The Church and the rule of law

With Quentin’s blessing, John Candido writes: –

According to journalist Peter Stanford, writing in ‘The Independent, Jack Mahoney could be headed for controversy and an appointment with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).  Mahoney has previously been in trouble with the Vatican with a book he published in 1984 called, ‘Bioethics and Belief: Religion and Medicine in Dialogue’.  In this title he examined the ethics of abortion and the question of ensoulment, or when does a foetus acquire a soul, among other issues.

If Professor Jack Mahoney SJ is brought before the CDF, for his recent book called, ‘Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration’, will the Congregation operate as if the modern world had passed it by?  Will the CDF replicate past examples of its treatment of academics and operate without contemporary standards of legal due process?  If the treatment of the recently sacked Bishop of Toowoomba in Australia is anything to go by, then Jack Mahoney could be headed towards interesting times.

In a recent article in ‘The Age’ newspaper in Australia  it has been estimated by two authoritative sources that Bishop William Morris (who was removed from office five years after he wrote a pastoral letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if Church rules changed to allow such a possibility),

‘…was denied procedural fairness and natural justice, and that his treatment was ”offensive” to the requirements of both civil and canon (church) law’,

The above quote is attributed to Queensland Supreme Court judge The Hon. W. J. Carter.  The other critic of the Morris case is leading Australian canon lawyer, Father Ian Waters from Melbourne.  Procedural fairness is a natural part of due process in law, and the goal of such guidelines is to ensure justice and fairness for anyone who is accused of an offence under law, state or ecclesiastical law.  These guidelines are terribly important as a safeguard to anyone’s human rights.

According to Father Ian Waters,

“Pope Benedict breached canon law and exceeded his authority in removing Bishop Morris without finding him guilty of apostasy, heresy, or schism, and without following the judicial procedures canon law requires”.

Can a sophisticated society such as ours tolerate any organisation which operates without recourse to fairness and justice?  Or can we, or must we, reluctantly or otherwise, make an exception for religious entities?

(Quentin  adds the following from The Tablet’s Vatican Correspondent, Robert Mickens.  Mickens writes in the same context: “Quite simply, the crisis is this: the structures of the Catholic Church are no longer adequate for life in the modern world or responsive to the developments of the Church’s own ecclesiology and self-understanding. “ 25 Feb 2012.)

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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337 Responses to The Church and the rule of law

  1. Peter D. Wilson says:

    Of course the institutional Church ought to operate with justice and fairness, but I don’t see this as an issue of structures. We are all too familiar with states having possibly admirable constitutions that are simply ignored by those in power whenever it suits them. The real question is whether, if this happens within the Church, we can do anything effective about it, and it appears that we can’t. So what do we do? Abandon it? That would be cutting of the nose to spite the face. Has anyone constructive suggestions to offer?

  2. claret says:

    I am of the opinion that the Church as it exits is just too unweildly to be effectively governed or managed. To some extent this is unavoidable with an institution that is worldwide and supposedly ‘in the world but not of it’ and has little grasp of todays limitations upon it.
    One has only to look at how, despite all the child abuse scandals, it still gives its Bishops an almost free reign in decision making which has , even today, resulted in vast tracts of the Catholic hierarchy being allowed to set their own child protection procedures at their own pace and without sanction if they don’t comply.
    The times when the Church was almost universally revered for its longevity and discipline have long since been overtaken by events which have put the Church in the dock , under the microscope, and found it wanting. Sympathy among governments and the judiciary is in short supply. We have yet to see the implications of the judicial decision in the UK of the position of priests now being employees and Bishops being answerable , in law, for any misconduct as it impacts on the employee/ employer relationship.
    The solution is nothing less than a complete overhaul of how the Church rules, governs and the nature of its structures. This entails some kind of lay, parallel and governing body that in the final analysis has the decisive word.

    • Peter D. Wilson says:

      Claret – I accept the points that you make, but your suggestion in the final sentence – doesn’t it just move the problem sideways? Given the chance, lay people can be quite as capable of dictatorial or incompetent conduct as the clergy.

      • Peter, I agree with you that lay structures are capable of incompetence and bias. However I’ve been a Deacon for 12 years and the most heartbreaking part of my ministry is witnessing the appalling way in which church structures operate. I have see priests having nervous breakdowns, descending into alcoholism, having affairs with women and men, dying of cancer or degenerative disorders and the hierarchy stand by and only offer pious platitudes. My diocese is now parachuting priests from African and Indian religious congregations into parishes in South London and Kent with no concern for the character and needs of the parish communities or forming the priests to understand the communities they are being asked to serve.
        I honestly believe that nothing could be worse than the current organisation of the Catholic Church so I’d say bring on almost any new structure – it would have to be an improvement.

    • John Candido says:

      Very courageous of you to say so Claret! You have hit the nail on the head!

