Friday, 31 December 2010

The Present Moment - Henri J. M. Nouwen

A 'timely' passage from "Here and Now - Living in the Spirit," by Henri Nouwen.

It is hard to live in the present, the past and the future keep harrassing us. The past with guilt, the future with worries. So many things have happened in our lives about which we feel uneasy regretful, angry confused or at least ambivalent and all these feelings are often coloured by guilt.
Guilt that says . . .

you ought to have done something different than you did,

you ought to have said something other than what you said.

These 'oughts' keep us feeling guilty about the past and prevent us from being fully present to the moment. Worse however than our guilt are our worries. Our worries fill our lives with 'what ifs.'

what if I lose my job ?
what if my father dies ?
what if there is not enough money ?
what if the economy goes down ?
what if a war breaks out ?

These many 'ifs' can so fill our mind that we become blind to the flowers in the garden and the smiling children on the streets, or deaf to the grateful voice of a friend.

The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs'. They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future, but, real life takes place in the here and the now.

God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful or painful.

When Jesus spoke about God he always spoke about God as being where and when we are. 'When you see me you see God, when you hear me you hear God'. God is not someone who was or who will be, but the one who is and who is, for me, in the present moment.

That's why Jesus came to wipe away the burden of the past and the worries of the future.

He wants us to discover God right where we are here and now.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Ushaw College closed ?

I'm bit confused about these links. Is Ushaw College already closed or what ? These pictures show a derilict place, but is it Ushaw ? These photos are supposed to have been taken in Nov 2010. I thought the closure of Ushaw was under consideration not a fait accomplis ? I'd be interested to know. More pictures can be found here. I'm not convinced it's Ushaw College though.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Beyond Belief ?

Not quite sure what to make of this . . . . . . . . .

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Cultural Crisis in Catholicism

The Catholic Church is facing a massive crisis in participation — people have given up participating in the sacraments and listening to what the bishops and the institution has to say. This commentary is about this crisis and addresses what the author says is a deep cultural crisis in the institution that lies at the heart of society's disillusion with the Church. by Brian Coyne LINDEN, NSW, Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

True Believers - With a new Pope

True Believers - With a new Pope, the Catholic Church is moving ideologically to the right.

Dan Rather presents hard-edged field reports, in-depth interviews and investigative pieces that emphasize accuracy, fairness and guts in their reporting. The program will cover topics including, but not limited to, politics, the environment, the global economy, and international affairs and conflicts.

The format of Dan Rather Reports is dictated by the needs of individual stories. Each show will typically consist of multiple stories, but some shows will be devoted to a single, hour-long report.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Catholic Diocese of One Spirit

Click on the banner to find out more . . . .

Papal Amnesia

The New Catholic Times published this article yesterday. A thoughtful commentary the theological principle of double effect.

Papal Amnesia

Author: The Editorial Group
Posted by: Editor on December 06, 2010 1:00:00 AM

Hopefully when the dust settles Benedict will receive what he and John Paul II before him truly deserve, to be castigated for refusing to promulgate a centuries-old Catholic teaching that might very well have saved thousands, nay millions of lives particularly in Africa.

In a seismic shift on one of the most profound - and profoundly contentious - Roman Catholic teachings, the pope was quoted in a recently-published book as stating that condoms are the lesser of two evils when used to curb the spread of AIDS, even if their use prevents a pregnancy.

The position was an acknowledgment that the church's long-held anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn't justify putting lives at risk.
"This is a game-changer" declared the Rev. James Martin, a prominent Jesuit writer and editor.
If you will allowa football(soccer) analogy. It is a game-changer that took place at 95 minutes, 5 minutes into injury time, when it could and should have happened as soon as the game started.

Pope Benedict has received great press and praise for this announcement, made as it was not from the papal throne but in a series of interviews for the book Light of the World.

The world's media is referring to this circuitous announcement as "a new stance" for the Roman Catholic Church.

Hopefully when the dust settles Benedict will receive what he and John Paul II before him truly deserve, to be castigated for refusing to promulgate a centuries-old Catholic teaching that might very well have saved thousands, nay millions of lives particularly in Africa.

The Principle of Double Effect has its historical roots in the medieval natural law tradition, especially in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, and has been refined both in its general formulation and in its application by generations of Catholic moral theologians. This is the basis for Benedict's stance that condom use is the lesser evil than the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Principle of Double Effect principle aims to provide specific guidelines for determining when it is morally permissible to perform an action in pursuit of a good end in full knowledge that the action will also bring about bad results. Classical formulations of the principle of double effect require that four conditions be met if the action in question is to be morally permissible: first, that the action contemplated be in itself either morally good or morally indifferent; second, that the bad result not be directly intended; third, that the good result not be a direct causal result of the bad result; and fourth, that the good result be "proportionate to" the bad result.Supporters of the principle argue that, in situations of "double effect" where all these conditions are met, the action under consideration is morally permissible despite the bad result.

Thomas Aquinas must be delighted that his 13th century musings are considered "a new stance" at the beginning of the 21st century. At least one bishop, Kevin Dowling, whose writings have often appeared in cntsf has been aware of the principle of double effect and has acted upon it in his Rustenburg, South Africa diocese despite opposition from the South African Bishops Conference and the papal nuncio to South Africa.

Perhaps Bishop Dowling was acting on that other great Catholic theological teaching about the primacy of conscience. And in his case most certainly a theologically informed conscience.

This latest "announcement" by Pope Benedict is important not only in and of itself but because of the light it casts on what has happened within the Roman Catholic Church during the pontificates of Benedict XVI and John Paul II.

The principle of double effect is a staple of Catholic moral theology. Unfortunately under both JPII and Benedict theologians, other than those who support blindly and unthinkingly the stated positions of the pontiff, have little or no stature. All it requires to confirm this is to compare the number of Catholic theologians who have been censured and/or silenced during the two most recent pontificates to what happened when Paul VI and John XXIII were Bishops of Rome.

For years "The Ordinary Magisterium", the teaching office of the Roman Catholic Church was composed of:
The magisterial role of the pope and bishops
The magisterial role of the theologians
The magisterial role of the sensus fidelium.

Under JPII and Benedict the roles of the theologians and the sensus fidelium have all but disappeared. The Magisterium has been redefined as what the pope and his appointed bishops say.

It is perhaps a good time to remember the words of Pope Pius XI in his final public address in 1939. He said, "The church, the mystical body of Christ has become a monstrosity. The head is very large, but the body is shrunken. You young priests must rebuild the church and mobilize the lay people."

