English priests issue “A call to action”

We are a group of priests who have been meeting together because we are deeply concerned for the future of our Church, and we wish to support each other in the task of creating forums for all the baptized to contribute to the full teaching life of the Church.
The recent “universal call to holiness in Christ” for all the baptized made by our  bishops at their November 2011 conference and their desire to promote a “culture of vocation” within the corporate identity of the Catholic Church, marked by a confident Catholic faith, has encouraged us to respond as follows.
The promotion of this culture of vocation must, we feel, be seen as a call to all the people of God to take responsibility for our Church. It seems to us, therefore, that our bishops and priests should actively encourage this. Even though many lay people follow courses in theology and pastoral care, there seems little opportunity for them to use the skills they have acquired for the service of our Church.
The bishops speak of “fostering and encouraging a culture of dialogue and solidarity” but, in reality, there is little opportunity or forum for this and there seems a reluctance to listen to thepeople whose lived reality is so often at odds with the teaching of the institutional Church. This is especially true in reading the signs of the times; i.e. matters of developing a theology of sexuality rooted in the actual experiences of thefaithful and developing an understanding of the relationships between evolution and religion. The sensus fidelium seems forgotten.
“Creating a national vocations framework, offering discernment and opportunities for all” again seems to ignore the view of so many of the laity that it is time for us to have serious discussion about married men and the institutional priesthood. While we support our bishops in their desire for the renewal of our Church, we recognize that certain basic teachings of the Second Vatican Council seem to be bypassed by the Roman Curia so that real collegiality is not fully exercised and much of the responsibility of thelocal bishops has been abrogated by the Curia. The recent imposition of the new translation of the Mass texts is an obvious example of this. We feel that it is imperative that those of us in the ministerial priesthood who are concerned for these and many other matters should gather together so that we both support our bishops and be a voice to which they can listen. We invite priests who feel as we do to contact us on sappie.dj@gmail.com with a view to calling us together to consider how best we might move forward.
(Fr) Ian Byrnes, (Fr) John Lally, (Fr) Patrick McLaughlin, (Fr) Frank Nally, (Fr) Derek Reeve, (Fr) Joe Ryan, (Fr) Paul Sanders
Portsmouth, Hampshire

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  1. Fr Gerard Barry says:

    I do not know any of these priests and bear them no ill-will but they do not speak to my reality as a priest in the Prison Service where the new translation, as clumsy as it is in places, provided an opportunity to place everybody on the same foot in terms of participation in the Liturgy. I took it as an opportunity to evangelise and teach, in the same way I have in the Parish.
    Honestly, we are not suffering the way our fellow priests in Ireland have struggled and, whilst I am minded to agree with much of what is written, I am more minded to see this particular letter as unnecessary.

  2. Gerard Flynn says:

    Three questions, Father Gerard:
    Did you need a new translation to evangelise and teach?
    In what sense does the travesty that is the new text place everybody on the same footing in terms of participation in the liturgy?
    On another post, Father Michael Ryan gives a wide variety of offending passages in the new missal. How have these been received by the residents of the prison(s) where you minister?

  3. Whilst I accept that the distinction between ministerial priesthood and roles suitable for laity must not be blurred I am fully in agreement that there seems little opportunity for laity to use the skills they have acquired for the service of our Church.
    Having lived in an assortment of parishes large and small, rural and urban, I have noticed a major widespread problem. Every parish seems to have a little group who claim they do everything because others are unwilling to play their part, when the truth is newcomers are rarely asked what gifts and talents they have that will be of use to the Catholic community. The situation results in some tasks requiring expertise being taken by people who do not have the necessary experience or knowledge. Cliques are damaging to our communities.
    It would be beneficial if a limit was placed on the number of roles one person is allowed to fill at one time, and time limits placed on some positions.
    Best wishes to the seven priests who signed the Call to Action.

  4. As an English seminarian, I am saddened to read of this call to action by this small number of priests. The Church in England is starting to take great strides in promoting Vocation in all its forms with events such as Invocation. Events such as Flame at Wembley Arena have also been a great success and have built upon the energy of the Papal Visit.
    These priests call for a reading of the times, may I suggest that they look at the reaction of the young people to the current Holy Father. They appreciate his clarity and his uncompromising Christianity. I think people have become sick of a Church that has tried to be trendy; they want to be part of a Church that knows what it stands for. If these Priests want to go with the times, they might wish to consider moving to the Church of England!
    With regards taking notice of the times regarding sexuality, I wonder what that would lead to – A YES to gay marriage, A YES to abortion, A YES to easy divorce. Sometimes the Church has to stand up against the times and profess the truth. As the Church faces a great battle against atheism and secularisation, the last thing we need is infighting!
    I pray that these priests reconsider this call to action and instead work towards a promotion of the faith in this coming year as a true celebration of Vatican II.
    Pope Benedict is not against the reforms of the council, he is a supporter of what it actually says in the documents rather than this spirit of the council which has no basis in any of the documents.

  5. Mary Burke says:

    Neil, it would lend weight to your argument if you added your name to it.
    Your remark that the priests involved ought to think joining another christian tradition is unacceptable. It would make life easier for people of your viewpoint alright.
    I’m always slightly wary of people who take public stances on gay marriage and divorce and link them with abortion, as you seem to do.

  6. Wendy Murphy says:

    The truth Neil, is what we’re all seeking. It’s to be found here and now, in our lives today and so we must keep on being open to it even in the most unlikely-looking places. This is not ‘being trendy’ – it’s the truth.

  7. Sean Loughlin says:

    I am Irish but live in England and agree with the comments of the seminarian Neil and Fr Barry above. Most priests and laity in this country, in my experience anyway, are not seething with discontent as this small group of priests seems to be. As Neil says, there is a great upsurge of interest in Catholicism on the part of many young people here. In Cambridge, where I live, the Catholic chaplaincy at the University is thriving, Our Lady and English Martyrs has very large congregations at several Masses each weekend, the Catholic Chapel at St Edmund’s is full every Sunday as is the Dominican chapel at Blackfriars. What strikes me is that a small group of priests, unfaithful to their commitment to chastity, brought the Irish Church to its knees. Now another tiny group of priests, chafing at the teaching of the Magisterium, wishes to compound this further by following the Zeigeist rather than the Holy Spirit speaking through the Magisterium.

  8. Liam Harron says:

    Rose, Our parish priest, Fr Brian Green, from 1977 until his retirement a few years ago has actively encouraged St Joseph’s Dinnington (South Yorkshire) to be a Vatican 2 parish and he has promoted Vatican 2 through the publication of Pastoral Renewal Exchange (PRE) almost once every three months since about 1979 (the edition published in April was number 126)
    Below is the approach our parish adopted in 2005!
    Liam Harron
    Organising Groups
    Different types of organising groups are formed on the basis of the following principles:
    1 Our priest’s workload must be gradually reduced over a period of time
    2 There is a need to prioritise and to proceed slowly so that everyone in the parish is kept informed of proposals and developments.
    3 All meetings should be open to anyone to attend.
    4 No individual should feel isolated in any job, task or responsibility that they have taken on.
    5 All jobs should be shared if possible by at least two people (perhaps a named person and a back up person).
    6 Each person responsible for a job should ask: ‘Who will be the next person to take this responsibility?”
    7 There should be a named person for each area of activity.
    8 If an area of responsibility is large the named person should form a team to share responsibility.
    9 No member of the parish should be the named person for more than one area of activity.
    10 Over a period of time, every member of the parish should be approached on a personal basis and encouraged to identify and offer a ‘talent’ to the parish. A ‘talent list’ of abilities will be drawn up.

  9. Mary, ANYTHING you do on the internet can be pretty much permanent. This crusade against reasonable anonymity is not modern. It is a way of thinking from a generation that doesn’t understand the interweb. Neil has as much right to protect his identity as you have online. Neil’s argument is the same as mine, and, it would seem, the Holy See’s, since they have just condemned a book as ‘not Catholic’ by an American nun. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18321830

  10. Steve Edward says:

    Thank you Neil.

  11. Catherine says:

    I agree with Niall. Very sad to see Priests forget their vocation which is to give ones life for Christ and His Church. Thank God for all those Priests who give themselves selflessly to the Church and for all those Priests who suffer for their faith. Young people are not interested in liberal teaching as we can see from the large attendances at the World Youth Day Events and their great love for the Holy Father Pope Benedict and his predecessor, the now Bl. John Paul II. How many people are lost today in a wilderness who need to hear the voice of Christ and the true teaching of the Church. How many people under the age of 50 were at the recent ACP Forum. The only Congregations of Religious who are attracting vocations are those who live out their true Charism and who are faithful to the teachings of Christ in His Church. What does it mean to be Catholic. If you don’t like the teachings of the Church, there is a door and it isn’t locked. So please stop making things difficult for those of us who wish to remain Catholic and for all those who live quietly their faith and who wish to remain faithful to Jesus in His Church to the end.

  12. Neil Peoples says:

    Mary, I am not 100% sure why my full name adds weight to my comments but you’re welcome to it, if you require anymore information please let me know.
    I also wonder why it is unacceptable to say that dissenting priests should consider their position within the Catholic Church. All Deacons and Priests, pledge to hold and teach the Catholic Faith, I believe that a public challenge to this teaching is a breach of this oath. Therefore they should as a result consider their position within the Catholic Church.
    Now you say that you’re wary of someone quoting Gay Marriage, Divorce and abortion together. All of these were used as an example of what the signs of the times tell us is ok, my question would be where do the ACP, the priests in England stand on these issues? How far do we go on these issues? How closely do we follow the signs of the times?
    Mary I am also slightly puzzled as to why grouping these issues concerns you, do you think some of them are ok and should be encouraged?
    As I said in my original message, I pray that these priests divert their energies into spreading the faith, especially in the coming year of faith and in doing so truly celebrate the Second Vatican Council.
    If these priests want to have dialogue with their Bishop, they can go through things like the council of priests. I find it sad that people seem to want to set up two camps, the local Church v Vatican. There is no such divide, we are all ONE Church, and the Vatican is part of the same Church as you and me. Let us work together, rather than this public dissenting which will only lead to scandal and upset.

