For the Ordinariate – There’s Just No Escape.

‘Durex’ Has Links with Ordinariate Horror!

As members of the Ordinariate, we are MORTIFIED to discover Durex is advertising RC masses on its website for condoms. We devout Roman Catholics are not allowed to wear rubbers, especially during Divine Service. Yesterday, some of our former-Anglican brethren were ordained RC ministers by wicked Archbishop Vincent Nichols. This “revisionist” clergyman allows Masses for Poofs in a RC Church in Soho, London. This blasphemous service is shown on the Durex site, aimed at promiscuous homosexualists. The reason we joined the Ordinariate was to escape from women, sinners and homos. Pooftahs are allowed their own mass – in Vincent Nichols’ Diocese! As former-Anglicans, our role now is to purify the RC Church of all sin. Having escaped from lesbians and other women in the Church of England, we now discover the RC Church has them as well!. Our aim is to cause the same amount of trouble for the Pope as we did for ++Rowan Williams when we were members of his Sect. We have always been trouble-makers. And we’re not stopping now!

(From Anglican Mainstream / Bible-Believing Anglicans)

Band-Aid for a Grievously Wounded Church.

I have spent the afternoon celebrating my granddaughter’s first birthday, so have not yet had a chance to read in full the Papal “pastoral” letter to the Irish Church.  I did read a few press summaries before going out, and have reflected on their significance while riding the trains, but I do not want to get into a detailed response until I have read the full report. My initial reaction though, can best be conveyed by a few visual images:    a mother who responds to a  mildly injured child by kissing it better, or applying a band aid.  A less charitable image would show two raised fingers to the Irish Church.

A copy of Pope Benedict XVI's pastoral letter to Irish Catholics is displayed in St Peters Square, Vatican. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

When I returned this afternoon, I did get a chance to scan some headlines, which I now share with you unread. It does not  seem that Catholics elsewhere are any more enthusiastic about this letter than I am:

Pope’s letter to Irish Catholics disappoints child abuse survivors Read the rest of this entry »

Vatican Admission: We Need “Serious Housecleaning”.

Finally, the Vatican is starting to acknowledge that the problem of clerical sexual abuse needs wider attention than they have given it before. Just this past week, a Cardinal (Walter Kasper) has stated clearly that the church needs “serious house cleaning”, that the current German scandal must be investigated fully, and that Pope Benedict wants to see every single case come into the open. This is a stunning (and most welcome) turnaround from the decades – old policy, endorsed and enforced by Cardinal Ratzinger when still at the CDF, that required absolute secrecy and central reporting.

What I find encouraging in this, is that after years during which the Church first ignored all suggestions of a problem, then tried to shunt the blame on to gay priests and local problems of governance, over the past year there have been an increasing number of increasingly senior and reputable churchmen getting closer to the real issues: deal with the fundamental problems.

These extracts are from Catholic News Service:

Vatican supports German bishops’ probe into priestly sex abuse

The Vatican fully supports the efforts of German bishops to investigate claims of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, even if the cases are decades old, L’Osservatore Romano reported. Read the rest of this entry »

JPII Sainthood Cause Delayed: a New Miracle?*

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The Vatican and “Objective Disorder”: John McNeill

In John McNeill’s “Sex as God Intended”, the epilogue reflects on the “Vatican Instruction” barring openly gay men from seminary training.  This reflection is clearly directed at gay men and lesbians, but in fact covers much more ground, with important observations on the very meaning and understanding of God’s revelation,  and on the source of authority within the Church. As such, it is relevant to a wider audience as well, and just as the “Declaration” that I wrote about earlier in the week, it seems at least as relevant in the light of the current troubles over abuse, as when first published.  These are some edited extracts from that chapter,  with a light commentary to take you through it.

From the Epilogue to “Sex As God Intended”: Objective Disorder

Since his election as Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Ratzinger has carried the persecution of gays and lesbians to almost a hysterical level.  I would like to reflect here on one action in particular:  the implications of the Instruction forbidding the ordination of self-accepting gay men to the priesthood.

In that Instruction the Vatican has given a vicious collective slap in the face not only to gay priests and seminarians, but to every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered person on earth.  The Instruction, issued by  Pope Benedict XVI,  calls homosexual orientation an “objective disorder” and any sexual act that follows from that orientation is contrary to the divine will and profoundly sinful.  Any effort by a gay person to reach out for human sexual love, no matter what the circumstances, it judges as evil.   Scripture says that if anyone loves, they know God because God is love.  The Vatican says that if gay people enter into a human sexual love relation, they know evil and will separate themselves from the love of God.