To quote Professor Daniel C. Maguire, Catholic Theologian at Marquette University,
"When I speak I speak as one theologian. When the bishops (who are not theologians; they are pastors and administrators) speak on moral issues they pretend to speak for the whole church. It is arrogant of the bishops to claim a monopoly on insight in the Catholic community. According to Catholic teaching the Holy Spirit does not restrict illumining grace to three thousand bishops and the pope. History shows, as Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. has written, that there are multiple magisteria in the Church (including the wisdom of the faithful, sensus fidelium, and the wisdom of theologians) which historically have been mutually corrective."

The Second Vatican Council has on different occasions been called Newman's Council(sensus fidelium) and the Council of Collegiality(significance of national and regional synods of bishops).

Following Vatican II The World Synod of Bishops in 1971 issued the document, "Justice in the World" in which the bishops of the synod made a statement which has become one of the most quoted of all the documents of Catholic social teaching: "Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation"

CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Conference, in 1968 at Medellin supported "base ecclesiastic communities" and "liberation theology" and at Puebla in 1979 defined the concept of a "preferential option for the poor".

Beginning in 1967 the Canadian Bishops began an important tradition of Labour Day statements and declarations on social themes.

In his 2009 book Receiving the Council: Theological and Canonical Insights and Debates, Ladislas Orsy SJ the distinguished theologian and canon lawyer emphasizes the significance of the teachings of Vatican II. He reminds us that the highest teaching authority in the Catholic church is the bishops in council and that Vatican II is that authority.

And yet here we are in 2010 fighting for the teachings of Vatican II in our church and in our parishes. This is seen in the emasculation of synods to merely advisory bodies. The centralization of power internationally is with the pope and cardinals in Rome and in some dioceses and parishes with some bishops and priests.

This "father knows best" syndrome, within Church circles often called "creeping infallibility" has led most bishops, with the striking exception of men like Kevin Dowling to remain silent and inactive when Benedict during his first papal visit to Africa, said that handing out condoms is not the answer in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The pontiff said the practice only increased the problem.

The papal stance of JP II and Benedict on condoms mirrors the position taken for so long by both pontiffs on calling priests and bishops to account for the sexual abuse of children. What appeared to be paramount in both instances was the preservation of the "bella figura" of the one, holy, roman catholic church.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson is unequivocal in his contention that John Paul's silence on the priestly pedophilia issue sent a very clear message to the bishops, the "pope's men". The image of the church was to be protected at all costs. The suffering of the abused and their families was collateral damage.

The collateral damage in Africa runs into millions. The concern was how the "bella figura" of the Roman Catholic Church would be damaged if the pope were to change church teaching on condom use.

But if truth be told Bishop Kevin Dowling and not Popes John Paul II and Benedict was the one who was faithful to Catholic theological teaching on condom use. Kevin Dowling not Karol Józef Wojtyła nor Joseph Alois Ratzinger placed The Principle of Double Effect and the lives of those entrusted to his care above the "bella figura" of the one, holy, roman catholic church.

In the years since 1965 and especially during the pontificates of JP II and Benedict XVI the Vatican has moved from the shared vision, the common magisterium, the subsidiarity of Vatican II to the centralized my-way-or-the-highway model of John Paul II and Benedict which has seen one third of North American Catholics walk away from their church. Perhaps the financial loss is the real reason for the reluctant and less-than-gracious about-face on priestly pedophelia and condom use.

Pope Benedict should not be praised for suddenly remembering the principle of double effect. The selective amnesia of Benedict and John Paul for more than 20 years has contributed to the death of more than 25 million since 1981, over 14 million AIDS orphans in Africa and women constituting more than 50% of all adults living with HIV. This last point is again particularly significant. In the initial announcement Benedict was quoted as saying "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom" Later, a Vatican spokesman said the pope's words were meant to apply broadly - beyond gay sex workers. "This is if you're a man, a woman or a transsexual," the spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said. Too often it appears that women don't register for this particular pope.

As a historical church Roman Catholics have looked at the fallible human nature of so many earlier pontiffs. And sighed; and cried; Perhaps it is time to remember that humanity with its full range of possibilities and frailties includes the current bishop of Rome.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Online Advent Experience . . .

Only a couple of days late but this resources is worth looking at !

Online Advent Experience

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own

Thanks to Bridget Mary’s Blog for pointing to this article in the New York Times by Doreen Carvajal about groups of catholics in Belgium starting communities of their own. It’s how I envisage the growth of communities like our own St Gabriel’s community here in Liverpool. Have a read of the article find it here.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Fr Owen O'Sullivan OFM Cap

"An Irish Catholic priest has been effectively silenced by the Vatican. His crime? He argued, in an article in a Catholic religious journal, that homosexuality "is simply a facet of the human condition". Capuchin priest Fr Owen O'Sullivan published his article, titled "On Including Gays", in the March edition of The Furrow, but the priest's thoughts have proven too radical for the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which is headed by american Cardinal William Levada. "

Two points emerge from this post on William Crawley’s blog “Will and Testament.” Firstly the prophetic message Fr O’Sullivan has for the Church today and conversely the restrictive approach of the church to his views.

Have a read of the full article here. If you want a really good read and a real challenge to todays priests read this article, “Where are the Priest Prophets.”

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Vatican Translation Code Pt1

Just found the first of a series made by "Motherbro." The second I posted earlier. They can both be found here. Special thanks to Motherbro for these - cheered me up no end. Here's what "Motherbro" says. "The first of a series exploring the motivations and machinations of the new English translation of the Roman Missal."

The Vatican Translation Code Ep.2

The Australian bishop Broccolini falls into the clutches of the evil Recognito, the Vatican inquisitor. Full marks. Found here.

In case you were wondering, I'm with Broccolini !

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Silent Surrendered : Margaret Rizza

Silent , surrendered, calm and still,
Open to the word of God.
Heart humbled to his will.
Offerred is the servant of God.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Theology of Fallibility

Just revisited an article from John McNeill's blog, 'Spiritual Transformation.' I thought it was well worth reproducing. Brilliant stuff !

The Theology of Fallibility Part IV
Reforming the Church

It should be evident to all that the paternalistic hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has lost contact with the Spirit of God and is no longer its instrument. The pedophile crisis, the effort of the hierarchy to cover that up and the attitude in the hierarchy that their primary objective is not to convey the message of Christ but to do anything to protect their own power, prestige and wealth has made their very existence idolatrous. The hierarchy as presently constituted is the exact opposite to the movement based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus announced at the last supper.

This process whereby the hierarchy lose their commision from God and need to be reformed and replaced has occurred several times in the history of the Jewish-Christian church. Ezekiel (Chapter23) sees God in a vision detaching himself from the Temple in Jerusalem in the form of a chariot becoming flexible and mobile. Ezekiel then has a vision of God upbraiding the shepherds (the hierarchy) of Israel (the Temple Priests) for having failed to feed his sheep and abandoning them, to meet their own self interest. This is an exact parallel with what is happening in the Catholic church at this point in history.

God then revealed a new understanding of shepherding in which God himself would be the shepherd, "Behold I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep!"