  13. Please, let us address the issues raised by this group of priests. The laity are often criticised for saying little when in fact they have quietly withdrawn from comment realising that it is rarely listened to.
    The letter in question was signed by seven priests from various parts of England .
    It seeks, in a moderate and considered tone, to re-establish the collegiality envisaged by the Second Vatican Council and further recognizes the need for the laity to be brought into significant discussions on a range of issues.
    With the Austrian Priests Initiative and the Association of Catholic priests in Ireland, as well as a recently established group in the US, we are beginning to see a grass roots movement in Europe seeking renewal and reform in our Church.
    I sometimes feel that the Call to Disobedience made by the group in Austria was an unfortunate term to use. But at some stage, and maybe we are now approaching that point, the voices of those loyal to the Church who seek such a movement in the spirit of the Council, must be listened to. Our lives are not black and white; we must learn, in faith, to explore the many shades of grey.
    Disagreements within a family do not seek to rupture that family but only express honestly held differing points of view.
    In that way we can move forward together. It will be interesting to see the response they receive from both fellow priests and the laity in England and let’s hope that the manner in which some of the Irish priests have been treated by Rome is not extended to this island.
    Chris McDonnell UK

  14. Frank Graham says:

    To say that a tiny group of Irish Priests, through being unfaithful to their commitment to chastity, brought the Irish Church to its knees is an exaggeration to say the least! Sexual abuse of boys/girls is a worldwide problem among the clergy within the Catholic Church. There is a lot more to the crisis in the Irish Church than just blaming the failure of those few priests.
    If you read the articles/comments of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland you will realise that. Also many of the issues they raise and wish to be discussed have relevance to the Catholic
    Church worldwide. You say that the tiny group of priest in England should follow the Holy Spirit speaking through the Magisterium. Is the Magisterium the only channel through which the Holy Spirit speaks? I don’t think even the Pope would hold to that! You (and Neil)seem to be fearful and very defensive about any change, reform or renewal.I wonder why? Is it because you think that the truth about human life and God is all ‘done and dusted’ and is to be found only in the Roman Catholic Church. Why not try thinking outside the box a little bit!

  15. I would simply like to say that I completely agree with the wise words of Chris McDonnell and Frank Graham above.
    Paddy Ferry UK

  16. Sean O'Donnell says:

    I find it sad that any form of questioning of the current direction of the Church leads to almost threatening comments such as Catherine’s: “there is a door and it isn’t locked” and Neil’s “they should … consider their position within the Catholic Church”. What is there to be afraid of? Faith is not meant to be comfortable – Christ challenges us every day and the Holy Spirit flows in us in many different ways.

  17. Ann Lardeur says:

    Neil suggests reaction of young people to events for reading the signs of the times. I suggest those of us who have lived through pre VAT 2 Church and all the changes since (including those in society as a whole) are, through our experience, better at reading the signs of the times. We have known a great diversity of priests, mostly good, some exceptional, and sometimes a ‘bad’ one. We realise there are some good bits in the new translation and resent the awfulness of much of it. More importantly we recognise that the choice of vocabulary in the new translation transmits an outdated theology and understanding of the human person. Ann Lardeur

  18. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    What kind of church would I like? A church that is a confident and untiring witness to Christ’s commandment of love through its humble prayerful sustained commitment to it. A church which helps all of us along the way: helps us to grow in faith; helps us to become more mature in our understanding of and our response to the message of Christ’s love so that we learn to live fully in love with life and in joyful solidarity with other people and nature. A church where children are safe and happy and get some of their first intimations of the numinous; where young people are inspired and affirmed, encouraged and empowered; where women participate fully in ministry and leadership; where celibacy is not imposed; where people who are now labelled ‘deviant’ (gay women and men and others who have different ways of being) are welcome in accordance with Christ’s way; where people are not honoured for their great wealth or power; where flamboyant and costly robes are not worn in public as a badge of office; where simpler ways of living echo the itinerant Christ’s life. A meditative, prayerful church which knows that it may rely confidently on the guarantee: “I am with you always…”

  19. Sean Mac Niallius, are you reading my mind?
    Might I respectfully add to your contribution:
    “that the power, wealth and politics of the Vatican would immediately be discarded, and replaced with the simple life of the man born is a stable, who died naked on the cross”.

  20. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    Ger Gleeson: thank you for the comment. I didn’t mention the Vatican overtly because I too easily fall into a ‘them and us’ mindset. We are all in this together.
    Best wishes.
    PS: my surname does not have a Latin-sounding ending!

  21. Sean Loughlin says:

    Frank: “To say that a tiny group of Irish Priests, through being unfaithful to their commitment to chastity, brought the Irish Church to its knees is an exaggeration to say the least! Sexual abuse of boys/girls is a worldwide problem among the clergy within the Catholic Church. There is a lot more to the crisis in the Irish Church than just blaming the failure of those few priests.”
    It is a world-wide problem but I would make two comments. First, only a tiny proporion of priests (around 4% in the US study) are abusers. Second, only a tiny proportion of abusers are priests. But it is this activity more than any other that has brought the Irish Church into disrepute among its own members and more widely. I agree that there are other issues: clericalism, the close relationship between the hierarchy and the state, the link between nationalism and religion, etc., etc. I would say that the poor theological formation of Irish priests is another factor. We have produced no notable theologians ever to compare with theologians such as Ratzinger, de Lubac, Congar, Rahner, etc. This intellectual improverishment is reflected in the poor understanding by Irish Catholics of their own faith who have been evangelized but not cathechized. The ACP and the seven English priests seem to be arguing that it is this poor understanding – of doctrine, of morals, of liturgy – that the Church should be following rather than trying to teach true doctrine, healthy sexual ethics, etc.

  22. (Fr) Ian Byrnes, (Fr) John Lally, (Fr) Patrick McLaughlin, (Fr) Frank Nally, (Fr) Derek Reeve, (Fr) Joe Ryan, (Fr) Paul Sanders
    I urge you all to re-examine your hearts. If you were truly called by The Lord to serve his mission. If you all had a true vocation, you should remember part of your mission was to teach TRUTH.
    Truth is an objective reality. Truth is not a subjective, democratic process. Truth does not alter by according to “reading the signs of the times..”
    Christ’s gift to the world was His Church. The Church with Peter at it’s head. This Church was generously granted the teaching authority so that it does not err in faith and morals.
    I would recommend you all to follow the moving testomonies of converts to the Catholic Church on EWTN’s Journey Home series.
    People like Steve Ray, Scott Hahn, Roy Schoeman.
    A major aspect that is the delight of converts to the Faith, is precisely that discovery that the Church is consistent in it’s teaching on faith and morals.
    It is very moving as a cradle Catholic to see how grateful and how inspired these converts are that Jesus gave the world His Church with this teaching authority.
    Meanwhile it seems to me you priests are doing the opposite of your calling.
    You spread dissent. By acting against Peter you are not appreciating Christ’s gift to this world. You are acting like Luther, shame on you all. Why do you think non-catholic denominations are confused about issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Please re-examine your consciences.
    I don’t know how far away you all are from Catholic doctrine in your pick and mix subjective versions, have you lost view that we will all be called to account for our lives? have you lost belief in Heaven and Hell?
    Because if you were offered the opportunity to serve Jesus by evangelising to the world, you certainly were not called to confuse and confound the mission of The True Church.
    I ask you to google those wonderful converts to the Church that I mentioned above. See what it is about our Catholic Faith that inspired them to come home. Ask yourselves, would you want to wreck the faith of people like that?

  23. Burt, can I ask that you re-read my earlier posting especially the lines “Our lives are not black and white; we must learn, in faith, to explore the many shades of grey. Disagreements within a family do not seek to rupture that family but only express honestly held differing points of view.” The letter signed by these priests asks only that we face the reality of where we are and how we might seek a way forward together.

  24. Mary Burke says:

    Sean Loughlin, your analysis highlighting poor theological education is worth reflecting on. However, it’s not just the theological education of priests but also, for historical reasons, the general theological formation of Irish people that is at issue. One hears stories of a Munster bishop’s having closed a thriving theological course in his diocese mid-stream. Perhaps at the time he didn’t believe in educating lay people. Maybe he still doesn’t.
    Your conclusions are faulty. If you asked these priests and the ACP whether that is what they intended I’m sure you’d be told that they believe in formation in theology for all who are interested. Democracy, representation, accountability and transparency in church structures are most certainly some of the most apparent signs of the times.
    Burt, your remarks may just as well be addressed to the empty seats at the Eucharistic Congress. Your analysis, if acted on, would lead to an increase in their number.

  25. Chris McDonnell – I have re-read your post and I disagree with you. You and Mary Burke are clearly arguing for moral relativism. That is perhaps why you do not feel drawn to the notion of not seeing issues as black or white, but rather you argue for exploring the shades of grey. But truth is about black or white in the sense of either being true or untrue. Moral issues are about things being right or wrong.
    The Church, whether you like it or not, will always hold abortion, or homosexual acts, for example as both intrinsically evil.
    Chris, you thought that the Austrian group’s ‘Call to Disobedience’ as an unfortunate term, but I think it is merely revealing. I think the seven priests this item is about are also in danger of making the same mistake.
    I invite you both to view this youtube link of Steve Ray outlining what the discovery of Catholicism means to him.
    Sometimes being a cradle Catholic in this day and age, when the Church is so reviled by ‘The World’, it’s easy to lose track of what a gift and a privilege it is that we are born into the One True Church.
    Neil Peoples, I too was saddened by the letter of the seven UK priest’s. But I was heartened by your comments. It’s great that there are young seminarians like you being called to serve Christ and His Holy Church.

  26. Fr. Kieren says:

    Although I feel that the clergy in England now lack any real national representation, I am hesitant to support this initiative. I would describe myself as a moderate (orthodox) Catholic priest who is fed up with the various infighting within the Church. After researching some of the priests named, I think that they may be promoting something far beyond the Second Vatican Council and something more akin to open dissent, which I believe the ACP is not in itself promoting. Yes, there are many things at present that disturbs me – the Ordinariate for example.
    I am perhaps too liberal to be a Conservative and too Conservative to be a Liberal, but I (like those named) did promise to teach and proclaim the Catholic faith in its totality, this I try to do honestly and faithfully, while encouraging the laity to actively know, understand and live out our faith. If the priests who signed the letter can confirm that they do the same, then I might have a rethink.

  27. Burt, I would hope that collegialty, a fruit of the Vatican Council, was something we could agree on. It would seem that the Curia have other ideas.
    Each age has to respond in faith to the circumstances it faces. The courage of the Christian is to face up to that challenge, honestly and sincerely

  28. Mary Burke says:

    Burt, your handling of complex moral issues leaves a lot to be desired. Seeing things in black and white is what a child does in the very early stages of moral experience and the early years of moral reasoning. Having a black and white attitude is indicative of the super-ego, that is, the moral influence of authority figures, not of a mature adult conscience. Each moral issues needs to be thought through on its own merits. That’s why God gave you a brain.
    As a small illustration, if abortion is intrinsically evil, how is it that the official R.C. position allows for the abortion of an ectopic pregnancy?
    If two people love one another, what does it matter if they are both females or both males! I have seen examples of love to a heroic degree, where both people were of the same gender.
    Our faith is more than two thousand years old. Our thinking isn’t.

  29. Mary Burke says:

    The link between sexual/genital activity and procreation is not intrinsic to either as contemporary society and IVF indicate. It has been diluted in practice by the availability of contraception and people, including the majority of Catholics, have voted with their feet, so to speak. In primitive societies where sexual activity invariably led to pregnancy the link was emphasised to such an extent that sexuality activity which was not intended for procreation was taboo. The official R.C. position tied itself in knots around this issue trying to argue that older couples, or infertile couples had theoretically to be morally open to pregnancy. The consequent moral dishonesty was apparent for all to see.
    The reality is that while procreation is one of the ‘goods’ of sexual activity, it is not a necessary precondition for it. Si testimonium requires, circumspice.