  3. st.joseph says:

    By their fruits we shall know them!
    I wonder how Fr Jack Mahoney’s Biotethics and Belief, had to do with the thinking on abortion and abortifacients etc;

    I was pleased that my youngest grandson who is 8, and having his RI for his First Holy Communion,when I asked him today what he is learning, when he told me ‘Creation and Adam and Eve.
    Then he is being taught by a young holy priest, who knows what his faith taught him.He must have thought it important to begin from the very beginning.
    We live in Hope.

    • Peter D. Wilson says:

      st.joseph – It would be interesting to know how your grandson was taught the story of Adam and Eve. If either Genesis 1 or Genesis 2 has been presented as fact – they can’t both be since they’re mutually contradictory – there’s a particularly serious risk of his being lost to the faith when he eventually recognises the incompatibility between either version and the actual evidence.

      • st.joseph says:

        Peter.
        His elder brothers 18 & 21 grandsons haven’t lost their faith yet-by the teaching of Creation, in fact nor have I.
        I would like to think that he will have a clear understanding like we all ought to.
        It did not prevent my eldest grandson from studying Criminology and Forensic Science at U ni.
        Maybe it is not that important to them to think about, like some who seem to bother with it, as if it is going to change our life,
        It is a great shame that we dont find more important things to think about in our lifetime ,we only get one shot at it, so we should make the most of pleasing the Lord in other ways ,as if it is going to save unborn children Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned,etc etc..
        Teach the important Truths of our faith etc etc.Thats what is important -not evolution.
        Getting our priorities right.
        Unless you become like little children…

      • st.joseph says:

        P.S.
        What evidence are you meaning Peter?

      • Peter, I just want to comment on the raising of children. When children ask where babies come from we give them different answers at different ages and they don’t grow up to feel that they’ve been lied to.
        Similarly, the majority of Christians can feel comfortable in their faith without ever feeling the need to reconcile Genesis with evolutionary history. If we believe scripture to be the inspired word of God then we have to accept its truths are adequate to the task of explaining our salvation in Christ.
        Thus, despite being a scientist, I find Jack Mahoney’s ideas too radical and destructive of the very basis of salvation history.
        A final, silly, anecdote. Mt mother was told that storks leave babies under cabbages. At 11 years of age and upon the birth of her 6th sibling she said to her father, why does the stork leave the baby under our cabbages, the farmer down the road has a whole field of them?!

      • Peter Nyikos says:

        Mr. Wilson: The Catholic Church was never fully endorsing of Biblical literalism. St. Augustine even ridiculed the literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 and even of the Noahide flood.

        With his statement that “evolution is more than just a hypothesis,” Pope John Paul II even endorsed the orthodox theory that God let the human body evolve, and Adam and Eve (or even a group of humans symbolized by those names) were given human souls, and thus the human race came to be created.

  4. st.joseph says:

    John Candido.
    Why are you not consistent in your thinking.
    You seem to be very quick to critize the Holy Father in his failure to show authority on child abuse, then when he does use his authority, critizize him for using it,
    Make your mind up!
    I think you just want to critize the Church in any direction,
    Have you got anything good to say about the Body of Christ,have you not changed your opinion yet since your last comments on Candid Candio, which I have just been looking back on!

  5. st.joseph says:

    Peter
    Feel excused.

  6. John Nolan says:

    The Church fought for centuries to be free of lay interference and control, and yet Claret would like the Vicar of Christ to be subject to some lay, parallel (whatever that means – parallel structures of government are normally associated with one-party dictatorships such as Soviet Russia and Fascist Italy) authority. Paul Milligan as a deacon is in Holy Orders and is is subject to Church discipline. It is a tradition in the armed forces that serving offcers do not publicly criticize their superiors, or even the politicians who have overall responsibility; the same should apply mutatis mutandis to the Church.

    • John, I’d be interested to hear which bit of history covers the church fighting to be free of lay interference. On your latter point the discipline of the church covers dogma, not administration SS Francis of Assisi, Catherine etc all changed the mind of the Pope by persistence.

  7. mike Horsnall says:

    ‘The solution is nothing less than a complete overhaul of how the Church rules, governs and the nature of its structures. This entails some kind of lay, parallel and governing body that in the final analysis has the decisive word.’

    I think I agree with John Nolans view here.

    One in six persons who walk the earth is a catholic and because of her nature and concern with what is spoken in her name there will inevitably arise difficulties in the church even given the best will in the world -which human beings do not possess all of the time. It baffles me as to why we think that adding echelons or changing this or that will help especially or that banging away on here about it is especially novel or constructive. Perhaps its my age but mainly now when I hear -or see in print the idea that “any structure must be better than the one we’ve got ” I tend to shake my head in disbelief. Experience on Diocesan synods etc in the Anglican church taught me that the more lay involvement there is the more factionalism and self interest there is. The same seems true of the independent churches who seem incapable of settling their differences other than by splitting their churches- usually over personality differences or egocentric wranglings.