Judaism and Christianity are both religions of the collasping Temple. There is always a connection between the collapse of the Temple and the Spirit of God bringing into existence a new form of shepherding. It was the collapse of the Temple in 587 BC which led to the creation of text based Judaism. And, again, the collapse of the Temple in 70 AD which led to the creation of Rabbinic Judaism.

In every case the collapse is part of God's plan to get through to his people and help them to get beyond something that is no longer worthy of them. It took a long time, but only after Ezechiel achieved a certain form of indifference to the fate of the Temple was he able to receive the vision from God of God himself shepherding his people without any intermediary.

In the gospel of John, Jesus identifies the new Temple with his body and the body of all who have received the indwelling Spirit. I am sure that anyone who has experienced God's love and has been freed from self-rejection, and then takes the final step under the guidance of God's Spirit of freeing themselves from external Church authority, will also hear the call to ministry in their hearts. In this very process they have become members of the Church of the Holy Spirit.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are at present in a new stage of the collapsing Temple and the emergence of a new form of shepherding. Joachim of Flores in the 13th century saw three stages in the development of God's church. The first was the Church of obedience to the Father, the Church of Israel; the second was the Church of the Son, Jesus, which he identified with the hierarchical Catholic church. He prophesied that there would come the day when the hierarchical church, becoming superfluous, would in time dissolve and in its place would emerge the Church of the Holy Spirit. I believe that time is now.

Ministry in the Church of the Holy Spirit will come from a direct call of the Holy Spirit to any baptized person from within their spiritual self-awareness. The task of authority will be to listen prayerfully to what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. All authority will proceed from the bottom up and not from the top down. Every community should prayerfully discern spirits to select among their members the one whom God is calling to leadership. That individual could be a man or woman, married or single, gay or straight! The Church of the Holy Spirit must become a totally democratic church with no caste system, no higher or lower, totally equal, women with men, gays with straights; everyone posessing the Holy Spirit within them; eveyone an authority.

For example, who knows what God wants from women? Obviously, only women can discern what God is asking of them. The task of authority in the evolving Church of the Holy Spirit is to enter into dialogue with its women members and discern carefully what God is saying to the Chrurch through its female members.

Another example, who knows what God wants from the lesbian and gay members of the Church? Obviously, only the lesbian and gays! No one can tell us from outside what God wants of us. We are alone in knowing with an experiential knowledge that our love for each other contains the divine spirit and brings with it the kind of peace and joy that indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit.

How, then, can we help the Holy Spirit in her task of transforming the hierarchical Catholic Church into the democratic Church of the Holy Spirit. As I see it the whole Protestant reformation was a premature and aborted attempt to bring about that transformation. Many Protestant communions have developed a much more democratic structure, closer to the Church of the Holy Spirit that Jesus intended. The Roman Church could learn a lot from our Protestant brothers and sisters, if it had the humility necessary to open itself to dialogue with them, seeking their help in its reform from their charism.

The urgent necessity for reform makes the call of a new world-wide Church council imperative! But if the new council is just a repetition of Vatican II with only male hierarchs present, it will necessarily fail to undertake a radical transformation of the Church. The very existence of the hierarchy is the problem and we cannot expect the hierarchy to vote themselves out of existence.

The Second Vaican council took the first step when it redefined the Church as "the People of God." The new council, then, must be a council that truly represents the "People of God". The Second Vatican council also set the agenda for the world council of the People of God when it restated the Christian doctrine of freedom of conscience:

. .Every man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths. In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor. In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals and from social relationships [Vatican Council II, 1966, n. 16, pp. 213-214].

The council must seek out what church organization respects the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every member of the Church. How to so organize the church that every baptized member has a say, or at least a representation, in the governing body of the church. How to guarantee that church leadership makes is primary task to listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit is saying to it through the people of God. These are the primary tasks of the new council.

Let us all pray to the Holy Spirit to come and rescue the Catholic Church from its present bondage to a male clerical hierarchy!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The "Dumbing Down" of the Roman Catholic Church

More people need to hear this as far as I'm concerned. Robert Caruso is priest of the Old Catholic Church in America.

The "Dumbing Down" of the Roman Catholic Church


The Roman Catholic Church has always been controversial on social issues. In recent years the Roman leadership has spiraled further and further into a more aggressive absolutist, monarchical and judgmental kind of leadership that distinctly and genuinely has embraced a power that is neither pastoral nor loving.

Minnesota's Roman Catholic Archbishop Neinstedt has singled out a persecuted minority group to demonize and bully. As a gay man in a relationship for close to 14 years, and as an ordained Old Catholic priest, I feel compelled to say something for the sake of the Catholic Church and the GLBT community here in the Twin Cities. Let me be clear that I love the Church and believe that the Second Vatican Council was Spirit-driven in a most dynamic way. But I believe the Roman Catholic leadership in Minnesota has imposed extreme injustices on Catholic gay and lesbian persons as well as on progressive Catholics in general.

It is indeed dangerous for us to remain silent or wait for better days within the Catholic Church when such horrible psychological abuse is inflicted upon gay and lesbian persons who merely seek to fully live their lives in harmony and peace with others. It is no longer acceptable to be "bi-partisan" or "non-controversial" on this issue when such psychological abuse from Archbishop Neinstedt is apparent and unapologetic.

The conciliatory renewal that was to occur in the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church has gone stagnant. The pastoral constitution of "Gaudium et Spes" ("Joy and Hope") has all but been ignored by Pope Benedict and more locally by Archbishop Neinstedt. It is clear that the church's fidelity to persons having a God-given gift of freedom of conscience is a very scary idea for men like them because complex social moral issues such as same-sex marriage indeed require something more than calculated vagaries of fear and manipulation. Dialogue needs to happen, and this can only occur among persons with free consciences. Moreover, Vatican II explicitly proclaims that bishops are called to "direct the energies" of the church "towards its common good" in a manner that is pastoral in character and "not in a mechanical or despotic fashion." (GS, Ch. 4, sec. 74)

The recent political actions of Archbishop Neinstedt, the mailing of 400,000 DVDs in opposition to the civil rights movement of same-sex marriage, are grotesque, to say the least. Neinstedt's DVD message is but one example among others of what many Catholics and non-Catholics believe is the systematic "dumbing down" of the Roman Catholic Church. The message contained in the DVD never once spoke about the actual teachings of the Roman Magesterium concerning same-sex marriage. This DVD was neither theological nor intelligent, but deceptively political in singling out gay and lesbian persons.

