Year: 2016

Francis and Leonardo Boff

It used to be said that once one became an Irish bishop the new bishop would never have a bad dinner and never again hear the truth.
Going on comments made by Leonardo Boff it would seem that some in the Vatican are trying to ensure the second half of that theory becomes reality for the bishop of Rome by controlling what mail gets through to Pope Francis. “The pope told Boff not to send the materials directly to him, however, because Vatican underlings would grab it and it wouldn’t get to him. He advised Boff to send the materials to the Argentinian ambassador.”
Praytellblog carried a report of an interview with Leonardo Boff that appeared on Christmas Day in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Cologne.
‘Asked about the lack of concrete church reforms under Pope Francis, Boff maintains that “Pope Francis is more interested in the survival of humanity and the future of the earth than he is in the church and its inner workings. He wants above all that Christianity make a contribution to these overarching problems”. ‘

Doctrinal Authority in the Francis Era

Richard R. Gaillardetz writes in commonweal magazine about the issue of doctrinal authority and Pope Francis.
“Pope Francis is refashioning the exercise of doctrinal teaching authority in the church. There should be no question of the pope’s fidelity to church teaching; by any account Francis must be considered a doctrinal conservative. Many Catholics, on the left and the right, by thinking of the magisterium in a largely juridical key, focus far too much on the pope’s authority to officially pronounce on doctrinal matters”.

Eucharistic starvation and the need for priests

Brian Eyre, writing in the context of a recent hospital visit, says that it’s time the needs of the people to have access to the Eucharist were put before other considerations. He quotes Bishop Emeritus William McManus from 1989 when he said to the US conference of bishops “Are we prepared to make a value judgement that it is better to have priestless Sundays than to ordain married men or women?”

Gaudete! … Rejoice!

Angela Hanley shares her experience of the 18th Annual LGBT Christmas Carol Service, that she says ” turned out to be the spiritual event of the year for me.”

“As I sat there I thought: ‘Surely, this is all part of the meaning and mystery of the Incarnation? That God became human unconditionally. To be LGBT is also to be wholly graced by God who became incarnate for all humanity, not just a select few, to show us by words and example how to be properly human.’ “

“I felt warmth, welcome, acceptance, joy, a deep sense of the presence of God and the powerful sense of community – not a gathering of individuals who happen to be in the same place because of a common belief – but a real, joyful sense of community. In other words, it truly was ekklesia in its fullest sense.”

Councils of Priests – are they relevant?

Tim Hazelwood, reflecting on his own experiences, questions the role and function of the ‘Council of Priests’ in dioceses.
Tim feels this is of particular relevance in light of the letter from the bishops to the ACP following a meeting last May.
Tim says that ‘My experience is that the Council of Priests does not want to deal with the concerns of priests…… For diocesan priests the council is irrelevant in our lives. We get on with it as best we can as the work and weight of expectation grows, dreading the next edict to come from the council or the diocesan office to add to our busy work schedule.’

Face Reality or opt for False Clarity

Michael O’Loughlin writing in quotes Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane as saying “At times at the synod I heard voices that sounded very clear and certain but only because they never grappled with the real question or never dealt with the real facts”.
“So there’s a false clarity that comes because you don’t address reality, and there’s a false certainty that can come for the same reason.”
The pope, he said, is “bringing out into the very public setting of the papacy what any pastor does in his parish or diocese.”
Ultimately, individual believers have to discern where God is at work in their own lives—a process that doesn’t always lend itself to simple yes or no answers.

What ever happened to the Easter People?

Chris McDonnell writing in the Catholic Times UK reminds us that “If the Church has problems then people, all of us who are the Church, have a contribution to make at both parish and diocesan level. Those who participate in finding solutions after carefully exploring the issues are far more likely to accept and implement the resultant conclusion’ . However time is short and
“inspiration for dialogue and renewal has come from informal groups of laity who in their own time and through their own initiative have asked the questions, sought answers and attempted discussion with our priests and bishops in good faith. Mostly, to no avail.”

Christmas – An Open Door or even a Half-Door

Seamus Ahearne reflects on Christmas.
“All of us can go there -To heaven and heaven is very close. It is when we let the fresh air of God into our minds, hearts and imaginations and don’t stop learning, listening and loitering. Dark minds, dull hearts, dreary imaginations make no room for open doors. An Open door – happens when we let a baby, (the helplessness and mystery of a baby), tell us, how God relies on us and needs us. (Christmas).”

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