to anyone;
I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful.
Countless times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face
-and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!
No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even if not completely you.
Then too-where would I go?
To build another church?
But I could not build one without the same defects, for they are my defects.
And again, if I were to build another church, it would be my church, not Christ’s Church. No, I am old enough, I know better."

The Soho Masses

The Soho Masses Pastoral Council welcomes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered Catholics, their parents, families and friends to Masses on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month, at one of Soho's most historic Catholic parish churches: The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1B 5NB, close to Piccadilly Circus. The church dates from the 18th century and was used as a chapel by the Portuguese and Bavarian embassies, built during a period when public Catholic worship was still outlawed.
Everyone has a place in the church, every person without exception should be able to feel at home and never rejected - Benedict XVI

Thursday, 19 February 2009

St Mary's brisbane - comment

I'm grateful to an 'anonymous' reader for the following comment on the trials being undergone by the catholic community of St Mary's brisbane.

  • A big thumbs down to the Catholic Church hierarchy in Brisbane for sacking the visionary Father Peter Kennedy. As usual, anyone who dares to put into practice the teachings of Christ is condemned by the Church.
  • Father Kennedy has been relieved of his position as parish priest of St. Mary's, South Brisbane for being a true embodiment of God's grace. His cardinal crime was the exercise of acceptance, love and true inclusivity, welcoming all to his church. The good Father Kennedy is known for blessing gay couples, encouraging the active involvement of women in sacramental activity and even acknowledging the power and importance of religious traditions other than his own.
  • In 20 years time priests like Father Kennedy and parishes like St. Mary's will be the norm in Australia.
  • For now the Church must hang its head in shame and Archbishop Bathersby must prepare himself for an eternal place in the rogues gallery of the religious wicked who tried to stem the tides of love and compassion and stake a claim for legalism and all that is wrong in organised religion.
  • The Church has really made a terrible error in this case. As Macauley so brilliantly pointed out, the great genius of the Catholic Church through the ages has been in its ability to absorb its rebels. Simply shifting over and making a place for even the most radical ideas has meant that the Church has remained dynamic, varied and unified for a very long time.
  • But perhaps this is just a temporary blip, similar in kind to the excommunication of the Blessed Mother Mary Mackillop. Perhaps in a hundred years time we'll be celebrating the beatification of Father Kennedy. I think there's a very real possibility of that.
  • Father Kennedy is a great man, and has single handedly done more for the reputation of the Catholic Church than almost any other cleric in recent memory.

Keep going Fr Peter Kennedy . . . keep going . . .

Read the following articles at and The Australian, online newspaper

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Fr Gerhard Maria Wagner's Episcopal appointment rescinded !

According to reports Fr Gerhard Maria Wagner asked Pope Benedict to take back the offer of promotion as 31 of the 39 deans of the Linz diocese backed a declaration of no confidence in Father Wagner. His appointment was announced last week and encouraged a storm of protest. Fr Wagner is reported to have said that hurricane Katrina was punishment upon New Orleans for it's toleration of homosexuality and sexual excess. He also thinks the Harry Potter novels promote satanism. For more information follow the links below. Some blogs are seeing this event as open apostasy, but they are at the extreme conservative end. In my mind it is refreshing to see that Pope Benedict is prepared to listen to his Bishops and demonstrate some degree of collegiality
Independent Catholic News

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Spare a Thought for St Mary's, South Brisbane

St Mary's catholic church in Brisbane, Australia has been in opposition with their local bishop and the wider church over the last year or so. Whilst I am not fully aware of all that the community is undertaking, I do recognise their struggle to make relevant the Gospel in their everyday lives, in an inclusive spirit. Their searching has set them at odds with church authorities and their story can be read in local Australian press, their MySpace page and their blog. Show your support for St Mary's by voting here. St Mary's certainly has my support. Spare a prayer for their pastor Fr Peter Kennedy.

Everybody's Welcome ?

A number of resources have been brought to my attention, that have been published by the 'Marriage & Family Life' project within the catholic community of England and Wales. There are a range of downloadable pdf files which can be printed out for distribution within your parish community. All the documents are intended to promote the ministry of welcome in parishes. Of note are the leaflets intended to explore a range of questions beginning . . . "What is life like if you or someone in your family . . . ;"

These are just a few of the documents you can find on this website and it's well worth a visit, especially to the resources section.