I will no longer participate in the "dumbing down" of the Catholic Church I grew up with and love. We are the church of Ireaneus, Tertullian and Gregory of Nyssa; we are a church that cherishes a pastorally reasonable and coherent tradition! We are a Christian tradition that is comprised primarily of eucharistic table communities where worship reminds us that we live in an ordered creation that moves Christians to love in generosity and nonviolence. The Roman Catholic leadership has clearly ostracized Catholic gay and lesbian persons from the eucharistic table! It is time to celebrate our Catholic faith apart from the Roman Catholic leadership—it is time for us progressive Catholics to form eucharistic table communities as a "counterstructure" from the Roman leadership.

The spirit of Vatican II is not dead, but alive in those of us who seek to fully live our lives as the People of God, regardless of sexual orientation.

That is to say, the spirit of Vatican II continues to move beyond the denominational borders of Roman Catholicism! Our hope, our joy is our coming together as a eucharistic community where the tradition of the church is not "dumbed down," but enriched and transformed in the communion of the Spirit!

Fr. Bob is pastor of Cornerstone Old Catholic Community of the Twin Cities.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

House by the Sea : Carol Bialock

I built my house by the sea.
Not on sand, mind you.
Not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.

A strong house.
By a strong sea.
And we got well-acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence
of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier;
always the sand between.

And then one day
(I still don't know how it happened),
but the sea came.
Without warning.
Without welcome, even.
Not sudden and swift, but sifting across the
sand like wine.
Less like the flow of water than the flow
of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher,
till it reached my door.

I knew, then, there was neither flight nor
death nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling you stop
being good neighbors,
Well-acquainted, friendly-from-a-distance
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe under water.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The cost of Looking Good in the Magic Kingdom

An interesting piece by “Huguccio Della Chiesa” found it’s way into my inbox. Whilst it may not be everybody’s cup of tea it provides food for thought. Do check out the price tag on pg15. ! The article begins . . .

"Its not easy being a pillar of the Church and a successor of an apostle. The exalted role of the bishop must reflect the majesty and power of the Almighty and Supreme God who is much like an absentee Emperor who has left his properties in the care mere earthlings.

Since these “mere earthlings” are the earthbound stand-ins for the Invisible and Omnipotent Deity while HE is away in some other universe taking care of business, it stands to reason they must look the part. All this talk about the Church being a community or a people of God is heretical poppycock. The Church Triumphant is a Majestic Kingdom. Jesus was the supreme King. He just never showed up in Jerusalem or its environs in his king suit."

Have a look at the whole article here AND there’s lots of luvverly pictures, if that's your sort of thing. I think you can tell where my thoughts lie . . .

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Bishop Cantu says Ucant !

An interesting post from the blog "Enlightened Catholicism," - Forget knowing us by our love, Jesus knows us by our sexual sins.

I sincerely hope such judgments don't happen here in the UK. The initial article was written by Michael A Jones. The commentary following the article exposes the ridiculous position of the Bishop Cantu very eloquently. I reproduce both the article and commentary below - thanks to "Enlightened Catholicism."

Installation of Bishop Cantu as Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio, making him the youngest bishop in the US--in more ways than one.

Forget knowing us by our love, Jesus knows us by our sexual sins
by Michael A. Jones - October 23, 2010

For 15 years, LGBT Catholics and allies were able to worship at St. Ann Catholic Church in San Antonio. On a weekly basis these folks would filter into the pews, and honor that age-old commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. Priests and other Catholics interested in building a better relationship between the Church and the LGBT community would attend, setting aside whatever divisions might exist the other six days of the week, and focus on reconciliation, forgiveness, and a little love between neighbors.

But in a memo released by their acting head bishop, the Archdiocese of San Antonio has said goodbye to reconciliation, forgiveness, and the whole 'love thy neighbor' mission, and instead are telling LGBT people in San Antonio that they're no longer welcome in Church. Well, that is, unless they want to change their sexual orientation.

Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú, the interim head of the San Antonio archdiocese, said that creating a safe space for LGBT Catholics (and their friends and families) to worship was contradictory to the tenets of Catholicism, and that simply allowing LGBT Catholics to worship as a group made Jesus weep, and could simply not be tolerated. His suggestion? That LGBT Catholics pledge celibacy if they really want to worship.

The sad part is that for 15 years this has been a non-issue, as leaders within the Archdiocese felt it more important to welcome all folks to the table, rather than exclude a heaping portion of the population. But as with many Catholic dioceses around the country, the politicization of the issue of homosexuality has taken center stage. Gone are the days where many churches can be counted on to focus on poverty, homelessness, hunger, education, and health care as their top social priorities. In are the days where church leaders want to denounce gay people, even if most folks in the pews have friends and family who identify as LGBT. (My heart goes out to the parents of gay kids. They are faced with two brutal choices, condemning their kids or being more or less condemned by their Church. It was very easy for me to see why Anne Rice finally took a hike.)

The actions of the Archdiocese, however, aren't going to keep LGBT Catholics from speaking out. Fred Anthony Garza, the President of a local chapter of Dignity, said that the definition of Church isn't a building, but rather a community of people. If the San Antonio Archdiocese won't let the LGBT community inside its doors without pre-conditions, then LGBT Catholics will just find another place to meet.
(As more Catholics come to this insight, more Catholics are going to find real and meaningful Catholic spirituality.)


Bishop Cantu really needs to take a look at his orthodoxy. It's too luke warm. Why is it that only a Mass dedicated for gays and their supporters is contrary to Catholic tenets and makes Jesus weep? I think this notion of the good Bishop needs to be taken much much further. I would hope Cantu would also see a similar need to stop special Masses dedicated for those people who like Latin, or special Masses for the KofC, or any other 'special' group, like convents or monasteries, whose need for 'special' treatment must also make Jesus weep. Seriously, San Antonio should prohibit all special Masses for special groups. Jesus had no special people who needed special rituals or attention. period.

Secondly if gay Catholics must be celibate and silent to step foot in a church to receive their baptismal rights, then all single heterosexuals should also pledge celibacy and all married people should pledge to be monogamous and free of birth control, and no one should step one foot inside a Catholic church if they can't make a pledge refraining from masturbation. If Cantu is going to enforce Catholic sexual morality for gays, it seems to me that Jesus must also be weeping over this special treatment. I can easily imagine Jesus makes no distinctions when it comes to Catholic sexual sins. Kick all the unpledged sinners out. period. Especially clerics.

Granted this won't leave many Catholics in the pews, but the sacrifice would be worth it if it stopped Jesus's weeping. Well, at least weeping in church. He might weep a river of tears over all the people outside the church but it might be that following that river led all those people to found a new Catholic community. A community in which they discovered that sexual sins aren't that important beside the great commandment to love one another. It might be in this kind of community that they would be brought to understand that one of the greatest of sins is not about sex at all, but about denying any believer access to the gifts of His love that Jesus gave to all who profess faith in Him. That's a big one and Cantu is guilty of committing it, and to make it even worse, he's blaming it on Jesus. That won't cut it. period.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Survey : Catholic Attitudes

A survey of attitudes to all things 'Catholic' or not, as the case may be can be found by clicking on the logo left or here.