    As far as I understand from following the story and listening to him speak-Bishop Morris fell quite happily on to his own sword, was free to do so and will now probably do something else. Fr Mahoney’s view is neither novel nor particularly interesting but he seems to have made it with vigour and as an academic knowing fully the consequence. If we took his view logically to its endpoint then the process of evolution doesnt actually need a christ at all…so why do we expect the church to react with great joy to his tidings?It is quite likely I should think that he will be at some stage approached by men in suits whispering in his earand that he will be fully expecting their call.

    They do say that the man who can keep his head while all around are losing theirs… is simply ignorant of the problem so perhaps I am about to be enlightened but I will say that my personal experience of the Catholic church: retreat houses, orders, Catechesis training, diaconate etc has so far spoken to me mainly of healthy diversity preserved under a kind of not overly specific blanket agreement-I like it.

    Unfortunately I have no idea what mutatis mutandis means or I could agree with that too!!

  8. Geordie says:

    The comments so far don’t seem to address the issue. They are all either criticising or defending the Vatican and the Pope. The real issue is one of Justice and Justice should be seen to be done. It is irrelevant whether a person falls on his sword voluntarily and with joy or whether he goes kicking and screaming into oblivion. Has the Vatican handled each case with Justice and transparency? The answer is clearly ‘no’. This brings the Church into disrepute and it is a stumbling block for men and women of good will who are seeking Christ. This is why it is a serious problem.
    As someone has already said, we don’t need new structures; we need those in authority to be humble and JUST.

    • milliganp says:

      The challenge is that the church is made up of real people who have human failings. In the secular world we have structures to try and ensure transparency and accountability. In the final analysis the Pope, in communion with the Bishops, is responsible for the deposit of faith. However the running of the Vatican bank, the management of church property etc are not matters of dogma. Similarly Canon law is the responsibility of the Pope but the administration of law in church courts could and should be open to scrutiny.

    • mike Horsnall says:

      Geordie, As far as I recall Bishop Morris was written to and discussed with until everyone was blue in the face. Eventually his boss tipped up, had a few words and settled on an outcome…where is your problem?

  9. Vincent says:

    The fundamental structure of the Church is, at the top level, settled by Christ. The pope is the centre of unity. We pay a big price for this by way of second rate or corrupt popes. But the price is worth paying because the alternative is the balkanisation which has been the result in those elements which have left the Church. If we had not had this centre of unity in the past I cannot see how we would even have had the opportunity to be Catholic today.

    The second element is the hierarchy of bishops who govern the Church. They are directly called as successors of the apostles. Although they are independent they operate in communion with the chief bishop. The restatement of the proper role of the bishops was neglected, for accidental reasons, by Vatican 1. But this was put right at Vatican II. A major scandal has been that the consequences of this have never been put into action. The bishops are, in effect, the puppets of the pope, and are initially qualified for their selection by their willingness to toe the line. Archbishop Vincent may yet prove me wrong.

    A major work of overhauling the pope’s private office – known as the Curia – was requested by Vatican II. It has never been undertaken. Broadly speaking, the Curia is a shower. I would estimate that 5% of its membership are saints, 5% are crooks, 90% are there for the beer. This is where major reform is needed, and would include restoring their proper power to the bishops. This alone would provide the pope with the support that he needs – including protecting him from abuse of his own authority.

    I would be tempted to send all the Curia out to do pastoral work around the world – except that we cannot afford to have pastoral work done badly. But I would certainly avoid making anyone a cardinal or head of a congregation if he has not had extensive and effective pastoral work.

    I have no particular view on women priests but long experience in the wide world has told me that few operations which do not benefit from female input can hope to succeed.

    I am glad to read Paul Milligan’s comments on this. Yes, by default official members of a group should keep ranks. But the crisis in the Church is such that even the very stones, let alone the Milligans, should cry out. Just as they should have done in the paedophile crisis.

    • st.joseph says:

      For those who didn’t read
      Golden Anniversary Reflections by a Fr Hodgens- Jan 5th 2011, ( found in the Search Box)another of John Candido’s ‘authority’ on the Church,will show where things did go wrong by priests who did not practice the real Vatican 2. and the laity who followed in their footsteps plus the femenists!

      What ever happened to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was for every school,every parish and every home?Instead it became a fashionable ‘do it your self church’. with Free speech, free will, free Love .,free concsience, and everything else that suits the body mind and soul ,of the bishops, priests and laity!
      Those loyal catholic who were faithful to the teachings of the Church, were called trouble makers, holding the Church back, who wanted to speak in favour of the CCC were practically shunned from parish’s that wished to ‘modernise’ the Church and bring it into the future Yes they did that all right!! It speaks for its self

      • John Candido says:

        ‘…it became a fashionable ‘do it your self (sic) church’. with Free speech, free will, free Love .,free concsience (sic), and everything else that suits the body mind and soul.’