Saturday, 7 February 2009


From the website

"For the full recognition of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council"

The papal cancellation of the excommunication of bishops from the traditionalist fraternity Pius X signifies the re-admittance of those who have consistently offered opposition to the reforms established by the Second Vatican Council.
  • Regarding the anti-Semitic remarks and the denial of the German national-socialist persecution of the Jews by Bishop Richard Williamson and his followers, we share the indignation of our Jewish sisters and brothers. Moreover, we state that the attitude of the fraternity Pius X towards Judaism does not correspond to the exegesis of the Council concerning Jewish-Christian dialogue. We support the statements of the German Bishops’ Conference, the Central Committee of German Catholics, the French Bishops’ Conference and other bishops on this matter.
  • We believe that the close correlation between the cancellation of the excommunication and the 50th anniversary of the calling of a General Council of the Church by Pope John XXIII gives a clear indication of the direction this Papacy wishes to take. We sense a desire to return to a pre Vatican II Church with its fear of modernity and democratic institutions.
  • We are very concerned that this act of rehabilitation will herald a turn around on important documents of Vatican II, for example, the decree on ecumenism “unitatis redintegratio”, the declaration on non-Christian religions “nostra aetate”, the declaration on religious liberty “dignitatis humanae” and the pastoral constitution about Church in the modern world “gaudium et spes”. Such an act will have a disastrous effect on the credibility of the Roman-Catholic Church. For Catholics who love their Church, the price is too high!
  • The Pope hopes this act will help unify the Church. However we think it is particularly outrageous that the Vatican’s renewed overtures to the schismatic traditionalist movement have been undertaken without the imposition of any conditions whatsoever. In June 2008, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Levebvre’s excommunication, the fraternity of Pius X rejected the invitation of the Holy See towards theological reconciliation. Likewise, the fraternity rejected the invitation to sign a five-topic declaration containing conditions for its re-integration in the Roman Church.
  • A return to full communion with the Catholic Church can only be made possible if the decisions of the Second Vatican Council are accepted without any reservations, as requested by the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” on the topic of the Tridentine rite.
  • The Church of Rome, perceived as the Barque of St Peter, lists heavily as long as the Vatican:
    only rehabilitates the “lost sheep” at the traditionalist edge of the Church, and makes no similar offer to other excommunicated Catholics
    persists in preventing progressive theologians from teaching
    refuses dialogue with all movements in the Church Essen, January 28, 2009responsible for contents: Prof. Dr. Norbert Scholl, Angelhofweg 24b, D-69259 Wilhelmsfeld Translation: Matthias Blaha / Valerie Stroud

Friday, 6 February 2009

Gerard W. Hughes

Twenty years ago I was given a copy of “The God of Surprises” by Gerard W Hughes. I ‘Began to read it but soon felt uncomfortable with the notion of God being as close to me as I am to myself.’ I couldn’t accept that God be so closely involved in my everyday life and thoughts, especially as I understood that we are weak, and sinful creatures. That being the case how could our life, our reason and experiences be trusted ?

I thank God that prayer, a marvellous wife and good friendships have led me more towards the spirituality of Gerard Hughes during the last 20 years. His two books about walks he undertook, one to Rome, the other to Jerusalem are easy to read, diary type books that have a lifetimes wisdom in them. The latest book I read was “God, Where are you ?” It’s written in the manner of an autobiography and describes “the author’s personal journey of exploration into the mystery of God and of human life.”
I can thoroughly recommend the book for some Lenten reading and you have plenty of time to buy yourself a copy ! Here’s a few passages I took note of during my reading.

  • Recurrent memories are God’s invitation for us to look more closely. God is in everything. Everything and everyone is sacred. Every bush is burning, if only we have eyes to see.

  • All true and lasting change must come from our own minds and hearts. The only thing I can effectively change is my way of perceiving reality.

  • Whenever you approach another person, whatever their belief or lack of it, take off your shoes, for you are entering holy ground as God has been there before you.

  • Sometimes when praying on Christ’s agony in the Garden, I have wondered whether part of the agony lay in seeing how his passion and death would be misused to oppress, coerce and dominate.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Isle of Man

Have you ever been to the Isle of Man ? There’s more to it than the TT races. It’s well worth a visit. There are such a variety of things to see and do, spectacular scenery and lots of history. There is a Christian presence with ancient roots. In some churches can be seen ancient ‘Manx’ crosses and some are set amidst stunning scenery. There are some fascinating local saints like St Maughold. Find out more about the Isle of Man.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Metropolitan Community Church, Manchester

"The Metropolitan Community Church of Manchester is a Christ-centred church rooted in and reaching beyond the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities of Manchester. All are welcome. They are the only church in Manchester to be lgbt led and to fully include all their people in every aspect of leadership and ministry."
This information is from their own website, which I feel, deserves some space on this blog. Their website can be found here or by clicking on their logo.