It is common knowledge that the primary yet unstated reason for the publication of this Instruction is the priest/child abuse scandal that has seriously and probably permanently damaged the Catholic Church’s moral authority. This document has little to do with God or even morality.  This is a political document issued in self-defence by the human and sinful hierarchy of the institutional church. The hierarchy, rather than accept their responsibility, for this crisis, decided to scapegoat gay priests and seminarians

A more probable explanation for the abuse, according to the majority of psychologists is the high number of priests who were immature, insecure about their tendencies and full of doubt and guilt.  Any homosexual who achieves a healthy self-acceptance and has a positive attitude towards his sexual orientation is precisely the one this Instruction excludes, whereas those gay men who are struggling with immaturity and self-rejection acceptable candidates for seminary. Rather than setting up a cure of the child abuse crisis, this Instruction guarantees that the crisis will continue.  What is bad psychology is bad theology.

A consequence of this Instruction will be a further decline of the moral authority of the hierarchy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vatican Statement on Uganda

By way of a post at Box Turtle Bulletin, which (unlike many other general LGBT sites)  regularly has sound comment on religion, I learn that the Vatican has finally released a statement on Uganda:

Statement of the Holy See

Mr. Moderator,

Thank you for convening this panel discussion and for providing the opportunity to hear some very serious concerns raised this afternoon. My comments are more in the form of a statement rather than a question.

As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.

As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See’s position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

For some excellent commentary on the statement, go to Box Turtle Bulletin

Articulating the “Sensus Fidelium”: a German Example

This interesting e-mail landed arrived in my mailbox overnight, from “Wir sind Kirche” (We Are Church, Germany) .  The lifting of the excommunication is back in the news, with reports that Benedict XVI was warned in advance about the holocaust denying views of Bishop Williamson, before  he went ahead.

However, the main feature that interests me is just the technique.  I have an impression that in the church we are allowing the neocath right wing to hog the limelight of public visibility, with public outcries and organised appeals to the hierarchy, while representing only a small minority of Catholics. This is odd, as progressives have never been slouches at political organising in the secular sphere, in the US or elsewhere.  Why, then, are we content in the church to settle for simply addressing fellow progressives in blogs or journals like NCR?  Is there any reason why we should not be able to organise more effectively to address the hierarchy directly?

The church has an accepted, but neglected, obligation to pay attention to the views of the people, the sensus fidelium. They not created a vehicle to formulate such a voice.  Where formal structures do not exist, we must create our own.

And now, the e-mail received – English translation by  Google  (edited by myself where I could untangle it).

If you want to support this appeal by a personal letter or an email to the German Bishops’ Conference and / or individual bishops:
The information (email addresses), the BTB and the German bishops can be found here: # addr

We are the Church’s appeal to the bishops’ conference: “Hold the course of the council!”
to the Fall General Assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference 21 to 24 September 2009 in Fulda
Read the rest of this entry »

Give me Back That Old Time Religion


Gary Macy, a historical theologian, has an article at National Catholic Reporter prompted by the Vatican “Visitation” to US women religious. Macy reminds us in this article that this very concept would have been unthinkable until fairly recently in church history.  Quoting just one example, he notes that

“The abbess (of Las Huelgas near Burgos in Spain) had the power to appoint parish priests for the countryside subject to the convent of Las Huelgas, some 64 villages. No bishop or delegate from the Holy See could perform a visitation of the churches or altars or curates or clerics or benefices under the care of the abbess. The abbess of Las Huelgas was even able to convene synods in her diocese and to make synodal constitutions and laws for both her religious and lay subjects.”

Trappings of the modern church?

Read the rest of this entry »

Church, Power & Abuse

Depressing church news over the past two months has led me to pick up and start reading a book which has been on my shelves some time, but which I have previously only dipped into.  The removal of  excommunication of SPXX  members has received wide and ongoing publicity; clerical sexual abuse is again in the news with the FBI reopening old investigations in LA Diocese, and fresh revelations over   Fr Marcial Maarciel Delgado of the Legionnaires of Christ.  Meanwhile, on the progressive wing of the church, there has been less coverage in the MSM of the silencing or excommunication of the priests  Fr Roger Haight,  Geoffrey Farrow and Roy  Bourgeois, or of bizarre goings-on in the parishes of St Mary’s, Brisbane and St Stephen’s, Minneapolis, where attempts to muzzle complete parishes have led to resistance (St Mary’s) or exodus (St Stephen’s).

What all these have in common is that they are concerned with power in the church – its extension, its abuse, or attempts to defy or resist it.  so I picked up again  “Confronting Power & Sex in the Catholic Church”, by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.  I am pleased that I did.  Published in 2007, this book Read the rest of this entry »

Holy Spirit at Work? – James Alison*

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