My Vatican Dossier, and Papal Backing for the Soho Masses

It’s official. I now have confirmation that somewhere in the depths of the Vatican, someone (indeed, more than one) has a dossier on me. More accurately, the dossier is on the nefarious doings of the Soho Masses, in which I am infamously involved, and the “homosexualist bloggers” (c’est moi!) that it includes and shelters. These dossiers (there seem to be multiple copies of one original) were not put together by a curial official, but by the interfering busybodies who ludicrously believe that in their determination to prevent a few hundred Catholic men and women from attending a Mass of their choosing, a Mass which has the formal approval of the Westminster diocese, and was initiated by the diocese with the full knowledge and co-operation of the Vatican at the highest levels, they are somehow acting “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (PEEP!)

It would be funny, if it were not in fact so sad.

…….two of us decided to go to Rome in October to discuss just these two points and the future appointment of sound bishops in this country. As usual we took dossiers with us illustrating the present position on the SOHO Masses and the officially approved religious instruction in most schools and parishes. We were kindly received in every Curia Office we visited and we went through our dossiers with the officials we met, leaving a set behind for their further study.

SOHO Masses. This dossier contained News Letters from the Church of Our Lady and St Gregory, Warwick Street, which showed encouragement to walk in the GAY PRIDE MARCH carrying banners proclaiming “Proud to be Catholic, Proud to be Gay”; promotion of books, talks and films by advocates of the homosexual lifestyle; the spread of these Masses as they are not being stopped; the recruitment of young Catholics to join them etc. We also included addresses of web-sites run by regular members of this congregation stating their hostility to Church teaching and their programme to spread this practice quite explicitly, with names of priests and bishops who facilitate all this. ……

(from the PEEP Newsletter, February 2011)

Read the rest of this entry »

Reclaiming Our Consciences

At NCR Online, Joan Chittister has a thoughtful reflection on the Irish Bishops’ Vatican visit – from a perspective inside Ireland.  After noting that there are fundamental differences between the responses of people in Ireland and America, where the response was  that “people picketed churches, signed petitions, demonstrated outside chanceries, and formed protest groups”, in Ireland the response appeared much more low-key – but in fact was deep, and may well be far more significant for the future of the Church, over the longer term.

In Ireland the gulf got wider and deeper by the day. It felt like the massive turning of a silent back against the bell towers and statues and holy water fonts behind it. No major public protests occurred. “Not at all,” as they are fond of saying. But the situation moved at the upper echelon of the country relatively quietly but like a glacier. Slowly but inexorably.

A country which, until recently, checked its constitution against “the teachings of the church” and had, therefore, allowed no contraceptives to be sold within its boundaries, unleashed its entire legal and political system against the storm.

They broke a hundred years of silence about the abuse of unwed mothers in the so-called “Magdalene Launderies.” They investigated the treatment of orphaned or homeless children in the “industrial schools” of the country where physical abuse had long been common. The government itself took public responsibility for having failed to monitor these state-owned but church-run programs. And they assessed compensatory damages, the results of which are still under review in the national parliament.

Read the rest of this entry »

Support New Ways Ministry: Be a Fan at Face book

New Ways Ministry began when a young man asked Sr Jeannine Gramick “What is the Church doing for my gay brothers and sisters? What are you doing, sister?”  Sr Grammick thought, and did something.  New Ways continues to “do something”.  We could well ask Cardinal George, so many years later:

“What is the Church doing for my gay brothers and sisters? What are you doing, Cardinal George?”

And you: what are you doing, for our gay brothers and sisters in church, and for New Ways Ministry ?

Sr Jeannine at St Peter's, Rome

Show your support. Join the Face book group, visit the News Ways Website and show support there. Write your bishops.

From Facebook  “We Support New Ways Ministry:”

New Ways Ministry is a gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics and reconciliation within the larger Christian and civil communities.

Through research, publication and education about homosexuality, New Ways Ministry fosters dialogue among groups and individuals, identify and combat personal and structural homophobia, work for changes in attitudes and promote the acceptance of gay and lesbian people as full and equal members of church and society.

<<< ACTION ALERT >>>

New Ways Ministry is at a critical point in its 33-year history. As you may have heard, Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement on February 5, 2010, saying that New Ways Ministry does not provide “an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching.” Naturally, we disagree. Read our response to the right of this column. We are undaunted by this charge, and we plan to continue our ministry as we have been doing—as long as we have your continued support!

One way to show your support at this point is to respond to Cardinal George’s decision by writing him a letter or sending him an email. It is imperative that Cardinal George hear from Catholics who support New Ways Ministry’s mission and programs. Would you do us the favor of taking a minute or so to send him some correspondence? Speak from your heart and from your experience. Let him know what role New Ways Ministry’s projects have played in your life. Speak honestly but respectfully. We ask that you write to Cardinal George at one of these addresses:

Cardinal Francis George, OMI
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Cardinal Francis George, OMI
Archdiocese of Chicago
PO Box 1979
Chicago, Illinois 60690
Email: archbishop@archchicago.org

Reaffirming Vatican II: We are the Shepherds

After writing earlier this week about Bishop Robinson’s book (” Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church “) on power and abuse in the church, with its reflections on the attempts at Vatican II to re-balance the power structures, I was interested to find in quick succession two items which between them shed some light on the problem.  And the answer, I suspect, lies not with ‘them’, but with  ‘us’.

First,the more seemingly frivolous item:  a report in New Catholic Times (sensus fidelium) on a novel, “Waiting for Mozart”, by Chuck Pilon, set in a Catholic parish 25 years after the conclusion of Vatican II. “Less than and somewhat more than” a review,  it is John Quinn’s reflections that I found particularly insightful.  Let me quote from  Quinn’s review /reflection:

***

“In Chapter 2 of Waiting for Mozart, Fr. Joe Burns is described thus:

A  fine priest…Ordained before Vatican II but known for aggressive application of its directives.

In those couple of sentences we have the story of Waiting for Mozart captured.

Ordained before Vatican II“, so socialized by a Catholic world-view radically different from that articulated by the council.

Joe was “known for aggressive application of its directives.” His was the responsibility of ‘applying” the directives of the council. This he would do “aggressively.

And it was “directives“, that is something given him to implement, to put into operation.

***

Quinn goes on to describe an incident from his own parish experience, in which parish priests would not ‘allow’ development & peace groups (a diocesan initiative). This led to a follow up where his own PP prevented him setting up a children’s liturgy for the parish – so he went elsewhere, and set up a children’s liturgy in a parish 25 minutes away.

Read the rest of this entry »