  30. Frank Graham says:

    Sean: I respect your views and opinions and your desire to uphold the doctrines, dogmas,sexual health ethics etc of the Catholic Church. You talk of poor understanding of Church Doctrine, morals and liturgy by the Irish People. I can only speak of my own understanding in this respect.In trying to come to a theological understanding of doctrine, morals, teachings etc of the Church I feel I need to be intellectualy honest with myself and my intellectual honesty leads me along paths of enquiry, questioning, searching, doubt and loyal dissent (this latter term will probably seem a contradiction or nonsensical to you!) But I find this my journey of Faith exciting and inspiring and nourishing. ‘Faith seeking understanding’ to quote St. Anselm. I feel I am open to the truth whether that be religious, spiritual, moral, psychological, scientific etc. and am accepting of ‘grey areas'(to quote a cliche!) In all of this I try to be honest with myself, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually as I try to follow Jesus Christ and witness to the Kingdom of God. In all of this I accept the need for authority — but not authoritarianism as practised by the Magisterium, Curia, Rome, Vatican – whatever term you want to use!

  31. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    Soline Humbert: Thanks for the link!

  32. Fr. Kieren says:

    I am glad that you have chosen to be inspired by Anselm. I am also glad that you accept the need for authority, but this is the difficult bit, like it or not, the Magisterium is the authority in the Church, it is this authority that underpins the teaching contained in the Councils of the Church. Now, I agree that we may not always agree with how this authority is exercised, and I agree that it sometimes comes across as authoritarian and imposed, but it is the authority in the Church. Regarding grey areas, anybody in the reality of pastoral work know that these exist, we all exist somewhere between the black and white of the official teaching, this of course does not mean that the teaching is wrong, only that we often fall short.

  33. “Burt, I would hope that collegialty, a fruit of the Vatican Council, was something we could agree on…”
    Guess what Chris, this might horrify you, but no, I do not agree with you even on that.
    In fact the fruit of Vatican II, is in my view, very largely rotten fruit.
    Apart from the issue of the platform for dissent that has arisen, which our discussion started from, the biggest piece of rotten fruit has been the changes to the Mass. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the Tridentine rite, but I am.
    In my opinion the Novus Ordo has been a disaster for the faith of Catholics. It’s more than just a question of the vernacular. The unspoken language of the Mass has changed because of our actions. If you believe that at every Mass a miracle occurs. The bread and wine becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The way we received Holy Communion before the changes spoke much more easily to the soul that that was what we were receiving. On our knees, not in our hands, but being fed the Bread of Heaven.
    The unspoken language of way we received the sacrament spoke much more clearly to our hearts and minds. Psychologically if you will, it was easier to believe in the miracle.
    I fell out with my parish priest many years ago when I asked that my children and their cohorts making their first Holy Communion could at least be taught to receive the host both ways. He point-blank refused. Typical of the ‘liberal’ Catholics to be completely intolerant!
    I have always resented that my children (incidently not one of whom consider themselves Catholic any longer) were robbed of that experience.
    I truly believe (although I am not saying the Novus Ordo is invalid) that much grace has been lost to Catholics ever since these changes were brought in. These changes were also brought in against the expressed wishes of the Pope. They were brought in through dissent. Through the excuse of ‘collegiality’ these things were brought in, but against the voice of Peter. That in my view is the fruit of Vatican II.

  34. Ann Lardeur says:

    Some very deep issues are being thrown into the mix without much exploration, historical understanding, let alone justification.
    1. Truth – Pilate’s penetrating question. “Truth” may be absolute but the understanding of truths change and develop. e.g. one has only to study historical theology to realise the many great minds involved and the centuries too in attempting to understand how Jesus Christ can be both God and Human; both leading to Council of Nicea and continuing long afterwards.
    2. The focus of The Call to Action is on “all the baptized”, the “universal call to holiness in Christ” and wishes to promote “culture of vocation”. It is the common vocation of all the baptized to be priest, prophet and king. Prophets speak ‘truth unto power’ and power includes religious authority. Just read the Old Testament, consider John The Baptist.
    3. Several comments on the site castigate others, particularly the Sensible Seven, for behaving like Luther, acting against Peter, etc. What about examples from Scripture; the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7) challenges Jesus, result being that he comes to see his mission is not only to the House of Israel. The result of Thomas’ challenge “unless I see ….”(John 20)is that we learn more about the Risen Lord. We should be grateful to doubting Thomas for the response he provoked. Galatians 2.11 Paul challenges Peter in Antioch over his behaviour and tells him to his face that he is wrong.
    4.Eucharist/Communion. The disciples reclined around a table – they did not kneel and stick their tongues out! Years ago (but post Vat 2)I heard a priest preach “When Jesus said ‘This is my Body’ he meant transubstantiation and all the disciples understood it” Transubstantiation is a philosophical way of shedding light on a mystery, not an account of what happens. It is an example how something can become a truth. It was taught as mechanics at the expense of miracle.
    Jesus instructed us to “Take, Eat and Drink”. Is it really more reverent to kneel with closed eyes than to hold the host in one’s hand as if placed their by the Lord Himself and imagine one is at the Last Supper or Emmaus. Does one fulfil the command if one flips the host down one’s throat as if taking an aspirin not wanting the nasty taste? Likewise not to receive from the chalice at all, or take a token sip? Kneeling is a late custom anyway.
    5. Finally, …… as all of you will be pleased to know …. aspersions have been cast on levels of education and understanding, especially of priests both particularly and generally. After the request for surnames perhaps contributors to these discussions should add their qualifications where relevant.
    Ann Lardeur, B.D., M.Th.

  35. Fr. Kieren says:

    Frank, I cannot agree with you. The reason people leave the faith has nothing to do with the contents of Vatican II, nor has it to do with the Mass, because most people who have left the faith in my experience have no knowledge of the Mass and have never heard of Vatican II.
    Vatican II has left a great legacy to the Church, The fruits of this legacy however, will never be known until the contents of the Council, are understood and taught. We often here the nonsense talk of the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II, we should rather focus on the contents.
    This morning there were some interviews with priest members of the ACP (radio 4), the correspondent suggested that Vatican II was the incentive behind their disputes, well I listened to the suggestions made by the various priests and I would like to challenge them to justify their positions using the actual content of the Council, especially the dogmatic constitutions.
    The Council will bear fruit if we tend to what was actually said rather than what we think was actually said.

  36. Burt, at 71 years of age I too remember the pre-Vatican II days and I must say find them no loss. That we cannot even agree on the value of Collegiality is sad for that is central to the vitality of the church. I picked up an article on the web recently which talked about the “error of collegiality”.It was written by a priest of the SSPX group who reject so much of the Council Teaching. It is no use going back to the holy comfort zone that you might regard as better times. We have to live our faith now, in this present age with all its difficulties and stress. Let’s get real for the sake of future generations and recognise, in Sydney Carter’s words “…. the Christ you talk about is living now”
    Chris McDonnell UK

  37. “Burt, your handling of complex moral issues leaves a lot to be desired. Seeing things in black and white is what a child does in the very early stages of moral experience and the early years of moral reasoning. Having a black and white attitude is indicative of the super-ego, that is, the moral influence of authority figures, not of a mature adult conscience. Each moral issues needs to be thought through on its own merits. That’s why God gave you a brain.”
    Mary Burke, I have to admit I found your comments slightly insulting. Insinuating that to disagree with your way of looking at things, is to be stupid, childish, and not using ones brain.
    You then suggest the Church is inconsistent against abortion citing the red herring of ectopic pregnancy. Now I am sorry but that was ridiculous, indeed anyone persuaded by that argument would certainly not be using their God given brain.
    In cases of ectopic pregnancies the baby has no chance of being born alive anyway.
    I do hope your level of moral relativism has not got you to the stage of justifying abortion. To me listening to an intelligent person justifying abortion is not much different to hearing a Nazi trying to explain why Jewish children should be gassed.
    You make out that having solid convictions is somehow insufficiently intellectual, against your superior relativist position.
    The way I see it the mission of moral relativism is just to make things blurred, open ended and malleable.
    You want the Church to be more accommodating on issues like contraception and sterilisation because that’s the way people “have voted with their feet.” As you correctly say, the issue is how such matters de-link sex and procreation. Going against Catholic teaching on those issues ultimately leads to the logical extension that makes society eventually fight against the Church on the issue of homosexuality.
    Your argument for homosexuality claimed that the Church seems to think males cannot love other males or females love females.
    I love my sons, brothers and my male friends.
    Really your dispute with the Church is because it holds that acts of sodomy and masturbation are sinful and therefore evil.
    As the song says…‘What’s love got to do with it‘!
    The ruling is not about love, it’s about prohibited sexual acts.
    Orthodox Catholics do use their brains Mary, and the many intellectuals who have been great converts to the Catholic faith give the evidence to that. Thinkers like Malcolm Muggeridge for example.
    He could see the prophetic nature of Humane Vitae. Of his conversion he wrote..
    “It was the Catholic Church’s firm stand against contraception and abortion which finally made me decide to become a Catholic . . . The Church’s stand is absolutely correct. It is to its eternal honour that it opposed contraception, even if the opposition failed. I think, historically, people will say it was a very gallant effort to prevent a moral disaster”
    I invite you to re-read Humanae Vitae and see what I mean about it’s prophetic nature. This Surely is evidenced looking at British newspaper stories every day. How about these two items in recent days?…
    ‘Children as young as 11 are performing sex acts on rows of boys as online porn turns children into sex attackers,’ ministers are warned in shocking report…
    Or…‘Soldier, childminder and farmer in paedophile ring which hosted depraved sex parties at isolated country farmhouse.
    Building was used as base where members of child sex ring would indulge in group sex, bestiality and abuse of girls as young as eight, it is claimed’
    We are now living in the times of the evil consequences of a world that has de-linked sex and procreation.
    These terrible things at least show more clearly the real battleground the Church is in. This certainly is not a time to work against the mission of the Church, by undermining her authority and ability to clearly define moral doctrine. The world is confused enough as it is without more moral confusion coming from priests like the seven this article is about.

  38. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    There is a factual error in your last comment (No. 38) about ectopic pregnancies. Some babies are delivered safely – I have knowledge of one such case.
    To All:
    I am grateful for this forum. Let us please respect each other and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
    Seán Mac Nialluis BD

  39. Fr. Kieren says:

    I am not sure why surnames are required, but if people really want to know, it is Mullarkey. My qualifications are a B.D (hons) and M.A (theology), not that these are important, as I have met many “uneducated” Catholics who have a far better grasp of the faith than I do.
    Ann, I do to some degree accept your point, and I also accept Sean’s invitation to be attentive to the Holy Spirit. But, have you ever considered that the “seven” might be wrong? Have you ever thought that it is the Spirit that is guiding the Magisterium (I am sure they think that is true), is it in fact the “seven” and the ACP who are being led astray?
    As I said in a previous post, I believe that Vatican II was a great gift to the Church, and the Holy Spirit truly spoke to the Church through the Council. That is why I will stick to the content of the documents rather than supporting the “seven”.