        Conservatives always have problems with freedom of religion.

    • John Candido says:

      Vincent, that was a wonderful post! I love all of what you say about the Bishops and the Curia. Yes we have and need a Pope, preferably an excellent one, but not Papal infallibility. But we can leave that issue for another day. Wonderful work!

      • st.joseph says:

        John Candido.
        If you dont want Papal Infallibility ,feel free to leave the Catholic Church-which you say you have for years, and join the Anglican,it seems to suit your conscience better.
        Or as I told you before go to your parish and put your view forward!! See how brave you are then.!Hiding behind a blog. We catholics who believe in the infallabilty of the Holy Father were in the middle of it ,and still are.We wont go away, you can be sure of that.
        We already have an excellent Pope,who is straightening things out now,why does that not suit you.? Why leave it for another day.!!!

      • John Candido says:

        As you should have known by now, I have left the Catholic Church as a practicing Catholic. However, whether I stay as a Catholic or leave it completely is none of your business. My opinions are my mine and I am entitled to them as I am to my own private property. If you don’t like them tough!

    • st.joseph says:

      Also on Humanae Vitae and Pro L:ife
      I did not hear many voices crying out for that in the past.
      Where was the laity then -when the Lord needed them?
      Look to thy selves first!
      I dont hear many voices critizing that in the past

      • John Candido says:

        You might have a hearing problem.

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, you seem to believe that everybody that doesn’t have exactly the same priorities as you is wrong. Although life issues are fundamental there is more to being a Catholic than observing Humanae Vitae. I have not seen you post much on social justice, the preferential option for the poor, religious liberty, the priesthood of the people etc.
        On the issue of Papal Infallibility, it’s only been exercised twice so it is, in the normal run of things of little impact on the day to day lives of Catholics. I think many expected Benedict XV to make the doctrine on women priests definitive on his elevation to the Papacy, but this has not happened so I suspect even Benedict, whom many have miscast as authoritarian, sees it as a gift to be used sparingly and only in matters of the utmost importance.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank God for Paul Milligan!

    • Peter Nyikos says:

      Vincent, I don’t see why you say that the reforms of Vatican II as have not been implemented as far as the bishops are concerned. Bishops now have enormous latitude in their dioceses, and the clergy under them still have to toe THEIR line.

      Here are two examples. At EWTN, it was the custom of priests to say Mass facing the altar. Nothing in Vatican II forbids this. But a bishop who is no longer there expressly forbade this. It was a bitter pill for EWTN to swallow, but because they are obedient to Holy Mother Church, they complied. Their new bishop, Robert Baker, allows the custom and they have happily returned to it.

      The other example is in my own diocese, over which Bishop Baker was put in charge before being transferred to the Alabama diocese in question. His predecessor put numerous restrictions (amounting to a virtual Catch-22; details on request) on the Tridentine Mass being said by any of his diocesan priests, despite John Paul II’s asking for a more generous application of his earlier indult allowing the preactice. JPII even set up the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to make this traditional Mass available to those who wanted it.

      However, although many faithful Catholics deeply resented this policy, they stuck to its letter, and to the best of my knowledge, the only non-schismatic priests who said the traditional Mass in our diocese were visiting priests not under his jurisdiction but belonging to the Priestly Fraternity.

      • st.joseph says:

        Peter Nyikos.
        I dont think EWTN ‘s Holy Mass is facing the Altar with their back to the people.
        Are you sure?Did I misunderstand you?
        Two church’s in my Deanery have though.The priest has his back to the people where my daughter goes to Mass in English.

      • milliganp says:

        Peter, you live in a different world to me. Few of the priests I know feel any overarching need to follow the guidance of their local bishop, we have a situation far more like the PP is the pope in the parish and the bishop is more administrator than spiritual leader. We have several parishes where the Tridentine Mass has been introduced at the whim of the priest and with little consideration for the needs of the local laity.

  10. John Candido says:

    The economist Paul Romer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Romer, gave an interesting interview in ‘Reason’ magazine, about ‘New Growth Theory’, which is a counter to the economics of scarcity and theories of economic rationalism. He posits that it is important that there should be a focus on growth, and that all societies should welcome knowledge, research, and technology, as engines of future economic growth. The average person today is many times richer than the average person of many a year ago. http://reason.com/archives/2001/12/01/post-scarcity-prophet.

    Romer is quoted with saying, ‘A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.’ I think that we could use this quote quite profitably on Secondsight. Romer has posed a series of questions, in a useful metaphor that has impacted far beyond economics. Scenario A: Suppose our entire infrastructure remained intact, but our knowledge of how to create them was extinguished. Scenario B: Our entire infrastructure is wiped out, but our knowledge of how to rebuild them remained. Which scenario would leave us better off in the long-term? Most people would say scenario B.

