Saturday, 21 March 2009
To some, certainty is in the Pope's infallibility, to others it's the certainty of Pentecostal or charismatic Catholicism. In between there's a whole lot of colourful space where people live their faith in the tension of belief and doubt where God is found in the ordinariness of everyday life.
Many blogs have sprung up to celebrate the rise of a 'conservative' Catholicism that almost demand an unyielding fidelity to the pope with no room for critical discussion. Those who dare are usually dismissed by a tirade of abuse. Hand in hand with this usually goes the promotion of the extraordinary form of the Mass (nothing wrong with that) along with an 'assumption' that this liturgy is 'better' than the ordinary form. Criticism of the Papacy seems to have achieved the same level of anathema that criticising the Prophet Mohamed has achieved within the Muslim world.
Pope's have made some silly decisions in the past (slavery, the promotion of anti semitism, Galileo) which today's 'ultramontanes' would have assented to, had they lived at the time. One of their champions (and one of mine though for different reasons) is the soon to be beatified Cardinal Newman. In his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk he writes: “Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please – still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards”.
At the opposite extreme lies the catholic pentecostalist. Their 'certainties' can lie in an overemphasis of the importance of speaking in tongues, prophecy, interpreting tongues, ministries of deliverance and even a biblical fundamentalism. St. Mark says in Chapter 16:17 "These are the signs that will be associated with believers; in my name they will cast out devils; they who have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover." Can we really take this passage literally for the sake of certainty ?
I cannot imagine for one moment that any of the above positions of 'certainty' reflect the fullness of faith to be found in the catholic church. Corinthians 13 is probably a passage more often heard than lived out. It has some lessons for our blogging world.
"If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all it's fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all."
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
I’m reading lots of articles critical of the Bishops Conference of England Wales for their handling of nearly everything from the Pope’s latest letter about the lifting of excommunication of the 4 Lefebvre bishops to the appointment of the new Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. There is such vitriol and bad feeling in the comments I have read. Phrases like “The magic Circle” show as much disrespect to the Bishops conference as their writers feel is being shown to the Pope by many in the Bishops conference. These writers kick and scream like spoilt children who are not getting their own way. Before I get accused of being a liberal trendy I would also take issue with extremist voices who are vociferous in their criticism of the church.
Where is the Christian witness in all of this ? Where is trust in the God whose “strength is made perfect in weakness” ? Our God is a God of Creation, a God who creates, who “makes all things new.” Cardinal Cormac’s lecture earlier this year summed up the way forward superbly.
"There are many different voices within the Church at the moment seeking to explain our problems and what we need to do to put them right. We must be attentive and discriminating but we must not allow our energies to get drawn into a Corinthian brawl, “I belong to Paul - I belong to Apollos” (I. Cor. 1.12). We belong to Christ and we are bound in unity by the ministry of Peter and the Apostolic College."
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Friday, 13 March 2009
"And today I bear witness and give thanks for the fidelity of Kevin and so many other priests, religious, men and women, to the pruning, correcting, renewing, transforming, transfiguring Second Vatican Council. This moment demands a word from me to those who feel confused, bruised by the general apparent implications and the specific hideous holocaust-denying element of the lifting of the excommunication of the four Bishops who rejected and
encouraged others to reject the Second Vatican Council. They rejected the renewal of worship, grounded in a deeper understanding of the Mass, the Lord's Supper and our whole
life of prayer and praise: they rejected the ecumenical charter, gloriously affirmed in Liverpool’s Hope Street in the monument to Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock; a monument to a journey that was searching, often difficult, never simplistic. They rejected such documents as those that insisted we must walk a new way with those live the Jewish faith, the Muslim and other religions."
Monday, 9 March 2009
A PARISH without a priest is one option being put forward in a bid to break the impasse over Brisbane's embattled St Mary's Church.
Mediation is expected to begin later this week between the Catholic Church Brisbane diocese and Fr Peter Kennedy, who was sacked from the South Brisbane parish last month but refuses to leave.
Community spokeswoman Karyn Walsh says allowing the church to operate without a regular priest -- a common situation in rural and regional parishes -- could be one way forward.
Find the est of the article here
Saturday, 7 March 2009
In 1979 the war in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was at its height. The government still kept all main roads open, but the guerrillas of the patriotic front controlled much of the hinterland. Whites in outlying areas were told that the government could no longer protect them and were invited to move to safer places.By August that year there were only two white men left in the area of Mutoko, a trading post about 70 miles east from the capital, Salisbury (now Harare). One was Fr. David Gibbs, a priest at All Souls Mission. The other was John Bradburne, an Englishman who looked after lepers at their settlement in Mutemwa. On the night of September 2, 1979, Bradburne was abducted from the round tin hut that was his home.
In the early hours of September 5, Fr. Gibbs found John Bradburne's body beside the main road. He was wearing only his underpants, and he had been shot dead.