Friday, 27 March 2015

The Priests' letter and the Cardinal revisited

Thinking further about the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster's response to the letter signed (in support of marriage and the family) by around 490 priests, I believe I understand the Cardinal's concern. Pope Francis is emphasising mercy, and rightly so. I think this has unsettled many in the Church because they don't understand what this means in practice - some believe that doctrines are going to be changed. I don't believe this, and never have. There is, to be sure, a balance needed here; we must uphold and teach the Truth, positively and confidently (which means not apologising for it) and we must also show compassion towards those who find themselves in situations which prevent them from receiving Holy Communion as well as those who are struggling through painful difficulties in their relationships at this time. In this I see no real difference between the approach of Pope Francis and that of Pope St. John Paul II (except the difference of personal style).

Against this background I think I can understand the Cardinal's dismay at that letter. I believe the Cardinal is a very caring and sincere man. I have met him on two occasions, once when he was a young priest, many years ago, when I was greatly impressed by him, and once when he was visiting a conference for exorcists as Archbishop of Westminster. I was equally impressed then. I believe he is concerned about many people who are suffering and would like to present the face of a caring, compassionate Church. This, I believe, is why he reacted as he did to that letter.

I am not at odds with either the Cardinal or my own bishop, but I do believe I was right to sign that letter. The Pope asked for a frank exchange of views, and we should not be afraid of expressing them. Those who know me will not need any assurance that I wish to show compassion and mercy to those in difficult situations with regard to the Church. Reading the statement in that letter again, I have to say that another sentence expressing our compassion might have helped, but we also have to be confident that speaking the truth is NOT against compassion or mercy, in fact to be truly merciful, truth is required, spoken in love for sure, but still spoken, and spoken clearly. For me there is no conflict between truth and mercy. If there are problems here at all, they have to do with our own human weakness and the question of how we put the message across. This is where personal "style" comes in, and this is where Pope Francis is, in my opinion, leading the way. I cannot say I am entirely happy with every apparent sound-bite that seems to come from the Holy Father, but I agree wholeheartedly with his emphasis on mercy. We need prayer, calmness and a sense of balance.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A Sad Response from the Cardinal's office (to a letter signed by over 490 priests)

I was distressed to see the response from Westminster (The Cardinal's Office) to the letter signed by over 490 priests - of which I am one (and the first in the list, alphabetically speaking). I had no intention of causing offence of any kind to any bishop - least of all my own, I am offended at what I consider to be a needless "slap". it is my understanding that the Holy Father was asking for a frank exchange of views, but it seems that in order to do this priests must first check with their bishop. Somehow, I don't believe this is what the Pope had envisaged. I'm sorry, but this response (from the Cardinal) smacks of annoyance or embarrassment where, certainly in my case, neither was intended.

When I think of the often heterodox views I have seen coming from other priests, in publications as well as in press letters, without any form of rebuke from the hierarchy, I have to be amazed that a statement that is actually official Church teaching should draw this kind of response from the Cardinal.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Backing away-somewhat-from self-styled "Traditionalists"

The post below, showing the difficulty of telling the truth in the Church (that is the truth told by Fr. Angelo of the Friars of The Immaculate) and the refusal of some to accept the truth (because they believe so strongly in their own myths) points to a worsening crisis in the Catholic world. It is not a new crisis; it was already there but has now become more visible since the election of Pope Francis. One of the phrases that springs to mind is from the play "I. Claudius" - "Let all the poisons that are lurking in the mud hatch out". Perhaps Pope Francis has disturbed the "water" and the mud is rising to the surface. This is for the good of the Church. Many so-called "Traditionalists" are now seen in their true colours.

Because I am often regarded as a "Traditionalist" and because I support the Pope 100%, I am more conscious of the need to distance myself from some people, some blogs and some web sites. I am, in fact, not a "Traditionalist" but a Catholic and, I hope, an orthodox one. I celebrate the 1962 Latin Mass twice a month, but I f I really thought that by doing that I was going to be forever linked with what I now regard as a "lunatic fringe" (sadly not so much a fringe), I would stop. The Liturgy is not a political tool and should not be the cause of,  or be even connected to, bitterness, injustice, lies, insults and rash judgement. Those who surround the Liturgy with these things are, in my opinion, heading downwards.

Are Catholic Blogs supposed to be honest or what?

The Friars of The Immaculate and "Rorate Coeli" (Again!):

Sunday, 4 January 2015

One of the New Cardinals and "True Life in God"

 Archbishop Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel, CM Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa is one of the new cardinals.
This is what he says about True Life in God:
“This book of messages is a great gift that God has given humanity. It contains the Divine Dialogue of the Holy Trinity, Our Lady and the Angels with Vassula Ryden (…) There is nothing in this book contrary to the Church’s authentic teaching on faith and morals. I recommend this book to everyone.”

Monday, 20 October 2014

Brilliant Interview with Cardinal Burke

In this interview with Raymond Arroyo Cardinal Burke explains why Cardinal Kasper's approach to the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics is deeply flawed. he also defends the Catholic approach to annulment (and makes the point that there can be no true mercy without respect for truth);