    The resolution of controversies in science is usually resolved or helped by scientists engaging in further research, checking past results through the replication of experiments, and learned discussions between them through informal gatherings and symposia. Similar processes are employed by modern democracies in order to examine an important question. This is usually done through the work of specific committees. What if we took this example from contemporary politics in order to help the church?

    Cannot something similar like an independent, standing, Vatican theological commission for the state of the church, assist it presently, but also in future? It must be independent of the CDF, and all other committees, courts, dicasteries, or Vatican Congregations, if it is to adequately perform its work. It has to meet regularly in a genuine spirit of freedom, enquiry, cooperation, and generosity. It must be a body which hears speeches, accepts written reports, conducts proper debates and interviews, and also were informal discussions can occur unimpeded.

    Such a commission would be composed of lay and clerical theologians, historians, and Catholic philosophers, who have impeccable academic credentials. It must be populated by a balanced number of liberals, moderates, and conservatives, in order for it to have credibility. And there must not be any arbitrary or unreasonable time limit on how long it can consider a theological question or problem.

    Its final non-binding reports on any issue must be open to the possibility of dissenting views and reports. This is essential if it is to be seen to have any integrity. It could examine current concerns in today’s church, and offer its detailed but non-binding reports, both to the Vatican and to the rest of the church as well. Such reports should be published in several languages and must not be made secret from the rest of the church.

    There is no question in my mind that a proposed advisory body such as this, which is non-binding, balanced in its composition, authoritative, and independent, can be an invaluable assistance to the church. It is a timely reminder that there is no alternative to personal freedom, rationality, learning, teamwork, and research, for the potential resolution of any theological problem. Such an eminent body would authentically be participating in the magisterium of the church. Such a body would be a badly needed breath of fresh air for the church.

    Will a useful combination of human intelligence, curiosity, creativity, research, rationality, cooperation, and team work, be of benefit to the church in future? Is there a relationship between a lack of team work in the church, and the current crisis in the Catholic Church? Can theological research and research in all of the sacred sciences, be put to use to aid the church in its current disposition? Can such a proposed advisory body, be a potential catalyst in helping to lead the church to reform its structures of governance, to be more respectful of human rights?

    We all describe the important assets of any society as its infrastructure. Apart from the church’s sacraments and its sacred tradition, which can loosely and figuratively be called its ‘infrastructure’, the greatest asset the church has is its untapped, brilliant intelligence. As Romer has said, ‘a crisis is a terrible thing to waste’. Can the church afford to waste its crisis or its various crises? What are your thoughts?

  11. John Nolan says:

    Because the CDF is also known as the Holy Office people tend to conflate it with popular notions of the Inquisition (which are historically very wide of the mark, but that’s another story). Few take the trouble to find out how the Congregation actually functions. The responsibility for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy has always rested primarily with the local Ordinary, and the CDF is really a back-stop. For all their talk of subsidiarity, bishops refer cases to Rome which they should have dealt with themselves.

    In the case of Bishop Morris, a little internet research shows that the case is far more nuanced than the headlines suggest, and the story put about by Morris and his supporters is, to say the least, misleading. It has of course been taken up by the usual axe-grinders, but in the last resort bishops are appointed by Rome and can be removed by Rome, although their job security is far better than (say) football managers.

    Robert Mickens, quoted by Quentin, is merely regaling us with his own opinion. He, and the organ for which he writes, represent a generally left-liberal viewpoint which is not universally held.

    • John Candido says:

      ‘In the case of Bishop Morris, a little internet research shows that the case is far more nuanced than the headlines suggest, and the story put about by Morris and his supporters is, to say the least, misleading. It has of course been taken up by the usual axe-grinders, but in the last resort bishops are appointed by Rome and can be removed by Rome, although their job security is far better than (say) football managers.’

      The point is that any removal of any Bishop or academic has to follow due process. If not, we will have a dog’s breakfast of unjust processes and procedures that are fuelled by capriciousness.

      • John Nolan says:

        But it did follow due process. Whether or not you agree with the process is neither here nor there.

  12. st.joseph says:

    John Nolan
    Misleading is right!
    Bishop Morris’s famous comment to the Warwick Rosary Group was ‘ Your church is dead, my church will replace it!.
    Maybe we do need more female voices in the Church to represent Our Blessed Lady- The Mother of the Church.
    Who does Bishop Morris think he is?

    • Peter Nyikos says:

      Are you being sarcastic, “st.joseph”? At any rate, you seem to have given the game away: the news report conveniently picked a much less offensive statement by Bishop Morris and then went on a binge about something that “coincidentally” happened five years later.
      As to the Mahoney case, it is still pending, and bringing up the Bishop Morris case in conjunction with it could be a case of crying, “Wolf!” or of comparing apples and oranges.

