Launched last evening: “The Curia is the Pope” – Zoom book launch Wed 6th Jan @ 7.00pm
“THE CURIA IS THE POPE” is a new book that uncovers a little history, theology, and sociology, and justifies the impatience of the faithful with the self-serving bureaucracy that manages the pope and controls access to him. The curia outlasts him and rules the bishops, and is now the de facto, and inept, government of the church.
As an ungoverned bureaucracy, its preoccupation with its own power and control favours law over love, and enforcement of regulations in contrast with Christ who never imposes his way but leaves us free and thus able to choose to love.
The power of the curia is now the weakness of the church.
It should be dismantled and part reconstituted, subject to a Governing Body of Bishops including the Pope—as envisaged by Vatican II.
The book shows that, despite the dogmas of 1870, this can be done and, further, that demand for reform in the management is grounded in fidelity to Christ, to his gospel and his church. If you have any doubts as to where you should stand on issues of Church reform or Christian unity, read this book.
The Curia is the Pope” Paperback, 245 x 175 mm, 316 pp. €25, plus p&p. Published by Mount Salus Press, Delgany, A63TD74, Co Wicklow, Ireland.
For more information go to https://www.mountsaluspress.com/ where you can buy in paperback or download for screen reading. Also available from Amazon, in Paperback or in Kindle format.
By Micheal O’Siadhail
6th January 2021 @7 pm
Register below with Eventbrite
An alarming analysis of the Curia in the launch of “The Curia is the Pope” last night. I put out some of the comments heard during the launch (I don’t have the text and am operating out of some notes taken and am not fully word accurate).
Curia out of touch with 1.3 billion catholics.
Curia operate out of shoddy scholarship.
Secrecy is a Curial virtue.
Systemic failure to listen to the sensus fidelium.
Curia think they have access to all the truth.
We need to move out of the paradigm that invests in infallibility.
Curia can’t be reformed by PF or Bishops -people will have to rise up.
The Curia are like King Herod as depicted in the Magi Narrative – continually in defence of their status and power. They operate by subtle deception -very devious.
Why the Curia can’t tell the truth? They do not operate out of the Gospel of Jesus.
The Curia worships ‘celibacy’. There will be no women deacons or women priesthood or married priesthood under the Curia.
If the Bishops support PF they are in trouble with the Curia as the Curia outlast Popes. When PF goes they will find many ways to trouble Bishops that support Francis. (A bit like Republicans afraid to speak out against Trump.)
The whole Curia system needs to be broken up and completely replaced.
The following is my own commentary –
In my first Dublin parish (1980) I heard the Senior Priest there, Fr. Dan Breen repeat from time to time that there are three evils in the world, the Pentagon, the Kremlin and the the Vatican. (Dan if he were alive would add China)
What I heard last night confirms that the Curia are worse than the Pentagon, the Kremlin and China as the Curia are more subtle and have been in power for many centuries without ever losing power. We have a Church in need of gigantic reform. Unless the people rise up, it can’t be done.
I was one of the speakers at the launch of John O’Loughlin Kennedy’s book last night. This is what I said:
THE CURIA IS THE POPE
Because of the timing of the launch of this book, I have been reading THE CURIA IS THE POPE while surrounded by nativity scenes on Christmas cards and in our cribs. As I gazed upon Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus, and contemplated Mary’s birthing of her son, an idea planted itself in my mind, which I could not dislodge: Imagine if Mary of Nazareth had known as she laboured to give birth that it would eventually give rise to a whole Roman Curia, a great big, clerical bureaucracy? For the past few weeks, I have been hosting both the Nativity and the Roman Curia in my mind, and it has been a very strange cohabitation.
The full title of the book is THE CURIA IS THE POPE AND WHY IT CANNOT LISTEN…
I was struck by this part of the title: “It cannot listen….”
If the Curia cannot listen, then it is truly impotent, unable to give life, in contrast with Mary who conceived the Word through listening.
When John O’Loughlin Kennedy asked me to contribute to the launch, I objected that I was the wrong person, as the Roman Curia and I have nothing in common. The Curia is at the centre of institutional power and I am on the outer peripheries. The limited experience I have had with curia members has been extremely painful. The last time I was in Rome, 20 years ago, I came back suffering from an acute case of Vaticanitis…
However, on being told that all I had to do was comment on chapter 12, on the Priestly ordination of women, I agreed…But I did read the whole book, all 300 pages, and I do agree with Robert Mickens of La Croix International that it is a tour de force. Certainly, a labour of love …even if the Roman Curia is unlikely to agree!
