Month: September 2014

An Open Letter to Cardinal Pell

Canberra-Goulburn Catholic priest Peter Day quizzes Cardinal Pell about his outspokenness in reasserting the church’s longstanding exclusion of divorced and remarried people from communion ahead of October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. ‘Has a simple, inclusive and profound ‘family’ meal been overwhelmed by an impersonal and, often times, sterile institutional sacrifice; one that tends towards mass exclusion?’

CDF, Edinburgh, Kasper, and the local Church.

Seamus Ahearne, as usual, asks the pertinent questions about what is essential in belonging to church.
‘I feel so embarrassed that such nonsense (banning and silencing) is still going on. Robust discussion is essential in our faith. Anselm said: ‘Theology is faith seeking understanding’

“If any of us are listening to the Christ of the Gospels in recent times – we would get something of these message: The Table is open. All comers are welcome. The outsiders are the insiders. The unlikely ones are the most acceptable ones. Never shut doors. Open hearts and open minds and open imaginations.”

A civil war in the Church?

Brendan Hoban in his Western People column questions the commitment of the leadership of the Irish Church to follow Pope Francis on the issue of family.
“Ireland will be represented at the synod in Rome by an archbishop and a nun. In a way no more needs to be said about the response of the Irish Church. While both may well be up to speed on the realities of marriage and family life in Ireland today, neither is married or has children so the signals are all wrong. Isn’t it inexpressibly sad for our Church that there was in Ireland no one the Irish bishops could find to trust who was married and had children?”

Young people and the Liturgy

I was never too happy with herding the entire school community into a church for a beginning of year or end of year liturgical extravaganza.
A youth liturgy group was set up; not a children’s liturgy group, by the way, as the members range in age from sixteen to the mid twenties. This group was given the responsibility of organizing liturgies on five or six occasions during the liturgical year.

“The signs of the times which can offer us hope and courage.” Pope Francis

The pope said the enormous amount of work and demands being made on pastoral workers “make us run the risk of becoming frightened and withdrawing in on ourselves out of fear and self-defense.”

“And out of that springs the temptation of self-sufficiency and clericalism, that codifying the faith into rules and instructions, which the scribes, Pharisees and doctors of the law did during the time of Jesus. We will have everything exact and everything just-so, but the faithful and those who are seeking will continue to be hungry and thirsty for God,” Pope Francis explained.
If pastoral ministry uses the same approach the scribes and Pharisees took, “never, never will we be witnesses of being close” to people like Jesus was, he said.

Pope Francis’ advice to Bishops

Andra Tornielli provides a translation of Pope Francis’ address to bishops and says that the speech the Pope gave to bishops appointed during the last year was one of the most important pronouncements of his pontificate: Be present in your dioceses and make sure you are reachable, welcome everyone without discrimination, don’t be pessimists who despair because “the fort is under attack”

The challenge of mission

Willy Slavin retired as a priest in Glasgow last year and says he has taken to a campervan to visit the 6000 miles or so of the Scottish Coast with an iPad.
He was 5 years in Bangladesh and spent 10 as chaplain to HMP Barlinnie afterwards.
He originally shared these thoughts about the future of the church in the light of the ‘vocations crisis’ in the magazine Open House.

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