    • Peter Nyikos says:

      Sorry, “st. joseph,” a second reading of your comment shows me I need not have suspected sarcasm on your part; I was momentarily confused by your insertion of “more female voices” in the middle of talking about Bishop Morris.

      As to more female voices in the church, there is a bit of a problem with the tradition of appointing almost all clergy to high offices. I have often wondered why the church does not ordain women deacons: since deacons do not hear confessions nor are involved in transubstantination, I don’t see why the Church needs special divine authority to ordain women deacons.

      In connection with this issue, I’ve heard it said that the deaconesses of the NT were more like subdeacons. Well, fine: in the middle ages some subdeacons were enormously powerful in the Church. Perhaps the time is ripe to revive the subdeaconate for women.

      • st.joseph says:

        Peter Nyikos.
        I have just come home from child sitting my grandson, and am a bit cinfused with the times on your comments are you abroad.
        But back to answer your comment.

        I was not meaning female priests or deacons,
        I mentioned women as mothers who would spend some time using or teaching fertility awareness, and fighting for the pro life movement.
        Praying the Rosary with their children, visiting the Bessed Sacrament with their children etc, their prayer life in the church, teaching their children the faith, not expecting the school to do it all and on and on
        Thats what I meant by mothers,following Our Lady’s example.
        Thank you for your comment.

  13. John Nolan says:

    “Who does Bishop Morris think he is?” A latter-day Martin Luther perhaps; summoned to Rome to account for some of the rum goings-on in his diocese – which in 17 years produced only one vocation – he refuses to do so on the grounds that he is too busy. Asked repeatedly to resign, he simply says no. Even when the Pope, in a private audience, asks him to step down in the interests of the wider Church, he remains obdurate, convinced of his own righteousness – the Pontiff is at fault for not agreeing with him. Even after his removal he still stirs up trouble in his former diocese. In short, he is the perfect role model for liberals, with his overweening self-esteem, prolonged and deliberate disobedience, total lack of humility, intolerance of those who don’t hold his views and eagerness to cast himself in the role of victim. Let’s hear it for Bishop Bill, John Candido!

    • The issue here is not the orthodoxy of Bishop Morris but the transparency of the process by which he was dismissed.

      • st.joseph says:

        We only know what ,we dont know!
        We dont have to know everything. It is not a democracy.

      • John Nolan says:

        Anyone who has ever been dismissed from a post in either the public or private sectors will testify that the process is far from transparent. It’s not public, nor is it meant to be. Bill Morris is still a bishop; he has been neither excommunicated nor degraded.

    • John Candido says:

      John Nolan is all over the place here. What he cannot face or understand in Bishop William Morris, he simply attacks.

  14. Rahner says:

    I knew Jack Mahoney when he was at Heythrop and I’m sure that he would find the prospect of any action by the CDF to be highly entertaining and amusing. And, as I have said before, any such action would boost the sales of his book.
    The levers of power may still exist in the Vatican but in most cases they no longer connect to anything outside…..

  15. Iona says:

    John Candido – you say:

    we have and need a Pope, preferably an excellent one, but not Papal infallibility

    “what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” – if that doesn’t imply infallibility, what does it imply?

    In any case, the “infallible” card has been played very rarely and very cautiously.

    • Iona, you’re absolutely right. The problem is that many assume that everything the Pope, or any of the Vatican Cardinals say is implicitly infallible and then get worked up with what they imagine their Parish Priest doesn’t say or do as being at odds with “Rome”.

      • st.joseph says:

        Paul.
        Can you give me an example.?

        It is also what they dont say.

        I am quite interested.

      • John Nolan says:

        Indeed, Paul, the Vatican I pronouncement on papal infallibility has led to people defining it too rigidly. It has led, for instance, to Bill Morris’s identification of ‘creeping infallibility’ which liberals gleefully took up, despite the fact that it’s transparent nonsense. People do have a right to expect their parish priest to celebrate the liturgy according to the official books and not to countenance liturgical abuses that have been identified and reprobated by the CDW (e.g. in Redemptionis Sacramentum).

      • John Candido says:

        Creeping infallibility is a fact of life in our rather human church. It is the very air conservatives and the Vatican jointly gasp.

      • milliganp says:

        This is a reply to St Joseph’s request for an example. I’ll give two, one slightly more contentious than the other – just so everyone can join in!
        Both relate to the Papal Visit. When the Pope visited he said Mass from an altar with 6 candlesticks and a central crucifix. Damian Thompson, in his Telegraph blog accused the priests and Bishops of England of being disobedient by not following the Pope’s example and a number of others followed suit. However there is an official Vatican document, The General Instruction to the Roman Missal which details exactly what the church requires for the celebration of the Mass and there are no regulations requiring such a configuration.
        The second example is Communion in the hand. Again, during the Papal visit -as is the Holy Father’s custom, all receiving Holy Communion from the Pope did so kneeling and on the tongue. The Holy Father explained why he does this – to be an example of reverence. However the vast majority of those receiving Communion at Papal masses do so in the hand and the Pope has not in any way condemned the practice. However a small group within the church use this practice of the Pope to condemn reception in the hand outright. Either reception in the hand is acceptable or it should be condemned outright, the lack of this condemnation speaks as loudly as the queue waiting to kneel and receive the Lord from the Holy Father, for surely it is the Lord who is the centre of our reception of Communion, not the Celebrant or Eucharistic Minister – even when it’s the Bishop of Rome.