It's an interesting attempt to gather a range of opinions about current attitudes to catholicism. The Obsurvey site is also well worth a visit if you are considering adding a survey to your website !

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

When Death Comes

When Death Comes
Mary Oliver
From New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
(Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108-2892, ISBN 0 870 6819 5).

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mary MacKillop

Thinking of our family in Australia on this special day for them all.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

UECC-UK Ordination

Saturday 2nd October - Feast of the Guardian Angels - was a great day for ECC UK; and for Father Nick was the culmination of 25 years of seeking to follow the path of vocation laid down for him.

Gateacre chapel in Liverpool was the historic venue for this historic occasion and the atmosphere on the day was pervaded by what Bishop Terry called "A sense of rightness".

In his homily the Bishop referred to the frightening, indeed awesome, responsibility of the priesthood - a gift given for others and not for the receiver. A power given only for service.

A church full of Father Nick's relatives and friends attested to the spirit of family that drives the ECC and its sister churches. Families start small and steadily grow bigger and stronger as more come to share the bond of love that unites the parents.

Our family grew on 2nd October and God's wider family benefited from renewed flowing of grace as the Holy Spirit reached out to touch hearts.

- A touching of hearts that refreshed the need for sacraments and broke long standing fasts.
- A touching of hearts that reconciled and healed.
- A touching of hearts that brought many different and real responses - some that will take people on new paths and deeper into the heart of God.

We have many reasons to give thanks for 2nd of October

- For the spirit of love and unity that was manifestly present
- For the warm welcome of the Rev David Buckley and the Gateacre Community
- For Father Nick's giving of himself to God's will
- For Lorna's and Joanne's loving support of that gift
- For the blessing of reassurance that what we do is God's work and will.

And now the work of St Gabriel's Community Parish really begins. "May God who has begun the good work bring it to fulfilment!"

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Blessed Chiara Luce Badono

I have just been watching the beatification mass of Blessed Chiara Luce Badono on EWTN. I’m struck at the simplicity between this mass and the mass of Blessed John Henry Newman – and I’m a fan of Newman.

I’ve also caught a glimpse of the thanksgiving in the Paul VI audience hall in Rome. There is a markedly different tone in the celebration from the Birmingham Oratory thanksgiving Vespers and Mass. I know my heart and mind lies with Blessed Chiara’s celebrations, even though I love Newman's fidelity to his 'Kindly Light.'

Thursday, 16 September 2010

MacMillan Mass Setting

I’ve just enjoyed the Papal Mass from Glasgow and was really anticipating enjoying the Mass parts by Macmillan. I have to say I was disappointed. The Gloria seemed to meander with little sense of purpose as did the Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and the Agnus Dei.

Many people have denigrated the Mass settings of Paul Inwood and others. The MacMillan setting didn't make me think I could use this in my Parish. Neither did I think his music was head and shoulders above other contemporary Liturgical composers, as many have said. Who am to say this I hear you say ? I have been a choirmaster and organist for 25 years, I have a B Mus degree and a knowledge of the music and Liturgy of the Catholic Church.

My highlight of the Mass has been the offertory setting by Noel Donnelly. It was prayerful and suited it's purpose. I Look forward to other Liturgies, but sorry James, I can’t recall any phrase of the Mass setting . . . . to be fair though, after being advised to listen to the above recording on Youtube I have felt a litle more positive about it, though the way some of the words are set feels a little awkward, rather like Handel's setting of "All we like Sheep." Let's see if it's still as popular in 30 years time as the Coventry Mass setting of Inwood and the Gloria of Peter Jones.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Women's Ordination Worldwide

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) stands in solidarity with Catholic women in Ireland who call for a widespread boycott of Mass on Sunday, September 26, 2010.

Jennifer Sleeman, an active Catholic from Cork, Ireland initiated this movement when she urged women of Ireland to send a message to the Vatican that "women are tired of being treated as second-class citizens in the Church."

This call which began with one woman is now spreading beyond the shores of Ireland as women around the world link arms together for participation in the day of action.
  • On September 26th, 2010 WOW encourages people of Catholic faith to consider organizing one of the following options for their parish communities:

  • Withhold Funds: Instead of making a donation at collection time, place a note in the collection basket that expresses your support for women's ordination. (Print a postcard here.)
  • Wear green armbands to Mass

  • Boycott Mass: Grieving the Church's sin of sexism, participate in a prayerful fast from mass. Gather together in one of the many other meaningful ways in which the Eucharist can be celebrated, including women-led or community led communities.

Hans Kung Interview

I was delighted to read an interview with Hans Kung found on "The Progressive Catholic Voice" blog. This short extract below resonates with some topics being discussed at the moment.

"In a relaxed atmosphere, Dr. Küng expressed his views about the future of the Church. As he sees it, the institution we know will die soon, to be replaced by communities following the gospel of Jesus, with informal liturgies and a sacramentality related to life in community. He is very devoted to developing relationships between Christianity and non-Christian religions, the attempt to discover a global ethical commonality, and ultimately, a global understanding of God. What he sees emerging is a spirituality related to the human condition and stages of life, to replace institutionalized rigidity."

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

From Jesus Christ : The First Christians

This FRONTLINE series is an intellectual and visual guide to the new and controversial historical evidence which challenges familiar assumptions about the life of Jesus and the epic rise of Christianity.

For an overview of the series read the Synopsis. It includes links to some of the stories and material on this web site which expand the narrative.

This site is anchored by the testimony of New Testament theologians, archaeologists and historians who serve as both critics and storytellers. They address dozens of key issues, disagreements and critical problems relating to Jesus' life and the evolution of Christianity. Throughout the site, maps, charts (for example, the fortress of Masada), ancient texts (including Perpetua's diary), pictures of the archaeological discoveries, ancient imagery, and audio excerpts from the television program complement and illuminate the scholars'commentary.

A new addition to this site is the edited transcript of a two-day symposium at Harvard University. This symposium was a follow-up to the FRONTLINE broadcast and featured scholars' presentations, workshops and audience discussion.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Catholic Voices for Reform

Catholic Voices for Reform is a new grouping of concerned Catholics who believe that it is essential that the Church undergoes a process of reform. CV4R brings together representatives of many of the Catholic Reform Groups in Britain and, through these groups, has ecumenical, European and worldwide connections.

"(Christ's Faithfull) have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church.

They have the right to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals" (Can 212 #3)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Dom Constantine Bosschaerts

Providence has led me to find out something about Dom Constantine Bosschaerts. I have not pieced together all the elements of what I have found out about him yet. It seems to me he has much to teach our present generation about Unity, Liturgy and Spirituality.