  40. Ann Lardeur, B.D., M.Th. says “.. The focus of The Call to Action is on “all the baptized”…”
    Further on “After the request for surnames perhaps contributors to these discussions should add their qualifications where relevant.”
    With respect, may I say, I’m getting the impression she feels only the views of those baptised who have letters after their name are those worth bothering with 😉

  41. Ann Lardeur says:

    Burt – You have the wrong impression. As Fr. Keiran points out grasp of faith does not belong to educated, but indication of academic qualification does help other contributors to tell whether knowledge comes only from lived experience or whether some form of study has contributed to the point of view being expressed. If you read further down point 2 you will see I write about COMMON VOCATION OF ALL THE BAPTIZED not opinions.
    People with academic qualitications still have to live out their faith the same as everyone else.
    Fr. Keiran, as to whether the Seven are inspired by the Spirit …. the test suggested by Gamaliel will provide the answer in due course.

  42. Ann Lardeur says:

    Apologies Fr. Kieren for mis-spelling your name. I am afraid I automatically used the spelling of the one I know. Ann

  43. Fr. Kieren says:

    Ann, I am sure that time will test if the Spirit is truly at work. I also feel that the Church as a whole needs to really refocus on the Council. It seems to me that the ultra traditionalists and the ultr liberals in the Church are betraying the gift of the Council. Both sides are of the extreme, both sides believe only they are right, both dare I say believe they are inspired by the Holy Spirit; but let us be frank, both sides are harming the Church – the Body of Christ.
    The Catholic faith is waiting to be taught, but most importantly it is waiting to be lived out by all the faithful. If I may dare to suggest, surely it is we who conform ourselves to the faith, not the faith to us. I think you would agree with this, but what we all seem to disagree with is what doctrines or perhaps the right word is dogmas are truly expressive of the deposit of faith. As a Catholic who is hurt by the various “infighting”, and fed up with dissent that does nothing but harm to Church be it from either extremes, I simply hope that together and honestly we may return to the Council, and finally begin to implement it.

  44. momangelica says:

    Chris McDonnell says
    …….It was written by a priest of the SSPX group who reject so much of the Council Teaching.
    Bishop Fellay has stated that “the society accepts 95% of teachings of Vatican II”. (So it would appear that they are in fact more faithful than much of the clergy and hierarchy of the Catholic Church as testified by this Call to Action and other such dissatisfied groups popping up here and there.)
    On at least four points the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are obviously in logical contradition to the pronouncements of the previous traditional Magisterium, so that it is impossible to interpret them in keeping with the other teachings already contained in the earlier documents of the Church’s Magisterium. Vatican II broke the unity of the Magisteriium.
    Vatican II Council was a Pastoral Council and was never intended to be a Doctrinal one.
    Collegiality was not the Pope’s desire or will.
    Now, before my post is kicked into touch by Anne Ladeur for no letters after my name I would like to say that five of my six children faithfully go to Holy Mass. They are the exception in my Deanery but the only one who has lost her faith was taught Theology by someone with the letters B.D M.TH. after their name.

  45. Ann Lardeur, B.D., M.Th. says
    “Is it really more reverent to kneel with closed eyes than to hold the host in one’s hand as if placed their by the Lord Himself and imagine one is at the Last Supper”
    Ann, I did not refer to the quantity of reverence, or say anything about eyes being closed, that was not particularly my point.
    But just lets think back when we did do that, yes, with our eyes closed…heads back…God made us all psychological creatures you know. God made the whole shebang after all!
    But it was a unique experience I know I truly miss it and feel robbed.
    Moreover I feel strong resentment that my children were FORBIDDEN to experience receiving communion that way.
    Something different spoke to our poor little uneducated brains that maybe you guys with the letters after your names just don’t get! (just a little dig Ann – sorry)
    Lets face it. Were parishioners knocking on presbytery doors demanding that they change things?
    No? maybe It’s the academics that have ruined it for everybody else!
    By the way I personally never felt it was remotely similar to swallowing a pill. (but perhaps even if that could have some helpful psychological insouciance, I dare say)
    A generation has lost it, but how about you priests in Ireland to make this Eucharistic Congress bring about something great. How about priests reconsidering offering their parishioners the chance to receive Communion as we did in ages of Grace. Wouldn’t that be great.

  46. Ann Lardeur says:

    Fr. Kieren, I am sorry you are hurt by “infighting” and “dissent” which you see as harmful to the Church. I agree with you about the extreme ultras (and the same applies in politics) but there is much middle ground too. To me is it good that so many strands are being contributed to a lively discussion. It is a sign of a passionate community concerned about its future, wishing to be involved, and hoping voices of the often voiceless may be heard. It means the church is alive. Does unity in diversity ring any bells? Many great saints and also founders of religious orders have been regarded as dissents in their own time.
    In this country we are used to the idea of having a ‘loyal opposition’ in politics. It is a concept which the hierarchical church finds hard to accept resulting in a quickness to give ‘anti’ labels. A sign of fear? The institutional church is as frighted of prophets as any other powerful organisation or individual.
    I agree with you about the need for the Council to be implemented. I have a well thumbed copy of the documents. Have you ever read “What ever happened to Vatican II by Michael Winter (mid 1980s if I recall aright). I suspect you are of the post VAT II generation and did not experience the exciting times of the Council itself and the breath of fresh air brought in by John XXIII of blessed memory; followed the discussions and studied the radical documents as they came out. “Those were the days my friend”. Ann

  47. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Poor old Rabbi Gamaliel has written to me again. He’s fed up with all the unpaid overtime contributors to this website have been foisting on him. He reckons his name has been taken in vain here at least ten times since September 2010. A few shekels wouldn’t come amiss, he says. He didn’t work his butt off, he adds, for his BD, M.Th, DD, SSD and JUD all those years ago just to have his every off-the-cuff remark plagiarised and passed off as wisdom by every stray scribe, spirit-tester or ACP camp-follower. And he’s still in favour of giving them a good scourging before letting them go. Just ar eagla na heagla, so to speak.

  48. Joe O'Leary says:

    In practice Vatican II has been dismantled, stone by stone. This has emboldened some people to come out nakedly and say that Vatican itself was a bad thing, a non-event, a divisive squabble. But this in turn embarrasses those who have dismantled Vatican II for it reveals nakedly what they have done. Vatican II is an Ecumenical Council, and thus a rare high point in the expression of the authority of Christ’s Church. To mock and trample on an ecumenical council is a form of heterodoxy that puts all the alleged errors of the cafeteria catholics in the shade.
    As to the Lefebvrites, their antisemitism alone should make them untouchable.

  49. Eddie Finnegan I got to admit that was my first encounter with the good Rabbi. In fact when he first cropped up my initial reaction was….….JESUS MARY & JOSEPH!!!..…GAMAWHO????? WTF?? Do we need a Gamma Ray Test??
    Who the …. is Gamaliel? Oh I must be so dumb to miss this integral character in biblical history who has so shaped theology and philosophy throughout Christendom.
    I guess had I got a good theology degree I would have been better placed. Story of my life, I was always a bit of an underachiever I am afraid!

  50. Fr. Kieren says:

    You are right I am a post Vatican II Catholic. I think because of this I am able to reflect upon the current state of the Church. My generation is one who has no clue of the Catholic faith, it is a generation that lacks true catechesis. I don’t blame Vat II for this, but I blame the clergy and religious who for whatever reason did not faithfully pass on the deposit of faith; maybe they were overwhelmed by the excitement of the time, and didn’t actually digest the reality of the Council.
    Until I studied the documents myself, I didn’t realise how far we had actually abandoned the Council. Today we have traditionalists denying the authority of an Ecumenical Council, and Liberal’s denying the authority that called that Council.
    I don’t harp back to the Latin Mass, I am not too impressed by lace and fancy vestments, I am not against reconciliation with the SSPX as long as they accept the fullness of the Council. But I also don’t agree with much of the liberal agenda as much of it has no mandate from Vatican II.

  51. My Plea on Fathers Day.
    If you are asking yourselves whether I’m appearing a bit too hard on the likes of Ann Ledeur: Well yes I am aiming to burst her bubble, it’s true. There’s no chip on my shoulder about class or education or anything like that. If I do have resentment though for that particular academic elite its about this one thing:-
    It is the academics and chattering class ‘liberals’ who have been the iconoclasts that robbed me, and the ones I care about, of the things I loved most in the deepest parts of my memory and soul.
    And since I have embarked on this work of mine, to address liberal factions, most likely a vain attempt, but something I know now God is urging me to do very strongly (I should have done this years ago) I have been given insights and mystical consolations of extraordinary encouragement.
    Guess what! …The sole reason God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost made the whole of creation is so he could make us!
    And from the moment he sparked off the whole of Everything …when He created the Universe and Heaven itself, It was for us. Each one of us. Every single soul in the world now, from the beginning and till the end.
    And from the beginning of time He knew that as little children we Catholics would receive Communion and be with Him in a mystical way. Kneeling, eyes closed, fed by Christ, in guise of a priest. Staying there on our knees for a few seconds in so close and intimate a way. It was a very special and precious thing indeed.
    I know as a child I truly had mystical experiences that have almost been forgotten. They seemed very natural of course at the time. What can be more natural for a created human child but to be close to the Creator who is holding him, his created child in his existence and being.
    And Jesus misses this Communion with all of us and our children too.
    I am mad at the ones who robbed my children of these things.
    And I am certain the Devil has been so very pleased to have taken it all away.
    The Devil most especially mocks the ones who destroyed it!
    And who are these liberal ‘Catholics’ after all. The ones prattling about testing the fruit of the Spirit and such platitudes. Well it turns out they have no time for all those who truly loved the HOLY Sacrifice of the Mass. Always the ones who want to make out it is a just a happy meal! and go on about sharing together as ‘community‘.
    Always talk about the good fruit of the Second Council when it is as clear as day it was nothing but a disaster!
    Always making sure it is never a Mass that appears to be as mystical and as holy as it did in the great age of conversions.
    They also are the ones that don’t want the Church reconciled with those who love those sacred things, I mean of course SSPX. No these people revile them and call THEM heretics. They always talk about ‘ecumenism’ and we should all be ‘one’ but ironically they are the ones who most strongly disapprove when a movement of Anglicans do come into the realm of the Catholic fold.
    They call those of us who are against the changes to tradition heretics, Then, these people in the next breath plead for the Church to accept sins, that she always said, cried out to Heaven for vengeance! This crowd are also always the ones acting against the Papacy and try to thwart so many Post-Consilliar Papal aims.
    That then basically is what my chip on my shoulder is all about!
    I do have consolation because I know that Our Lord forgives my children for not knowing him closely as they should, He knows they have been deprived.
    I also know He does hold those of us*, who spoiled it all for them, responsible for failing them. And for that we will have to account!
    Who knows what Grace has been lost to the world? I am certain it has been the direct reason for the way things are going. The Church Ravaged by scandal, facing the most rampant secularism in Europe and the West as well as the persecution of violent jihad from radical Islam. It all looks insurmountable really.
    How many more converts to the faith would there have been? Souls who might have found God if the Church had kept Her beauty intact.. Who knows? Maybe even Osama Bin Laden could have become a Catholic when he was a young man, living in Europe? Who knows where his poor soul is now? Who knows how many Catholic Marriages might not have been destroyed?
    I am sure the Church is being punished because of the rebellion of Vatican II hijackers!
    Our Lord promised no matter how bad things get, The gates of Hell will not prevail, But we have to do something dramatic to assist.
    I urge Bishops, ACP Priests, Modernist thinkers who read this, please face facts, consider my words, do something dramatic, RESTORE things for the sake of the World!
    and for your own souls too.
    *(and I do mean us including myself most especially)