    • John Candido says:

      Exactly!

      • John Nolan says:

        No, not exactly. Reception in the hand was an abuse which originated in the Netherlands and Germany in the 1960s and was retrospectively authorized in the 1970s because the Vatican at that time lacked the courage to confront it.

      • milliganp says:

        The decision on Communion in the hand was a perfect example of subsidiarity at work. The Pope consulted the bishops of the world and a significant majority advised that the ancient practice be retained. Paul VI however, in his wisdom, realised that the method of reception of the Eucharist is not de-fide and is exactly the sort of practice which could and should be delegated to local Bishops conferences, which is what he did. Paul realised that the outcome of Vatican II would inevitably lead to changes in established practices and was brave enough to allow them.

      • Vincent says:

        Not quite,John. Reception in the hand was an abuse which originated when Christ at the Last Supper neglected to insist that the Apostles knelt down and stuck out their tongues at him.

  16. mike Horsnall says:

    “…I’m sure that he would find the prospect of any action by the CDF to be highly entertaining and amusing..”

    Yes I think this is the point. It was obvious in Mahoneys lecture that he was out to sell his book-hence the mention of it so many times. Also that he was perfectly clear that his view would stir up trouble and was no tthe least bothered by the prospect. The same for Bishop Morris-clear from all his TV appearances. Its not that these men were or are ignorant of Vatican realpolitik I shouldnt think. It seems to me that both decided to reap and to sow, I don’t think there are real wider issues at stake and I have yet to see a cogent reason as to why Benedict should not have simply exercised the perogative that was his. Fr Mahoney can look forwward to probably a lucrative career as an intellectual doyen of liberalism-good for him if thats what he wants-but why all the fuss? The same for Bishop Morriss and his letter-no naivete there either and no martyr summarily crushed under the wheels of a vatican tank either.

  17. mike Horsnall says:

    By the way I do see on this thread talk of the great crisis in the catholic church today. Possibly on account of my youth or my blinkered view I can’t clearly see what that crisis consists of. Could someone enlighten me -simply and succinctly- that is, without vast swathes of print and dozens of wikipedia links? I ask this because I see before me a healthy enough parish doing its business as best it can -seeking to glorify God according to its and live according to its lights. I see this replicated in the several parishes around me and in the various Catholic training and Retreat establishments I visit. So what is this terrible crisis please?

  18. John Nolan says:

    crisis, n, a point or time for deciding anything; the decisive moment or turning point. (Chambers). I would pin this down to the year 1978, but I am open to other suggestions. I suspect that when Mickens and his ilk talk about crisis they really mean calamity, and the calamity is very real for them; it consists of the growing realization that their efforts to refashion the Church in their own image were all in vain, and that no-one outside an ageing coterie of malcontents is listening to them any more. In the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s they believed that they they were the future, and that their revolution would carry all before it; they are now increasingly disillusioned and bitter.

    The ‘Romophobia’ of some of the more extreme liberals verges on the pathological.

    • I’ve just been at a conference at which Bishop Conroy of A&B said that a famous lecturer at the Angelicum once said “The church has been in crisis since the cock crowed the third time”.

  19. mike Horsnall says:

    I see, so this ‘crisis’ is in fact an ideological one arising from the 1960’s and 70’s to do with bringing change into the structure of the church?

    • st.joseph says:

      Mike I could spend all day with all the New Age Matthew fox articles and meeting around my part of the country.
      All day with Femenists meetings, Women for a changing church, their luturgy,
      Meetings for the re-organising of the Tabernacle,Thyme Mass, if I have spelt that right,I could find it, Mary Grey talk for the Newman Society. Womens ordination etc
      There are web sites showing how they want to change the church.
      I belong to the Association of Catholic Women,it started up many years ago to oppose the National Board of Catholic Women, who are in the General Church Directory, but ACW was not allowed.
      But try as I could to get NFP programmed into the mind of women was imppossible.Or pro-life,or in the Diocesan Directory.Or posters in Churches or Catholic Doctors surgeries
      Archbishop Weakland invited over to speak to the National Conference of Priests.,
      Homolies from a well know priest, denying the first miracle at Cana-do you want more ,No I dont, I would like to forget about it all,but that is only a drop in the ocean to the filing cabinet’s i have, why do I keep it -well in case in rears its ugly head again,I can tacle it again ,because I m not ‘dead yet’!