He lived from 1889 – 1950 was an Olivetan Benedictine who had drive and a strong vision for the renewal of Liturgy at the service of Christian Unity. He writes "The most powerful agents (for the work of reunification) is the Liturgy: The Liturgy develops into an intense internal and external prayer atmosphere, its rising to more than listening, it develops to the full richness of line and colour and sound playing, make her a true Christian family party where the wine of God's joy streaming into the soul, where the Bread of God's power strengthens the souls to life that is powerful tool for all God's people by tingling with new Christian power. "

This vision appears to have sound roots as Dom Constantine had collaborated with Archbishop Angelo Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, before starting the Vita et Pax Foundation which embodied the ideal of religious unity. This vision was initially realised in the renewal of the Olivetan Benedictines at Schotenhof’s Priory of Regina Pacis. For the 1920’s his liturgical sense was extremely radical. He placed the altar of the chapel at it’s centre, away from the Eastern wall where Priest and People could face each other. His religious art was simple, modern and aesthetic. He also celebrated mass in the vernacular and encouraged concelebration.

His vision was also brought to England. In 1922, Dom Constantine Bosschaerts O.S.B. established a branch of ‘Vita et Pax’ Benedictine Sisters in Stanley House at the Sacred Heart R C Church, Eccleshall. Although they stayed only three years, Father Constantine found time to decorate the sanctuary and paint scenes from the lives of the local Saxon Martyrs on the walls of the baptistery. Remnants of his work can be still seen on the beams of the sanctuary.

In 1936 the Parish of Christ the King, in Cockfosters was founded by Dom Constantine. One of his confreres Dom Placid Meylink (1926 – 2003) appears to embody Dom Constantine’s vision. After the Second Vatican Council opened the Roman Catholic Church to modernity, Meylink with his fellow Cockfosters monks and nuns toured Britain with innovative exhibitions communicating the exciting and radical new thought spreading through the Church.

Later ecclesiastical revisionism frustrated him but, with his Dutch determination and tenacity, rarely deflected him. The monastery guesthouse, the Benedictine Centre for Spirituality, a Christian Meditation Centre and in 1995 a new monastery building were the enduring fruits of his prime years.

Meylinks ideas continued to develop. For 10 years he served on the guiding board of the World Community for Christian Meditation which teaches contemplative prayer worldwide in the Christian tradition. Meylink saw in this movement a complement to Abbot Constantine's emphasis on liturgy as a way to Christian unity.

Unity remained his keynote, but increasingly he recognised it as a unity stretching across all religions and cultures that needed a contemplative foundation.

This discovery of the life of Dom Constantine I suspect is only the beginning of a ‘spiritual friendship.’ I have long since thought that unity amongst all faiths will come about through a growth in spirituality rather than a move towards uniformity. I even wonder if elements of the search for Christian Unity have been as useful and as fruitful as Pius Xs condemnation of modernism. I’m sure others will enlighten me.

Turvey Abbey continues Bosschaerts legacy as a place of liturgy and spirituality in the service of Christian unity between churches of the East and West.

I would be interested to know more of Dom Constantine Bosschaerts and his ideas.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Teresa Helena Higginson Revisited

A chance to make something of a warm summers day, led to another encounter with Teresa Helena Higginson. Spending some time at the church in which she is buried set me thinking about her experiences and her apparent God given task of awaking hearts and minds to Jesus as seat of Divine Wisdom.

I have often thought that devotion to the Sacred heart has suffered somewhat since the 1960s. At it’s height the devotion was possibly too prescriptive and could be seen as a kind of catholic ‘magic.’ If you do this (go to mass on the first nine Fridays) you get this (heaven !)

The wider implications of God’s love for each of us, the wonderful passages of scripture relating to God’s love for us (e.g. 1Jn 4:7-21) appear to be only secondary importance. The cart seems to have been put before the horse. So a devotion that has it’s very essence within the love of God is reduced to fulfilling objective acts in order to gain the promise of a spiritual reward.

Yet, “The Love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.’ (Rom 5:5) This view of devotion serves as much use to right faith and sound spirituality as the view of God being a ‘Divine accountant’ where St Peter sits at the gates of heaven with his book in which are placed the right and wrongdoings of all who seek to enter heaven!

I suspect Teresa Higginsons ‘revelations’ have suffered the same fate as devotion to the Sacred Heart. Devotion to the Sacred Heart appears to reduce love, relationship and responsibility to undertaking 'pious' actions to gain a promise of ‘grace,’ so too does the devotion to the Sacred Head.

Again the Divine attribute ‘wisdom’ gets lost with the message. The richness of the message can be reduced to a lowest common denominator – what do I have to do ? what do I get ? Yes, I am overstating the case but I feel it needs to be overstated. Look what has happened to the Rosary ? It seems to be the role of the 'chunnering' brigade on coach trips to ‘say’ it these days rather than a reflective, prayerful meditation of the mysteries. Is a communal recitation of the rosary really in the spirit of the prayer? Again if there is a focus upon ‘doing’ the devotion the message becomes blurred. I think all the devotions mentioned above have suffered in ‘translation’ over the past 50 years.

The tradition of wisdom writings found in the bible, the scrutiny of Jesus parables in the Gospels as well as non canonical writings (e.g. Gospel of Thomas) that have been discovered have contributed to a reappraisal of wisdom in the teaching of Jesus, the logos, the wisdom of God. Much has been written about the wisdom of Jesus. Cynthia Bourgeaults book “The Wisdom of Jesus” is a wonderful introduction to this topic.

Perhaps devotion to the Sacred Head could be understood more fully in the light of new research and a reappraisal of the ‘wisdom’ teaching of Jesus. Both devotions are a reflection of the life and times in which they were ‘revealed’ and can appear ossified in the spirit of their respective centuries. The revelation of Gods love and wisdom is eternal and especially rooted in the 'now'. Perhaps the time has come to rehabilitate Teresa and her calling people to rest in the mercy of the wisdom of God.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Just returned from a three day trip/retreat to Holy Island. The Celts speak of ‘thin’ places where the veil between this world and the next is quite translucent. This has got to be one of those places. However, my experience had other things to say. If I was looking for a spiritual place I would have missed it. If I was looking for a place to spiritual it was perfect. Through grace we can be spiritual anywhere.

The overriding personal message for me was secured to the side of the entrance to the catholic church in the picture above – “Go wherever Divine Providence calls.” There is an even more personal story through the door of this church. One that is too personal to be shared on a blog. Divine providence is calling and to some this call could be a scandal, though I must follow my conscience.

Have a look at the Island website and take in it's spiritual legacy. You may even take a visit there yourself. Who knows, you too may "go wherever Divine Providence calls."

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Talking Treason in Church

Just started reading “Talking Treason in Church” by Joseph P. Marren. It’s a must read for anyone interested in seeing signs of renewal in the Roman Catholic Church.