  52. Ann Lardeur says:

    I thought putting my degrees up would provoke interesting comments – and I am not disappointed. I also note there have been no snide remarks addressed to Fr. Kieren who’s qualifications are similar to mine, nor the lovely Sean MacN who has courageously owned to his B.D. So Burt and Momangelica, why are you going for me. Also you might like to spell both by christian name and surname correctly!
    I wonder how I fit your mental picture of me. Pardon the length of the apologia: I was not only good at R.E. at school but found it interesting. Next to secretarial college where I made great friends with a Jewish girl and discovered by knowledge of the O.T. was very poor and selective. At 21 I moved to London and in Westmister opposite Church House the public library had excellent theology, liturgy and history sections. I read loads whereever fancy took me. Valerie moved to Israel and invited me to stay. I had too fantastic trips out there staying in Jerusalem and travelling to other areas, on foot, by bus etc. Ten years later in Surrey I attended course put on by diocese (A&B) and anything provided in parish and deanery. Then the highly educated Bruce Harbert (look him up if you haven’t come across him) came as a newly ordained curate. I attended things he put on too. He asked me where I had studied for my theology degree. I laughed like Sarah, but he said I should do one since it would make my reading systematic. I thought – well if Bruce thinks I have a degree perhaps I could try for one. Opportunity came with a small inheritance from my mother and I no longer had to be at primary school gate at 3.30 p.m.
    At university I was older than the mothers of some of my year, I learned my greek on the train, worked until 4.00ish in the library and then came home to domesticity. I thought out my essays whilst walking the dog late a night when everyone else was in bed. However, I was not bothered about passing exams – I was there just for interest. First year was full of uncertainty but with trepidation signed up for a second year option option on St. John’s. Our strict head of scripture who taught the course decide to give us a test at the end of that first term. I had done no exams for over 30 years – but came out with the best marks. Result – I thought well I really can do it if I go for it. Result is history – oh and by the way I got a distinction for my M.Th in New Testament and Patristics. (Apolgies to moderator of the contributions for spelling out so much detail)
    Now, Momanagelica where are your facts? Have you read John XXIII’s opening address to the Council “today the longed-for day had dawned for the solemn opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council” or do you believe there has been no Ecumenical Councils since the Great Schism with the Eastern Churches.
    How do you know collegiality was not the Pope’s will or desire. Did he tell you personally? Even it was the Pope’s will is immaterial – it is what the Holy Spirit inspire which is important.
    Congratulations on your church attending children, but assuming the one who has ‘lost her faith’ is of any age to make her own decision then the responsibility is neither yours nor her teacher’s. I sincerely hope she rediscovers it. Studying theology enhances understanding if you can take on board the difficulties. There are difficulties in living out ones faith regardless of circumstances and knowledge.

  53. Ann Lardeur says:

    Burt – I am of your generation, might even be older, but I am not revealing that! A little respect would do no harm! Enjoy your own bubble. Nice if it was champagne but I fear it might be something more acid troubling your innards!! Ann

  54. Joe O'Leary says:

    Is it Vatican II that is a disaster or its alleged “hijackers”? Many a mystic has discerned that Christianity itself is a disaster (from looking at the dark side only).
    The Lefebvrites are not about holy things — just look up Bp Richard Williamson for a clue to what they are about.

  55. Ann Lardeur says:

    Oh – and apologies to Momangelica for typo in her name; especially after complaining about her doing the same thing to me. I did not notice until time for correction had elapsed. Ann

  56. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Steady on, Burt. Now that you’ve got all that off your chest, you don’t need any theology degree to appreciate old Gamaliel. Just try ACTS 5:34ff. He’s a wise man and usually gives good advice. Maybe he gets overworked at times.
    And lest you misread my little post above, I’m very glad to be both a follower of Rabbi Gamaliel and an ACP camp-follower. And I’m even more glad to see my parish priest among the ‘Call to Action Seven’ who, alas, don’t seem to be your favourite pinups.
    Still, it’s good to get stuff off your chest.

  57. Ann and Eddie, I should perhaps have resisted getting things off my chest in the ways I did, so apologies if I went too far.
    In fact let me thank you for bringing my attention to Gamaliel, and those chapters in Acts of The Apostles.
    The passages in Acts you point to refer to Peter (our first Pope) and John facing a trial before the Pharasees of which Gamaliel is of their council.
    The Pharasee Gamaliel’s argument to the council, while it may have forestalled Peter’s execution temporarly, It had that merit, But he was a heretic nevertheless. He was purporting that the longevity of a creed would be a test for its veracity. He obviously was not exhorting it as a test of whether it was a gift of the Holy Spirit. As a Pharasee he would not have belief in the Third Person of The Trinity, The Holy Ghost.
    Furthermore his test of the longevity of an idea, being proof of its truth, is obviously a false one in the light of the fact that enduring heresys such as Lutheranism, Islam and Talmudic Judaism are good examples to disprove that argument.
    But as Catholics we can look to passages in Acts written by the Apostles that point to whether ideas are the fruit of The Holy Spirit.
    Look at Acts 4[31] ‘And when they had prayed, the place was moved wherein they were assembled; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with confidence.’
    This preceding passage in Acts points to gifts of the Holy Spirit: Clearly the gift of “doubt” beloved by some of the supporters of ACP does not correspond to that.
    Acts 6[6]’These they set before the apostles; and they praying, imposed hands upon them. [7] And the word of the Lord increased; and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly: a great multitude also of the priests obeyed the faith. ‘
    Fruits of the Holy Spirit indicated in Acts 6[6] increased numbers in the Church and obedience to the Faith.
    Not decreased numbers of conversions and Vocations and not dissent. Those are what I see as the resulting affects of what resulted from the abuses brought about in the name of “collegiality”
    ‘But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. [40] And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’
    While it looks as if arguments are put forward by the likes of the seven seek to do quite the oposite, but rather adopt more to the ways of our own worlds perversities outside the “safety Zone” of Holy Mother Church.
    My contention is that the changes foisted on the Church since Vatican II have largely been consistently against the expressed wishes of Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI. That to me makes clear these are signs the changes have not been for the good.

  58. Ann Lardeur says:

    Burt, Burt, Burt! I thought we were getting somewhere when I read your opening remarks. How disappointing to find we are not.
    Gamaliel was no heretic. He was a wise Jew of his time. Heretic comes from the greek word meaning choices. Initially it was just a description of someone who had chosen a different path. From the point of view of the Jews of that time Jesus and all his followers would have been the heretics – they had chosen a diffent path – but they did not use the term. Islam is no heresy; it did not separate from Judaism nor Christianity.
    You almost certainly won’t like this, but the thing about organised study is that one does not just take a text and interpret it to fit a doctrine or one’s own hobby horse. Of course one reads the text, but also about the background, the date, the circumstances of the audience, any other contemporary texts; also commentaries and what other people think about the text(s)to get a rounded picture.
    Do you realise that all Paul’s epistles are earlier than the gospels and Acts? From them we learn of the diversity of view held by these different communities and how Paul tries to lead them along the right lines. Paul gives the earliest account of the Eucharist – had you noticed the words differ from the version in the gospels? Why does he write about – because of what the Corinthians were doing.
    Why does 1 Cor 8 deal with questions about food offered to idols. Answer is that poor of that time lived in tenements with no cooking facilities. If they got meat it was from temple feasts or takeaways/butchered meat from the markets. Source of this could well be surplus meat from temple offerings!
    See how he address the Galatians 1:6. Also 3:1 O foolish Galatians.
    The picture from the Pauline epistles is very different to Luke/Acts dating from roughly 70-90AD. How is this accounted for – Paul is writing on the hoof, sorting out problems within the communities about behaviour and teaching. Luke’s purpose is different. He is writing for Theophilus (Godlover) to show early christianity in a favourable light. It has an element of spin about it, showing all the best bits.
    There are other documents, considered scripture in the early church (sorting out what was Christian Scripture took a long time too)which shed light on young Christian Communities. The Didache (pronounced did-a-key) which means ‘Teaching) written about the same time as Matthew (80-100). There is a good book on it by Thomas O’Loughlin, paperback and does not cost a fortune. Also the Letters/Epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch are from roughly the same period as St. John.
    Honestly Burt, you care very deeply about the faith. Letting of steam is good, but you might find exploring some of this stuff far more interesting and worthwhile. Also you might find you friends seeing you in an entirely new light. It is never to late to expand knowledge and understanding and pass it on to others.
    By the way I forgot to mention that dates of scripture of usually somewhat elastic and debatable. 1 Thes. is usually regarded as the earliest, and Mark as the earliest gospel, but some scholars argue for Matthew.

  59. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    Burt: Good Morning! I am still puzzling over the ending of your last post (58). It was Pope John XXlll who called the Council into being – it was he who was inspired to open up the church. He was a shrewd man: he knew that the world was changing and that the Church needed to adapt (not to conform). Do you believe he was wrong?
    It grieves me that we are over-concerned with rules, regulations and edicts when they often ignore the essence of Christ’s message: love always, forgive always, never judge. Of course we have to have agreed ways of celebrating that but Christ himself showed us that love, not rules or edicts, is paramount. Best wishes. Seán
    PS: I only mentioned my BD because I wanted to be open – which is why I also use my full name. I enjoyed most aspects of the theology course that I did. I started at age 44, and it was hard as I had a part-time job as well for most of the three years. I know people who would love to do the same; most of them already know more than I did when I finished. By the way, I ought to say that I am privileged to know Ann Lardeur. We met studying – on our way to Mass, if I remember rightly. She was doing her Master’s. She is a great woman, and has always been a great friend. She lives far away from me sadly! All the best, Burt. Seán

  60. Fr. Kieren says:

    Hi Sean,
    The question I would like to ask you is quite important. Did John XXIII believe that the Church should adapt, or did he believe that it was how the Church communicates the message that should adapt? As you are aware these are two different things. In fact I think it is how we choose to answer this question that lies at the heart of the current debate.

  61. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    Fr. Kieran. Nice one! For a minute (more like 30, to be honest), I thought you were serious. Best wishes. Seán.