One of the causes for the curia’s inability to listen is the infallibility or rather pseudo infallibility with which it cloaks itself as part of the papacy. O’Loughlin Kennedy writes that “‘the current teaching on the issue of women’s ordination as set out in the apostolic letter of John Paul the Second, Ordinatio Sacerdatolis, in 1994 is probably the most clearly documented example of pseudo infallibility to date.’ (p144). It is also an example of remarkably weak scholarship.
It seems however to be shaping up as a possible example of how the sensus fidelium can discern prejudice and error and reject both, although that is a process that normally takes a long time.”
With wonderful synchronicity the president of the German Episcopal conference, bishop Georg Bätzing has recently declared that he found it increasingly difficult to justify the ban on ordaining women deacons and priests. “I am aware that the arguments again women’s ordination are becoming less and less convincing and that there are well developed arguments in theology in favour of opening up the sacramental ministry to women as well.”
One could reasonably claim that these arguments were NEVER convincing. They certainly never were with many of us, including O’Loughlin Kennedy.
In this chapter he has done an excellent work in exposing in detail the weak arguments of the apostolic letter, the shoddy scholarship and yes, the deliberately misleading assertions.
He also makes clear the extraordinary brazen bullying process which went on to force through this clearly deficient teaching. It is worth recounting, because again it exemplifies how the Curia has been usurping power for decades, as the book shows: “The Presidents of all the Bishops conferences of the world were summoned to Rome early in 1994 without being told the reason. There, they were presented with the Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdatolis, ready for publication. It contained a statement to the effect that it had been prepared ‘having heard the views of the bishops’, which was untrue…. The bishops had not been consulted or even informed that a review of the issue had been undertaken …. The presidents of the bishops’ conferences refused to approve it on behalf of their bishops…” In any case they did not have the authority to do so.
…the letter also included the term ‘irreformable’ which in Rome-speak implies infallibility.
The Curia then promised to make 2 deletions from the letter:
1 the mendacious phrase about hearing the views of the bishops of the world,
2 the word ‘irreformable’ with its implication of infallibility.
However, a year later the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration that the doctrine was infallible. O’Loughlin Kennedy writes:
“Not one bishop demurred …The loyalty oath held. Only a retired bishop felt justified in telling what happened, and that more than ten years later.”
That bishop was Geoffrey Robinson, auxiliary in Sydney diocese, Australia, in his book “Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic church”. Bishop Robinson, who died 2 months ago, was subsequently persona non grata in many dioceses of the world. Secrecy is the curial virtue and whistle-blowers are traitors. The curia uses the loyalty oath to effectively muzzle bishops and clergy.
Reading this passage in THE CURIA IS THE POPE brought me back to my meeting in Armagh in March 1994 with Cardinal Daly, head of the Irish church. Near the end of a difficult 2 hour discussion, he asked me a strange question: “What will you do if the pope defines infallibly that women cannot be ordained?” This to me seemed to come completely out of the blue and was purely hypothetical.
I dismissed it from my mind until 2 months later when Ordinatio Sacerdatolis was promulgated in May 1994. I realised then that Cardinal Daly knew that this bombshell was coming. As O’Loughlin Kennedy writes, a classic case of ‘pseudo infallibility’, which has had to be enforced ever since through coercion, threats and silencing. Tony Flannery knows all about it , as did Eamonn Mc Carthy a priest of Dublin diocese, and the late theologian Seán Fagan, among many others.
The Roman Curia couldn’t listen to the bishops…how could it have listened to the baptised church members …and especially to the women who were directly concerned by this teaching?
Throughout the book we are given examples of this systemic failure to listen to the Sensus fidelium, and therefore to the Holy Spirit, with all the damaging consequences for the credibility and mission of the church in faithfulness to Christ.
As I finished the book, I reflected that the title could equally have been the CURIA IS THE POPE AND WHY IT CANNOT TELL THE TRUTH.
Examples abound of misleading statements, half truths, and plain lies. I was shocked when in Rome in 2001 I heard Cardinal Schotte, Secretary General of the synod of bishops, make a statement about a petition at a press conference which I knew was a lie. I remember thinking, if they lie about this, what about all the other matters?…And indeed as this book and the experience of covering up the clerical sexual crimes against children have shown, truthfulness is not a curial virtue.
Today is the feast of the Epiphany. What did the Magi find? Divine Love whose power was manifest in tender vulnerability. Is it too far fetched to say that the Roman Curia has had more in common with the court of King Herod in its corruption and worship of power, its fear of being dethroned, than with Mary and her Son, her flesh and blood, Emmanuel – God with us – Our flesh and blood?
The radical reform of the Curia and the church cannot be left to Pope Francis alone, nor to the bishops. It is the responsibility of the whole priestly people of God under the impulse of the Holy Spirit to remove the stranglehold the curia has on the body of Christ. THE CURIA IS THE POPE is an important contribution to this work and I am grateful to John O’Loughlin Kennedy for his labours.