Month: September 2015

Protecting the Pope ……. from us.

The U.S. Secret Service kept Pope Francis safe during his recent travels in the U.S.A., even if some think their methods a little over enthusiastic for a man who prefers to travel in a small Fiat rather than an armoured SUV.
Seamus Ahearne suggests that maybe we now need to protect him from our need for a jamboree by expecting him to attend the Congress on the Family for 2018.
Seamus thinks Francis’ time is precious and “I would much prefer that we respect the age of Pope Francis and conserve his energy and reduce his trips abroad. We should be caring for him and protecting him …We need to keep him at home and let him do as much as he can, in enlivening the Church.”

The laity has spoken and the Church must learn

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have published an extraordinarily candid piece of criticism of the Church taken from a summary of responses to a consultation conducted in preparation for the forthcoming international synod of bishops in Rome next month, on the subject of marriage and family life.
An editorial in The Tablet states that “they want a Church that engages with married life and its messy difficulties realistically and humanely, not one offering idealistic textbook answers.”
One respondent is quoted as saying: “It would seem that right now the Church may well have more to learn from marriage and family life than to teach.”

Pope Francis speaks to the Joint Session of the United states Congress

Standing ovations for Francis from Congress but is anyone actually listening?
Are we, the church. listening?
Are Church administrators and curial officials listening?
Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent, says in a report “Above all, Pope Francis in the US has challenged his audiences to think, and to cast aside ideological divisions in favour of unity and mercy – to reflect on how to help the poor and those without. ……. Then, he left in his small car that makes a big point about the environment, showing that sometimes, actions can speak louder than words.”

Francis used the example of four people to highlight his points. “Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.”

Liberty; liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; the rights of persons; the capacity for dialogue and openness to God:
They’re as needed in our church as in U.S. society.
It’s time for action.

Pope Francis speaks to the Bishops of the U.S.A.

One of the rich veins of wisdom in Francis’ words to the bishops of the U.S.A.
“Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love (Mt 20:1-16).

The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society.

I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly.”

‘Ordination ideas have changed over time’

The issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood should not even be mentioned according to some, never mind discussed and debated. For others the fact the the catholic church does not allow ordination for women is an issue of justice and diminishes the church’s voice when commenting on other issues in society.
In an interesting article in the National Catholic Reporter Thomas C Fox writes of the approach taken by Gary Macy, professor of theology and chair of the religious studies department at Santa Clara University. Macy argues that we need to look to the history of the church to gain a full understanding of the nature of priesthood and ordination.

Underestimating Love, which is the gospel’s core message

Francis A. Quinn, the retired bishop of Sacramento, has an interesting article in The New York Times in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.A.
One of the topics he broaches is that of the ordination of women.
“Recent popes have said publicly that priesthood for women cannot be considered because the gospel and other documents state that Christ ordained men only.
Yet women have shown great qualities of leadership: strength, intelligence, prayerfulness, wisdom, practicality, sensitivity and knowledge of theology and sacred Scripture.
Might the teaching church one day, taking account of changing circumstances, be inspired by the Holy Spirit to study and reinterpret this biblical tradition?”

With so many retired bishops speaking out recently on topical issues it raises the question why they haven’t done so when in office. What prevents bishops from expressing such views when they hold office? Whatever it is, it most certainly is not healthy and is damaging the office of bishop and the universal church.

Beyond “Viri Probati”

The problem of the shortage of priests is not new, nor is it confined to Europe.
TEAMS OF ELDERS: Moving Beyond “Viri Probati”, was published in 2007 by Bishop Fritz Lobinger.
We carry a review of his book by Michael Shackleton published in 2008 in “The Southern Cross”, South Africa’s Catholic Weekly.
Bishop Fritz Lobinger is the retired bishop of Aliwal, South Africa.
He has also expressed his opinions in the second article that we carry as published in U.S. Catholic.

Sempre Avanti – Ever Onwards – an evolving church – as it has always been and always will be

Jim McCormack CM asks whether in a rapidly changing world the sacraments as we celebrate them require a complete overhaul . Evolution and change over decades and centuries has always been part of the church, its ministry and its celebration of sacraments; “Gradually a system will develop which will satisfactorily cover all the appropriate bases.”
The challenge facing the “POWERS THAT BE” is in deciding to let go and let what is past ‘rest in peace’.

Report on ACP Meeting, 09 September 2015

On Wednesday, September 9th a meeting of the leadership team of the Association of Catholic Priests took place in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone.The meeting involved most of the current ACP leadership and a wider group of priests whom the leadership sought to consult about the future of the ACP. We explored three questions: Is there or not a compelling reason for the ACP to remain in existence? If yes, what structures would best enable the ACP function for that purpose? What should happen next?

The meeting was chaired by Martin Kennedy.

Where the River Shannon flows

Seamus Ahearne shares his thoughts with us following a recent wedding.
In his usual style he recommends a huge dose of E for us: ‘Our church has to be expansive and explosive and exciting and exhilarating’.
‘I also recalled Stephen Hawkins who said that Church folk damage God – “your God is too small.”
”Why do they ‘belittle God’? Isn’t faith about ‘being great’? I don’t recognise the God of little men/women who has to be protected. A God that has to be protected from Tony Flannery? What kind of unreal God is this? It is not the God I know or the Church I know. ‘:
‘Never be-little; be great! That is the banner over all of us.’

Marriage Annulment Process Changed

Pope Francis has announced new procedures for the annulling of marriages.
The documents making the announcement, Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et misericors Iesus, are still only available in Italian and Latin.
We carry a report on this move from Crux.
Is this an important step for reform and Francis’ message of Mercy?
How relevant is it for the majority of catholics who divorce and remarry?

What did the bishop achieve?

Brendan Hoban, writing in his column in the Western People, gives his reaction to Bishop Crean recently forcing a Pastoral Council to withdraw an invitation to Tony Flannery to speak in a local community hall.
“It has brought the Irish Catholic Church once more into disrepute in that it showed that other voices have no place in it, even if Pope Francis encourages them in the wider Church. It insulted Tony Flannery …… it shows once again that the people are ahead of the priests, the priests are ahead of the bishops and the bishops, caught in the nineteenth century, are either out of touch or in abject denial.”

Select a category in the sidebar for more posts

Select a category in the sidebar for more posts