  62. Ann Lardeur says:

    Hi Fr. Kieren,
    Glad to have you back in the dialogue. Re your question to Sean – do you think they are mutually exclusive? Of course fundamentals need to be proclaimed and communicated in ways which are understandable to each generation. Are there not ways in which the Church needed to, and has, adapted too? Liturgy in the venacular, range of Masses for different occasions, vastly wider use of scripture; contribution of the laity and role of women ( latter no longer only of service as house keepers, church cleaners etc. I would be interesting to know more about your definition and vision of “Church”. Ann

  63. Fr. Kieren says:

    I honestly seek an answer, and I am being really serious. My question relates only to the seven and not to the Irish Church. I believe that words like renew, reform and even adapt should be used regarding Vatican Ii, but only in the appropriate context. I have just received some information regarding the “year of Faith”, there seems to be a great emphasis on Vatican II (rightly), but in my cynical moments, I consider that perhaps we should focus rather on the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, because it often surprises me how many Catholics don’t know who Jesus is. Or has the Christological statements of the Church been adapted too?
    But just to humour me, could you tell me where in the four constitutions and the opening speech of John XXIII does reference of an adapting/changing Church made?
    Fr. Kieren

  64. Fr. Kieren says:

    Sean, just reading through the leaflets, it is great that a focus is placed on what they describe as the “pillars of the Council”. Unfortunately, the constitutions can only be interpreted correctly (not my words!) through what is being called today the “hermeneutic of continuity”. Sean if you are in Ireland, I apologise, I don’t know if your Bishops will be producing something similar.
    Now, I suppose I have always interpreted the Council in this way, although I would never have called it that!

  65. Gerard Flynn says:

    Fr Kieren, beliefs change. They are human attempts at articulating how people understand faith. Faith, as God’s disclosure of Godself to us and God’s offer to enter into a relationship with us is a constant. It doesn’t change. God will not withdraw or withhold his love. Belief is Christianity’s attempt to express the various aspects of that reality. As people’s understanding changes, for example, in keeping pace with development in the natural sciences, beliefs change. Indeed they must change, to ensure that they are intelligible to the women and men of our day. The real question then is not whether belief should change, but which statements of belief need to be rephrased to make sense to the people of our time.
    A course in fundamental theology is the place where the difference between faith and belief is normally introduced.

  66. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    Fr. Kieren. Thanks for the messages. May I start by apologising for getting your name wrong – no discourtesy was intended (as I get older, I often forget to remember to double check things!). By the way, I live in Britain.
    I tried to made a poor joke (another check-system failing!) about your initial question (61) because I don’t believe that we can separate the two things: whether Pope John XXlll intended the church to adapt or whether he intended to adapt the way it communicates. Whatever the church does or does not do is the message the church communicates. The point about Vatican Two is that the Pope was inspired to call it. That call had a consequence that stays with us. It is our job to work things out now so that we in 2012 are faithful to Christ’s message. Best wishes. Seán

  67. Fr. Kieren says:

    Gerard, you will hear no argument from me regarding your point. Faith is the essential and belief the expression of faith, to be honest that is common sense and doesn’t even need an introduction to fundamental theology! This is what I am getting at, let me give you an example. Part of our faith is the inherent dignity of the human life, some (I will admit myself included) believe that Humanae Vitae expresses that faith, others do not, whose belief expresses the faith correctly?
    Another example would be the current revised missal, does the language express the faith? Well from my point of view no.
    And so I ask, does our differing belief distort our faith? Are there some beliefs that are essential to faith?
    I am no fundamentalist and I think that we should always be asking tough and important questions, but sometimes the answers we come to are in fact wrong.

  68. Fr. Kieren says:

    Ann, sorry I didn’t reply. Church roof leaking!
    I will try and honestly answer your question. Regarding the liturgy, I think this is vital as our faith is no more fully expressed than when we gather around the altar. I think Vatican II brought the Church back to its liturgical roots and readdressed an overly centralised approach as embodied by Trent, unfortunately there does seem to be a Vatican led revision of this. Don’t get me wrong the post Vat II liturgy was not perfect, and since the new revision is perhaps even less perfect!
    Regarding my understanding of the Church, I hope that you don’t mind if a avoid “theological” speak, the Church for me is simply the family of God. As a family we all have some important part to play, but like every family some roles are unique to particular people. I agree with your question about women in the Church, most of my catechesists are women, but this question sometimes gets lost and ends up with an argument about women priests.

  69. Ann Lardeur says:

    Fr. Kieren,
    Just a quick acknowledgement. Sorry about roof leaking – water is pouring over one of our gutters. Normally my neighbour puts up the ladder for me, but not sure I have energy at the moment to get up the 30′ or so to deal with it. Husband is no longer able to do such things.
    Will be back to theology stuff later when my brain gets in gear. In the meantime I have a story to tell you. I was able to attend a symposium to mark 40th years since Vat II. One speaker was Archbishop Denis Hurley of South Africa (google him). Another was a retired Canadian bishop who had been a bag-carrier at the Council (cannot remember his name). He was due to be consecrated bishop very shortly. His ‘master’ had an audience with John XXIII at the end of which the Pope picked up a ring box from his desk and said this is to be the bag-carrier’s episcopal ring. The bishop brought it to the meeting and invited the audience to try it on. I did.
    Best wishes, Ann

  70. Ann Lardeur says:

    Kieren – a p.s.,
    On women – I could not resist posting a jesting comment on main site yesterday re homily resource. To read it you will have to look at the homily resource archive! Ann

  71. Fr. Kieren says:

    Don’t worry about my name, you are not the first and won’t be the last! I agree with you about John XXIII being inspired to call the Council, I think we are all still working through and understanding the legacy of the Council, and rightly so.

  72. Fr. Kieren says:

    I don’t think I want to go anywhere near a bishops ring, never mind trying one on! I have some knowledge of Archbishop Hurley, he was a great man, too often forgotten. Will have a look at the homily resource, I am sure that although it may be tongue in cheek, you still made an insightful point.
    Unfortunately, because of health and safety, have to rely on the professional for roof repairs, luckily rain stayed off today and we had a wonderful wedding this afternoon. Two lapsed Catholics, who had I suppose put the cart before the horse, but are slowly being welcomed back into the faith community. Regardless of my theological stance, in reality we meet God’s children where they are and let his grace do all the work! Theology is great, and debate even better, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of God’s mercy and love.

  73. Ann Lardeur says:

    Kieren, the attraction of the ring was its connection to John XXIII of blessed memory.
    I notice Sean rather ducked your question in post 64 on the 4 Constitutions. You have probably realised I cannot resist challenges or challenging!!! So ….
    As you know, but others may not, that on The Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) was the first of the documents (Dec.63); On the Church (Lumen Gentium next (Nov. 64) Followed by On Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) in Nov 65 and finally Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) in Dec.65.
    The opening para of Sacrosactum Concilium is what I suppose what today would be called the ‘Vision Statement’ for the whole enterprise.
    “The sacred Council has set out to impart an ever-increasing vigour to the Christian life of the faithful; to ADAPT more closely to the needs of our age those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call all mankind into the Church’s fold. Accordingly it sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the REFORM and promotion of the liturgy.
    No need to point out the qualification of what can be adapted and reformed but nevertheless there is a clear indication of an agenda.
    The other thing is, I remember when John XXIII told the church and the world he was summoning the Council in January 1959 he used the word ‘aggiornamento’. Big scurry to discover meaning of this unfamilar term. It meant “bringing up to date” – and caused amazement.
    Paul VI in Ecclesiam Suam (1964)says of the word “We have adopted (it)as expressing the aim and object of our own pontificate. Besides ratifying it and confirming it as the guiding principle of the Ecumenical Council, we want to bring it to the notice of the whole Church.
    (Hope Burt and Momangelica are still alive and well and maybe revisit our discussions)

  74. I would just like to say how much I agree with Fr Kieren’s balanced (or so it seems to me) approach. In my local parish, the PP provides on one weekday evening a month a Taize serice and on another weekday evening an EF Low Mass. That is real catholicity.
    As an Anglican priest oce said to me in another context, O si sic omnes.

  75. “Hope Burt and Momangelica are still alive and well and maybe revisit our discussions”
    Dear Ann, I am alive and well thank you, I hope Momangelica can say the same too.
    I really see no point in carrying on discussing the issue. In fact I don’t feel anyone really addressed the points I made.
    I think I made my views clear, and my motives for making them were really an attempt to get the ordained ACP and even the seven disaffected priests to see an alternative view to the misguided thinking (in my view) that you , Sean and others seem keen to back up.
    I think I made clear and gave evidence why I see the changes a disaster for faith in this world.
    If I carry on contributing I would risk sounding uncharitable, but I do think many baby-boomers here typify a vain “It’s all about me” post Vat II experience.
    I have tried to show you how I mourn the loss of the authentic expressions of tradition that the iconoclasts have destroyed.
    I just feel sad for the young who have been denied the experience.
    Sean, of course we have no idea what John XXIII hoped would be the outcome of the Council, so it’s pointless to guess.
    His Successors have been the ones that have had to deal with the mess, and it has not been easy for them. (ironically both John Paul II and Benedict were radical members of the pereti at the time of the Council, who contributed to making the rods for their own backs in their papal reigns)
    I have just obtained a book published in US, written in 1986, by Anne Roche Muggeridge, ‘The Desolate City’
    I found a little quote re collegiality by poor old Cardinal Ottaviani which did make me chuckle…I will share it with you if only to amuse you too:
    ‘…Ottaviani joked that he could find no scriptural basis for the existence of collegial apostolic behaviour except “And they all fled”.’
    Well as I say, it does get rather pointless when folks with diametrically opposed points of view waste time attempting to change their opponents opinions, so I will just have to agree to differ with you guys and leave it there.

  76. Ann Lardeur says:

    I do hope you are at least having one last look to see if there are replies to your farewell message. If you are please could you tell me who you have in mind when you say “many baby-boomers here”? Do you mean in your parish, in the church at large, on contributors to this site. If latter how old do you think we are – would you like to reveal your guesses say in 10 year approximations? I’d be prepared to tell you if you are in the right ball park about me. Comments in my posts would be guide if you have read them properly.
    If you are checking on replies the only thing I can say to you I am very glad you have had great personal experiences. Sadly religious experiences are usually individual and unfortunately not transferable to others. They are gifts to each person and how every much one might wish one’s children to have them it does not work that way – where they are on the journey of faith, their individual experiences of life, different education, interests etc. all influence the experience of God and how God communicates with each person. God only knows what is best for them which is diffent from what is best for you now, and was best for you in the past.
    I can only pray as myself and you can only pray as yourself – I might pray the same prayers as a saint who had visions but they are not a recipe for getting access to the same visions.
    I get an impression, which I hope is wrong, that you tend to read books, articles etc. which support you view of the church. Please think about looking at something completely different and out of your comfort zone like one on the Didache by Thomas O’Loughlan. It is an easy read and won’t take you that long.
    very good wish, Ann

  77. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Now that we’ve had 77 posts, about 70 of them grinding private axes far removed from the original post’s “Call to Action” by the Seven Priests, may I make a brief ‘intervention’, as they say in Rome?
    According to last Saturday’s ‘News from Britain and Ireland’ in The Tablet:
    “Nearly 140 Catholics, including more than 70 priests in England and Wales, have declared their support for a group of priests who have articulated concerns about what they perceive as a drift away from the teachings of Vatican II. The group will hold an initial meeting with priests who have expressed an interest in their cause at St John’s Church, Waterloo Road, London, on Wednesday 18 July, at 1p.m.”
    This is good news. Unfortunately it is tucked away on page 32 in the final short paragraph of a piece about Bishop Kieran Conry’s four-year plan for his diocese of Arundel & Brighton. May I suggest to the Seven that this may not be the best approach to setting England & Wales on fire? There are good men among these Seven, but their publicity would need to be better.