Don’t take my word for it though. Have a read of the Preface on Amazon. It will either whet your appetite for reform or have you singing “God Bless our Pope.” No prizes for guessing it’s effect on me !

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Mary Magdalen Apostle Catholic Community

Ever come across the joke, “Why are busses like bananas?” “Because they come in bunches !” – the universal law that when you’ve been waiting for a bus for over half an hour two usually come at once ? The same seems to be true of independent catholic communities.

Only yesterday I came across St Stephens in Minneapolis. Today a community called St Magdalen Apostle Community in San Diego has come into my radar. They have hit the headlines last week by the communities ordination of one of their members Nancy Corran. More about the ordination can be found here.

Obviously she was bravely ordained to serve their community and I wish them well. This is what the community says about themselves on their website which can be found here or by clicking on the banner above.

"Founded and convened by Rev. Dr. Jane Via, Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community, welcomes all and reaches out to those who are marginalized. We are dedicated to living the Gospel values of compassion, peace and social justice as taught and exemplified by Jesus the Christ.

We are committed to the full equality of women and men in a transformed Roman Catholic Church and world. In prophetic response to the Spirit, we are actively creating a new model of church community as a discipleship of equals through radical inclusiveness in language, worship and ministry. We seek to be mindful of our stewardship of the earth and to practice environmental responsibility for God's creation."

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

St Stephen's Minneapolis

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 2 years now and still find communities and websites that I find inspiring. People are doing exciting things in response to deeply held faith and transformative spirituality. They are beginning to live new ways of being ‘catholic,’ in response to their situation either as individuals or communities.

Just today I came across the “Spirit of St Stephen” community. Here’s what they say on their Homepage: “Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community is an independent Catholic community rooted in Vatican II and Catholic Social Teaching. We believe in the priesthood of all people of faith and center our worship on the Eucharist. We support each other in trying to follow the nonviolent Jesus who was radically inclusive. Justice and inclusion in our worship and in our community support our work for justice and peace in our world. We are living the questions, and listening for the Spirit's guidance. All are welcome.”

More and more communities like this are enriching a prophetic vision of what the church could be. Take a time to view their website or watch the videos that appear on the progressive catholic voice website.

Friday, 30 July 2010

New Priests' reform movement launched

This article appeared in the Irish Catholic yesterday, written by Garry O'Sullivan and Michael Kelly.

"A new priests' movement is being planned to push for a reformation within Irish Catholicism, The Irish Catholic has learned. The push, which will include a call for the Church to re-evaluate its teaching on sexuality as well as ''an equal place for women in all areas of Church life'' is the brainchild of three prominent priests.

In a statement to The Irish Catholic, the three, Fr Tony Flannery, Fr Brendan Hoban and Fr Sean McDonagh said ''the consensus was that, due to the diversity of opinion among priests, it would be impossible to represent all clergy" Continue reading by clicking here.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Fresh Expressions

All over the world there are both large and small groups seeking fresh expressions of the catholic faith. These ‘prophetic’ groups have many similar aims.

They welcome and embrace all people,
They open doors of opportunity to all rather than create any barriers,
They do not allow God to be tied down to tradition, rite, law or any other form of control,
They welcome all to the sacramental life of the church.

They place service before leadership
They place spirituality before maintenance of church buildings or structures,
They recognise the life of God at work in people of all faiths and none,
They favour the spirit of the law to the letter of the law,
They are an expression of prayerful relationship with God.

They have an ecumenical outlook,
They do not equate uniformity with unity,
They place relationship before membership,
They prefer to strive and to seek rather than sit comfortably with being right.

They recognise our reliance upon God’s mercy,
They place transformation before conformity,
They prefer to ‘let go,’ rather than ‘hold on,’
They are happy with not knowing.

They see God within and without, in equal measure,

They see God in the NOW.

Friday, 23 July 2010


Once again it's taken me a while to discover, but Busted Halo is a brilliant resource. Here's there "About Us" info from there website. "

We live in an age filled with seekers who are desperately trying to find deeper meaning in their lives but whose journey has little to do with traditional religious institutions. believes that the experiences of these pilgrims and the questions they ask are inherently spiritual.

Based in wisdom from the Catholic tradition, we believe that the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of all God’s people. Nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. strives to reveal this spiritual dimension of our lives through feature stories, reviews, interviews, faith guides, commentaries, audio clips, discussions and connections to retreat, worship and service opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.

We are committed to creating a forum that is: open, informed, unexpected, unpredictable, balanced, and thought-provoking. Every time we ask questions about what our lives mean and what keeps us alive, we are talking about something that’s relevant to"

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Pray Tell : Worship, wit & Wisdom

Why does it take me so long to find useful blog sites ? Here's a balanced blog with information about the Liturgy.

There's some interesting things being written about the new Translation of the Roman Missal. Click on the banner or here and have a good no-nonsense well balanced read.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Papal Event tickets up to £25

Interesting news from "The Scotsman" stating that those who want to attend any of the Papal events on his visit to the UK may be charged up to £25, let alone the cost of travel !

"CATHOLICS planning to attend open-air Mass arranged for the Pope's visit to the UK will face a two-tier system, depending on which side of the Border they are.

Worshippers in Scotland will not have to pay to attend the Papal Mass to be held in Glasgow during the Pontiff's visit, it was announced last night, while those attending the events in England and Wales will be charged up to £25." Continue reading here.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Infallible ? ? ?

Thanks to Aquinas blog for this superb post reminding me of why I so distrust any aspect of religion that favours a rule based approach to faith or offers certainty. I have copied the post in full. It can be found here

In this chapter, Orsy addresses how the new papal invention of “definitive doctine” compromises the intellectual freedom necessary to properly develop doctrine. “… the demand for stability and the imperative of development are vital forces in any living community.” (p. 105)

He describes how you can tell when development of doctrine is healthy: it respects the foundations of the institution, shows a harmonious progress from the old to the new, the once hidden potentials of the old are revealed, it is filled with energy. If it is unhealthy, it destabilizes the foundations, has a corrosive impact on identity, undermines original principles, is a radical break, shows no vigor of life, and weakens the from the old to the new, the once hidden potentials of the old are revealed, it is filled with energy. If it is unhealthy, it destabilizes the foundations, has a corrosive impact on identity, undermines original principles, is a radical break, shows no vigor of life, and weakens the institution.