  78. Good for them. Tiocfaidh ar la !!
    Sooner the Church gives all the people their right and freedom to truly live the priesthood of all believers the better.
    Not before time. Don’t call. Shout and shout loudly !! 🙂

  79. Ann Lardeur says:

    Thanks for the info Eddie. I know one of the 7 is an A&B priest (just recognised the name but have not checked out any of the others) and not without support in the diocese. They will not be without prayers either.
    Whilst agreeing with you that we have wandered round an awful lot, I find it interesting and illumating to discover what bugs folk.

  80. Ann,
    I have many faults, and no doubt I have already demonstrated many in my comments, however At my age I like to think myself a bit more of a gent than to invite a lady to divulge her years. Besides, age is not so important, some say we are all children in the eyes of God.
    I probably will not read the book you recommend, life is short and I have more than enough library books of my own choosing to plough through. Besides why need I be directed by Thomas O’Loughlan when I can read the Didache directly .
    Reading those passages you will see some quite stern, authoritative texts, not likely to attract ‘liberal’ ‘open to doubt’ types. Read it and you find an apostolic letter clearly and completely orthodox as any Papal encyclical. Dogmatic and unrelenting on Faith and Morals.
    Consider this passage for example:
    ‘But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: “In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.’
    To me that speaks of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
    It also speaks that before we go to receive the Blessed Sacrament it is important to go first to the sacrament of Penance
    So indeed there is much in common with that document powerful evidence that the Apostolic era is very much the same Church seen by those who value orthodoxy. In truth Our Blessed Lord gave us much more than scraps of scripts to find in sandy caves.
    He gave us something far more solid. In fact it’s hard as rock. Upon that rock He built His Church.

  81. Ann Lardeur says:

    Text of Didache is also in Tom’s book (unfortunately I put ‘lan’ and the end and not ‘lin’) but if you read his book it would tell you and awful lot more about its history, its purpose, how if fits with other manuscripts and its theology in context. You would also discover it has nothing to do with caves, sandy or otherwise. Caves in sand have habit of falling in.
    Whilst it may speak to you of Mass but it causes huge problems for others since the instructions for what to say over cup and bread include no words of institution. No priest/celebrant either for that matter.
    Of course the Didache speaks of its own, but so does Shakespeare. However unless one knows that in his time the women were male actors dressed as women, and then one misses so much of the playfulness of the comedies. e.g. when woman is dressed as a man, but is actually a man himself.
    Time to cook. Ann
    p.s. you would also discover from Tom O’Loughlin’s book that actually it is just “The Teaching” – it is not ‘apostolic’ at all the apostles tag is something it acquired at a later date!

  82. graeme taylor says:

    Mary Burke: when a Christian rejects Humanae Vitae, he/she needs to come closer to the Lord in the Sacrament of Confession, think on Mary.
    If you are unable to follow Almighty God’s will through obedience to His Vicar, feel free to join the anglicans, but remember….you will always be welcomed back with the outstretched arms of the Father.

  83. Joe O'Leary says:

    “feel free to join the anglicans” — actually Cardinal Walter Kasper said that just as we rejoice when Anglicans at the bidding of the Holy Spirit join the Roman Church so we rejoice when Roman Catholics at the same bidding join the Anglican Church. But to my mind the chief attraction of Anglicanism is the integrity and authenticity of its liturgy, and if we Roman Catholics would only use our talents, verbal, musical, theological, communicative, and for works of charity, our liturgy could be just as good. Note that the Anglican Church is now the only place were we can hear the 1973 translation of the Eucharistic Prayers, replaced with ghastly simulacra last December in our churches.

  84. graeme taylor says:

    Joe O’Leary: the Anglican Communion is so full of non-sense, they have a muddled view of Our Lord’s teaching on the authority of Peter and their ideas on “community” and “church” are very misguided.
    The Holy Father has made many a welcomes to the protestants and the orthodox and many are paying off, the Grace these people experience in conversion to the truth in Jesus in His Church. We must pray and continue to make these good people welcome.

  85. I can tell that there is a flurry of differing viewpoints goind around this forum, which is expected since religion can sometimes be a sensitive topic. My only input is that the pro-active encouragement of priests can sometimes be too invasive and pervasive over people’s lived, and many priest tend to overbear upon the ones they counsel, advocating their own beliefs rather than being objective in listening to others’ problems.

  86. Burt and momangelica,
    Brilliant posts.
    To be a Catholic one must be grounded in Catholic Tradition. If you find yourself supporting a group of priests who want to “redesign” the Church, you know you’ve left the path of orthdoxy and become a dissenter. Big time.

  87. Eddie Finnegan says:

    EditorCT (and presumably you’ve got a name to go with your humble title?): Congratulations on winning the lottery jackpot again in managing to get published by those dissenting heretics in the ACP. I take it the powers above have appointed you Editor of both Catholic Truth and Catholic Tradition. CT may also be confused with Conservative Twaddle, so a title change might be advised. Good to see you’re building a dossier on the Scoundrel Seven. I wonder what dirt you’ll dig up on my Parish Priest.

  88. Eddie Finnegan,
    No, don’t be silly. I was baptised “EditorCT” – what’s wrong with that? Oh I know. You’ll be one of those old fashioned fuddy duddy diehards who thinks we should always be named after saints. Gerraway! I’ll be the first. Saint EditorCT. Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? What am I saying? You’re blogging on the ACP blog – of COURSE you don’t think!
    IS there “dirt” on your Parish Priest? WOW! Thanks for the tip off… If only you’d thought to tell us his name. Ah well – it IS an Irish blog after all!

  89. Ann Lardeur says:

    No room for prophets, methinks, in the world of C.T. what ever that stands for. Nice if was for Christian Tolerance but somehow smells more akin to communist totalitarianism.

  90. Ann Lardeur says:

    EditorCT, your response to Eddie is beneath contempt. Fine example of christian love you set. I am surprised the moderator let you through, maybe gave you the benefit of doubt on grounds you might be joking. (Perhaps she or he took out even worse bits).
    I assume the Catholic Tradition you are grounded in includes the Spanish Inquisition, condemnation of Galileo, persecution of Jews, no salvation outside the Church (meaning one, holy catholic and apostolic, and roman) mixed marriages taking place in the church porch, no praying with other christians, let alone members of other religions. Oh dear, what was Pope Benedict doing in Westminster Abbey – or was that all fake in the genre of those who think the moon landing never took place.
    What about the Blessed John Henry Newman’s saying “to grow is to change and to become perfect is to have changed often” Not much hope for your kind of church then, nor yourself as St. EditorCT either.
    “Blogging on a ACP blog – of COURSE you don’t think!” If the cap fits wear it!

  91. Ann and Eddie. Why do you give encouragement to EditorCT by responding to his silly contributions. We all have a serious job of work to do in saving OUR CHURCH from destruction.

  92. Fr. Kieren says:

    Hi Ger Gleeson,
    Can I just ask when has it become OUR CHURCH? I always thought it was God’s Church. Regarding the Seven, I must have missed the update in the Tablet, must admit that I am surprised so few priests have responded.

  93. Fr Kieren.
    I am flattered to be crossing swords with a Priest who has such qualifications as a B.D (hons) and M.A (theology), but many people regard God’s church on earth, as OUR CHURCH. Why have you now questioned me on this issue, as it was stated three times, in two paragraphs, in the original posting by the Magnificant Seven. Is it possible that at least one of those good priests could argue the point with you, and that you may lose?
    Seriously, why do you not lift the phone and arrange a meal and meeting with the Priests. Christ would do it. They need you as you need them. Of course we all need each other regardless of possible differances. If you all lived in MY ISLAND and you could find your way to Co Clare, then you would all be fed in MY HOUSE. Keep the Faith.

  94. Ann Lardeur says:

    Hi Kieren and Ger too,
    Re God’s Church/our Church question, is there not a sense of it being both? Images of Body of Christ – head and members together; The People of God, Family of God, the House of God built of living stones etc. all present ideas of corporateness and co-operation.

  95. Fr. Kieren says:

    Morning Ger Gleeson,
    The problem with the phrase, as I see it, is that when we refer to the Church as “ours” then we perhaps (regardless of church politics etc … ) begin to shape the Church in “our” image, reflecting “our” point of view and philosophy, there is a temptation to focus on me, you, us rather than God.
    The problem with the seven, as with the more conservative group (with triple the number of priests) that was established last year, and if I remember correctly criticised by the Tablet, is that in their own way, they want to conform the Church to themselves, I want the Church to conform only to Christ. That doesn’t mean that both groups don’t have legitimate points to raise. To be honest with you, I have no time for either groups, I will rather spend my time visiting the sick, administering the sacraments and teaching the faith.

  96. Fr Kieren, we agree to differ on the God’s Church and Our Church issue. I am truly saddened by your comments regarding the seven and also the conservative group which you have highlighted.To quote your last sentence “I have no time for either groups, I will rather spend my time visiting the sick, administering the sacraments and teaching the faith”. I personally do not read scripture, I try to live by the simple command of God “Love God, Love your neighbour”. However is there not something in scripture which says something like “If there is one lost sheep, leave the flock and go and find it”. And the return of the Prodigal son is also a great comfort to us all. It appears you have decided that the seven, and now possibly the conservative group also, are lost sheep, and do not deserve to be found. I as a layman, and more importantly you as a Priest, have a God given duty to go after the lost sheep. Go on Fr Kieren, pick up that phone.
    Unfortunatly there seems to be a great similarity between the present position of Fr Kieren (Hopefully it may change) and the Bishops in this country. Our Bishops have also decided that they will not talk to the ACP. Rome has a totally different way of handling “Difficult Priests”. They first send them to a Monastery to reflect, and then silence them. Old Lucifer himself must be dancing a jig, every day of the week.

  97. Fr. Kieren says:

    Ger Gleeson,
    I think you do me a disservice, and misrepresent me. I have looked into both groups, and both in my opinion represent a distortion of the Catholic faith. I am a great fan of dialogue, and in fact support the stance if not all the points the ACP are making. I certaining take the Lord’s command to reach out to the lost sheep seriously, that is why I do what I do. I never suggested that members of the two groups are lost, but are perhaps too focused on their own agenda.
    Do you not think that there are enough lost sheep in my own parish, daily I strive to gather them around the one Good Shepherd.

  98. Joe O'Leary says:

    “Our Bishops have also decided that they will not talk to the ACP.”
    Is this true? Is their idea that the ACP should put itself formally under episcopal management? Unfortunately, there is a track record here that is not encouraging.