“The Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983, mandated a healthy balance between stability and development. It’s canon 750 stressed the importance of stability … Canon 218 asserted the imperative of development and the need for ‘just freedom’ in research …
The two canons together stated well the right and duty of the community–to preserve and to let evolve the evangelical doctrine. (p. 108)

Inventing Definitive Doctrine with Ad tuendam fidem

“This balance established by the Code of Canon Law, however, was changed in 1998 with the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Ad tuendam fidem. The letter introduced into, and imposed on, the church a new category of teaching, called ‘definitive,’ and explained it as not infallible but irreformable. Effectively, it not verbally, it transferred some freely debated doctrines from the field of ‘doubtful things’ to the field of the ‘necessary things,’ where no question must be raised anymore about their unchangeable nature. …

“Thus the document places each and every point of teaching that has been declared ‘definitive’ by the papal magisterium into the body of ‘the doctrine of the Catholic Church,’ even when such a declaration does not fulfill the stringent criteria of a papal definition …” In other words, is not infallible. (p. 108-9)
Ratzinger also wrote a Commentary (not part of it or signed by the CDF) listing examples of definitive doctrine, like no ordination for women, the invalidity of Anglican ordination, etc.

So now doctrine doesn’t have to be infallible to be “irreformable.” And sanctions were added to canon law to enforce observance of doctrines determined to be definitive. Gotta love it.

But Ad tuendam fidem itself is not infallible because it is not a solemn ex cathedra pronouncement. So even by the loony logic of infallibility, it isn’t infallible.
It extends doctrinal foundations beyond traditional limits by attributing “unchangeable permanency to doctrines to which the universal church has not committed itself infallibly.” (p. 112) Plus, it just basically made up the category of non-infallible but unchangeable. And it stifles real thought.
And you wonder why so many people think the church is nuts.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Bishop Kevin Dowling

Here is a link to an article from the "National Catholic Reporter" to the text of a talk given by Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa. It begins . . .

'Leadership does not have all the answers all the time'

South African Bishop Kevin Dowling asks a room of lay Catholics, "Who in today's world even listens to, much less appreciates and allows themselves to be challenged by the leadership of the church? I think the moral authority of the church's leadership has never been weaker."

Dowling then critiques church leadership using the lens of Catholic social teaching and find it fails on the principle of subsidiarity. The rest of the article can be found here.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Asylum Link Merseyside

Asylum Link is an organisation dedicated to assisting Asylum Seekers and Refugees and to raising public awareness around Refugee issues.

Asylum Link is a drop-in centre for all asylum seekers and refugees.

Asylum Link provides friendship, help and advice and encourages the participation of asylum seekers and refugees in the service.

The day to day running of the centre is carried out by 3 full time and 5 part time staff, and around 60 volunteers, overseen by a board of 12 Trustees .... more information ....or download the leaflet on ALM

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Richard Rohr on i-tunes

It’s been a busy few weeks here with not too much time for blogging. I have had time to listen to Franciscan Fr Richard Rohr however.

I have read his books with a keen interest and have been delighted to find many of his audio books on I-tunes. If you have i-tunes on your computer click this link to see his available titles. I can recommend “Breathing Under Water, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps.”

Some of his homilies are available as free podcasts and can be heard in a web browser here.

If you haven’t heard of Richard Rohr why not give him your ears for a little time. He’s a superb communicator and could change the way in which you view your spiritual life. It may be the message your heart and mind and soul have been waiting for. If you like things for 'free', have at listen to him on Youtube. - a sort of "try before you buy !"

Saturday, 19 June 2010

African Catholic Community Church

I’ve been fascinated to find out about the “African Catholic Community Church.” Disquiet with certain areas of church discipline is not the preserve of Western nations.

Our African Brother and Sisters seem to be living the kind of community some of us aspire to ! Have a good look at their website and the work of their chief Pastor and founder Fr Fano Ngcobo. I thank God for their ministry and witness.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

World Cup

What a brilliant Idea ! Have a look here.

On 11th June 2010, the World Cup kicked off with the host nation South Africa, taking on Mexico. Pray-as-you-go in partnership with the Jesuit Institute in South Africa have provided 5 reflections on themes surrounding the World Cup and South Africa.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I am Catholic : John Churchman

I am Catholic,

Author: John Chuchman

Absolutely loved this personal statement from John Churchman as it appeared "New Catholic Times." It sums up and ties together so many strands of my own experience with an eloquence I couldn't begin to express. Hope you like it too . .

I am Catholic,
I will remain Catholic,
though not in the sense I have been Catholic,
and not in the sense the hierarchs would like.

I'll ever be Catholic
in an inclusive and expanding sense,
not in an exclusive and retracting mode.
In terms of the Institution's trinity of Behavior:
to pay, pray, and obey,
the hierarchy would say I have two and half strikes against me:

I support my parish, but refuse to donate to any diocesan campaign,
(I need no middle-men for my donating, especially ones I do not trust)
I pray-more than ever-but not in some prescribed formulas,
rather in how I live and dialogue with my God;

I refuse to obey the hierarchy's self-serving rules and regulations,
preferring instead to abide by the true original meaning of the word
To obey: To Listen Well.
continue reading "I am Catholic" click here

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Anyone for Chocolate ?

Just had a read of William Lindsey’s brilliant blog article (The Catechism Again: The I-Believe-Everything Approach to Catholic Orthodoxy) and reflection on Terry Weldons article “The place of the Catechism.”

I particularly enjoyed discovering that “The consumption of chocolate by women was forbidden by the church when Europeans first discovered that delicious and stimulating food of the new world.”

In the 'responses' to the post William Lindsey replies “One (among many) scholarly sources you may want to consult re: the church’s surprisingly protracted concerns about consumption of chocolate is Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, ed. Louis E. Grivetti and Howard Yana-Shapiro (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Especially illuminating in this book is the chapter entitled “Chocolate and Sinful Behaviors: Inquisition Testimonies,” by Beatriz Cabezon, Patricia Barriga, and Louis Evan Grivetti. This essay studies the Inquisition’s involvement in inquiring into the moral feasibility of chocolate consumption by Christians. Theological debates about the use of chocolate were heated, believe it or not, through the 17th and into the 18th century.”

I love the "Open Tabernacle" Blog !

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Papal Visit

I’ve just read Damien Thompsons excellent Blog article about the chaos behind the Papal visit. He’s not too happy about the lack of resources available but I did find this article that only yesterday the Pope was given a copy of the resource booklet to help Catholics prepare for the visit.

I've also been busy searching the Papal visit site for some other resources and found this page of resources dedicated to making our parishes welcoming and inclusive. I’ve included some of them below. If a dialogue box pops up, just press cancel or open.

Everybody’s Welcome? Helping your church to become more friendly for all kinds of families

There is also a series of leaflets to help parishes understand and meet the needs of families in specific situations. A welcome resource. They can be downloaded here or click a link for the ones I have included below.

What is Life Like if You or Someone in Your Family is Disabled or has Learning Difficulties?

What is life like if you or someone in your family is divorced or remarried

What is Life Like if You or Someone in Your Family is Gay or Lesbian in Their Sexual Orientation?
Perhaps they can be printed off and left at the back of your parish near the catholic newspapers ?