  99. Ann Lardeur says:

    Steady on, Ger: good priests both look after the ‘flock’ in their care and search out the lost, lonely, and strayed. Members of both groups are doubtless doing all this too. Parables are not meant to be the whole story – they focus on one significant point. Yes, in the story of the Good Shepherd he leaves the flock, but don’t assume they were abandoned and not penned up safely. Otherwise they would have all wandered off, got eaten by wolves, and the shepherd would be running round in circles looking for the lot. In another place, as I recall, there is a reference to without the shepherd the sheep scattering.
    Look at Ezekiel 34:11 onwards where God is the shepherd and keeps all the flock in view. If you go back to the start of the chapter there are harsh words for bad shepherds who exploit and neglect their flocks. Not sure where all the priests working in the Vatican fit in, they appear to be pretty well fed and and finely dressed. The rest of us often become like sheepdogs, being fed and nurtured by the shepherd but also keeping our eye for those in need of help.
    The ever growing concern for the Church is good in that it shows both clergy and people care passionately about it. Only the Holy Spirit will guide it through to what we all hope is good wholesome and satisfying pasture.
    God does work in mysterious ways and people grow and understand differently. Much experience will have played a part in what the Seven are doing – they probably never envisaged being where they are now. Time may come when Fr. Kieren feels it is right for him to take a more public stand on some issue and he has to make his voice heard, or it may not. It is not something everyone has to do. Either way he has to stay true to his ministry and vocation.

  100. Dr Margaret Kennedy says:

    I support the priests who want to look at how the present catholic church operates in the UK. i am appalled at judgmental responses here. if you want to experience how the young people view the Pope you should have been at Westminster Abbey when the Pope came there. I was in my wheelchair close to the railing wanting to give a book of testimonies from clergy abuse victims to the pope. These rabid young people were high on adulation and verging on hysteria. They attacked me, cut me off from the railing and harangued me about the Pope’s apology: “what more do you want” they shouted and shouted. I was rescued by a friend and taken to the footpath where I had to be comforted and revived. I was bucketing in tears and shacking like a leaf. THESE were the ‘young Benedict acolytes’ . THAT is how the church is now shaping up! Is THAT what the traditionalists want. I see nothing in that about ‘following Christ’, nor do I see ‘following Benedict’ as the equivalent as ‘following Christ’. When does hysteria and adulation equate to Christianity?

  101. Fr Kieran, I have too much respect for you and all Priests to, in any way upset you. If you believe I did you a dissarvice,then I apologise. I have read again and again the statement issued by the Magnificant Seven, and their central point is DIALOGUE, DIALOGUE, DIALOGUE. Although you are a great fan of dialogue, you have made up your mind about these Priests and their conservative brothers wothout dialogue. Please make that phone call.
    Joe, at the ACP assembly in Dublin in May last, it was stated by a member of the ACP that the Papal Nuncio and members of the Hierarchy were invited to the gathering. They did not turn up. I have not seen anything on the ACP website that states that talks have taken place. If they have, then I am wrong, In that situation I will certainly correct my statement and apologise.
    Ann, You are right. I must “Steady On” and not get too excited. My exuberance must be down to the great summer we are having. I recently heard on radio that there are over 90 Theologians the world over, who have been silenced by Rome. It is I believe reasonable to assume, that at least some of these good men have been found guilty of misinterpreting scripture. I have enough to do in trying to keep body and soul together, then have the added worry of what Rome might think of me. No Ann, I will not be reading Ezekiel.
    Dr Margaret, your story is truly heartbreaking but not totally surprising.They still don’t get it. My greatest fear is that some of those fundamentalists, could form part of the Magisterium in Rome in the next 20 – 30 years.
    I have made my contribution and although it may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it is from the heart. Prior to the ACP meeting in Dublin, I and many others were hanging on to our faith by our fingertips. Beacuse of the ACP I at least, am now hanging on with both hands. When the Magnificant Seven made their statement I am sure that in their wildest dreams they did not think that they would have over 100 posts on this site. Most by their tone and content are supporting you. In your dark and lonely moments remember there are many, many people thinking of you, and THINK like you. Stay strong. Keep the Faith.

  102. Fr. Kieren says:

    Hi Ger,
    I take no offence nor am I upset, I just felt you misrepresented me. The Seven have not as yet created (to my knowledge) an official mandate, They are preparing an open meeting for the next couple of months. I will not be attending the meeting, for the following reasons, firstly I do not accept some of positions held by individual members of the group, secondly, I actually believe that it is more important to visit the sick etc … From my point of view the crisis in the Church is catechesis, but there seems instead to be a great waste of energy spent on the spirit of Vatican II, I still dont know what that means, the Seven seem to have adopted such a position.
    Although I join my concerns with yours regarding Margaret, I would be careful about using the term fundamentalist. It would seem to me that it would be easy for some to describe the ACP and the Seven as “fundamentalists” in the sense that they too have adopted a fundamental position.
    I think that today is a great time to be Catholic, it is amazing to pass on the faith to cultural Catholics who had no faith to keep, this is my priority.

  103. Des Gilroy says:

    Over one hundred blogs to date and a wide diversity of views. Is this not dialogue, despite the fact that this particular discussion illustrates that so many minds are closed to the views of others? Did John XXIII not call the Council because he wanted to promote dialogue in the universal church and to allow the views of the views of the “grassroots”, in the persons of the bishops, from all continents to have a hearing?
    The Church today badly needs dialogue and regrettably this is not being allowed by the Vatican which is clamping down on any viewpoint which does not accord with its agenda of totalitarian control. The Truth lies in the teachings of Christ. Those calling for dialogue do not dispute that Truth. What they want is a new look at the How – how that message should be proclaimed to the people. How should today’s church organise to maximise the resources, clerical and lay, to spread the gospel. Truth remains constant. People, livestyle, education, communications, the world and our understanding of it, have all changed. The church must recognise this and, without compromising Truth, communicate with people on this new level. That is what John XXIII and Vatican II recognised. Regrettably, the Roman Curia, which back then resisted any moves for reform , have now re-established control and has shown that it will take draconian measures to silence any dissenting voices. However, have faith! The Spirit moves in mysterious ways and with God everything is possible. He will certainly not abandon His church.
    ‘Is it Christ’s church or Our Church’ is a question that has arisen on this site. Is not the church the legacy that Christ left us and, therefore, is our church? In doing so, has He not placed on us an obligation to not only promote the church but also to protect it? And if that legacy is endangered, have we not an obligation to speak out ?
    Talking about legacies – what would Christ’s reaction be if in his Second Coming He were to descend on Rome? Seeing the pomp and ceremony, the rich garments, the palatial residences, the bureaucracy, the ambassadors, the Vatican state, would he commend them for their worldly success or would he, as with the moneylenders and the traders in the Temple, take his rod and drive them out? I invite readers to make their own minds up.
    Finally, even the critics of the ACP will surely have to acknowledge that that organisation has provided an invaluable forum for discussion in the church and provided a medium for dialogue. For that we must thank them.

  104. Fr Kieran, I think, like the ‘God’s church, Our church’ issue, we will agree to differ on the subject matter. However, we both fully agree on how great it is to be Catholic, as outlined in your last sentence. A short few years ago I had absolutly no interest in the Church. I did continue to attend Mass, principally to keep my wife and children happy. Now I am corresponding with you and many others on GODS’S CHURCH. God certainly moves in mysterous ways.
    Say a prayer at your next Mass for all contributors to this site. We are all trying to get to Heaven, but maybe we are on different paths.
    Keep the Faith.

  105. Seán Mac Nialluis says:

    This is a true story. Many, many years ago, in a distant land, a missionary sister attended a week-long residential course on behalf of her congregation. The event was not a retreat. Mid-way through the week she was approached by another participant, a much younger man, who asked her to hear his confession. She established that he was Catholic and reminded him that only priests could hear confession. The event was taking place in the city where she lived and worked so she could easily put him in touch with a priest. He explained that he had a particular story that had made confession difficult in the past. So she offered to put him in touch with a priest who had a special charism for this work. The young man refused. He had watched and listened to the sister during the previous days’ work and was convinced that only she could hear him. He knew the rules. She told him she couldn’t help him: the gift of confession was available through priests. She advised him to pray and trust in God and then go to confession at his own or another parish.
    He would not accept this and kept begging her before each day’s work started, at every break, and last thing in the evening. During this time, she had prayed for him. On the Thursday, he had begged her, in tears, to hear his confession. She was so shaken by this that she spent all of that night in silent prayer in her hotel room. When he came to her the following morning at breakfast and said: “this is the last time I will see you, please hear my confession”, she arranged to meet him later, after the course had finished.
    It was evening and the hotel garden was quiet. They found a quiet space. She told him again that she could not hear his confession. He begged her again, saying that he was convinced that she was the right person to hear his. She told him that they would both kneel down and simultaneously confess their sins aloud to God. And they did.

  106. Des, I also agree completely with what you have posted at 104 above — a wonderfully succinct summation of at least some aspects of the terrible state that we are in. However, I am becoming very weary waiting for the Spirit to help us.
    PS. I am posting this from a faraway place in which there is sunshine, warmth and no rain. I believe it is very wet in Ireland and Scotland.

  107. Ann Lardeur says:

    Re Sean’s story: for many years I regularly attended a theology summer school, and every year we had a Service of Reconciliation followed by opportunity of Sacramental Confession. A least a dozen years ago it was realised that some people might just want to talk to someone, not necessarily a priest, and be prayed with. Also not everyone at the summer school was catholic so Confession was not for them anyway. The first experimental one had two women in this role. Surprising I was asked to be one of them. First reaction was to refuse, but then after consideration took being asked as a sign I should accept, despite being considerably worried about fulfilling the role adequately.
    I walked round the extensive grounds before the service; there were some magnificent old cedar trees. The cones, which fly off when ready to disperse their seeds, are amazingly beautiful and I slipped a small one in my pocket.
    Not only was I nervous, I was also worried no-one would come near me. That would be a huge embarrassment too. The first person was a lady knew quite well as she was a regular attendee. As we finished praying I took the cone from my pocket and gave it to her as a reminder of our prayers.
    The experiment obviously fulfilled a need because people did chose this option; it was adopted as a regular practice to offer this facility every year. I was delighted the following year to be greeted by my friend with “I still have the cedar cone”.

  108. Jim McCrea says:

    I am very late to this discussion, but “obedience” vs “disobedience” (and all the baggage each term carries) seems to be a dominating theme.
    I value this comment from an Englishman whose name I am sure will be vilified be certain segments who are posting here:
    ‘There are two types of obedience: obedience in relation to power and obedience in relation to love. When understood in the first way, obedience means submission or surrender, the sacrifice of one’s own intellect and will. According to the second understanding, obedience does not mean submission, but response. Disobedience is the putting forward of opinions different from those commanded by authority. To do so might well be a duty, not a sin. ‘
    Charles Davis on why it was not enough to ignore the church, (US) National Catholic Reporter, February 7, 1992.

  109. Andrew Conroy says:

    What a good conversation!
    O that we could do this in our churches face-to-face.
    Still, I am not welcome to participate fully in my church’s activity without denying my informed conscience and vocation. You see, I am gay and have a partner. I cannot use my talents, whether lay or ordained, without compromising myself and denying all I hold to be true.
    I guess I will have to continue to feel left behind by most unthinking Catholics who cannot be seen to acknowledge the pain of my experience as a Catholic let alone to dare to accept me as a baptised member of Christ’s Body. I trust that God can and does.

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