      All these movements and more are lost now, hopefully buried in the past

      • John Nolan says:

        st joseph

        I have replied to your question on the previous thread ‘when tradition is not Tradition’ and hope you find the answer useful!

    • John Nolan says:

      The last ten years of Paul VI’s papacy were a calamity for the Church and the crisis point was reached in 1978. Fortunately the cardinals made the right choice (although it took them two attempts) and elected John Paul II who effectively drew a line in the sand and set in motion the long renewal which his successor has continued, and which is beginning to bear fruit.

      That is my analysis, which happens to be shared by many; it is of course a massive generalization, and like all such generalizations you can pick any number of holes in it. There are those whose views are diametrically opposite, so yes there is an ideological divide. But it is pretty clear which way the wind is blowing.

      • milliganp says:

        You describe the Papacy of Paul VI as a calamity. It was Paul who withdrew discussion of birth control from the council and reserved it to the Magesterium. It was also Paul who implemented the changes to the Liturgy requested and advised by the Council.
        Humanae Vitae was rejected by the liberal wing of the church (and ignored by almost all) and the liturgical reforms were rejected by the traditionalist wing. So if that makes his papacy a disaster you are probably right. I, for one, think it took great courage to make these two important contributions to the life of the church.

    • Rahner says:

      Mike, The crisis is also a theological one arising from the use by the Magisterium of a theology, eg in the CCC and in moral theology, that is no longer appropriate or effective.

  20. John Nolan says:

    @ Paul Milligan

    “I’d be interested to hear which bit of history covers the church fighting to be free of lay interference”. It’s hardly a bit of history, since it covers the history of the papacy from the early middle ages until the 20th century. A good overall survey is Eamon Duffy’s ‘Saints and Sinners – A History of the Popes’. As a general rule, when the papacy is weak, the Church suffers.

    • milliganp says:

      This discussion is about the laity – that is the people of God- having a part to play in the administration of the church. All the example you refer to are conflicts between the secular state and the church which is an entirely different matter.

  21. st.joseph says:

    John Nolan.
    Thank you for your comment on ‘when tradition is not Tradition.
    I appreciate it,although not knowing all the history of the Church, value your thoughts.
    I worhiped at a newly built parish,and it was verytraditional from the beginning 1966.
    Then it was given back to the Diocese and a new parish priest, came in ,guitar over his back.
    His first report to the local paper was that he was going to change the traditional thinkers of the parishioners, and so on -and so on -and so on.It went on until 3/4 of parishioners left went to another local St Josephs- I blamethe bishops, priest and laity who had a hand in it all.I can see now how the future generations from that parish has lapsed.
    I might sound bitter, but I am not,because we did a lot of good in the end., by helping a blind priest. God works in strange and wonderful ways!

    Behind their thinking was to bringthe Church into the new life.Out with the old.(mainly) bullying)
    According to Vatican 2. I have a good lyric about that, but not able to put it on the blog!!!!
    If anyone wants to question all this I have the proof.Its nothing new.

  22. John Candido says:

    People who don’t want their church to change will not like people telling them that they need to reform. I understand this. My apologies to those who find this topic disconcerting. Newness is always troubling, when questions are settled in peoples’ minds. I would no doubt have a similar response if I was conservative and I was regaled by proposals that I would not be comfortable with.

    You may wonder at times, ‘here he goes again’, or ‘when will he settle’, etc. etc. Let’s face it; liberals are different to others with their own take on ecclesiastical issues. I believe that the church is in great trouble and it needs the involved care of many people from all walks of life, and with their own assessments as to what, if at all, has gone wrong. The laity and the clergy, working as a team, need to ask what has to be reconsidered for the sake of renewing the energy and life of the Catholic Church.

    The renewal of the church is an inevitable result of a changing world, as well as problems the church has unintentionally created for itself through inertia, and a failure to place itself under regular self-examination by an independent body charged with this function. The failure of the church to attract sufficient numbers of vocations to the priesthood is a sign that it needs to undergo rigorous and unflinching self-examination, if it is to solve this most serious crisis. Dioceses are drying up and parishes are closing in the western church.

    Despite the absolute importance of liturgical prayer and the Eucharist, something other than these central acts of worship is inevitable. Practical wide ranging structural and ecclesiological reforms are essential, if the church is to reinvigorate itself in order to stem the serious losses in vocations to the priesthood. It should also reform the CDF to at the very least make it operate in a similar vein to our courts of law. Transparency and accountability are watchwords to this end. A presumption of innocence and knowing who their accuser is, together with procedural clarity are essential reforms.

    The Catholic Church must have a body wide childcare policy that incorporates both preventative policies and post-abuse care of victims, together with clear referral of alleged offenders to the police and the criminal justice system. Today’s world would consider anything less as an abject failure to act with sufficient care and responsibility towards all children in its care.

    The Pope should call an Ecumenical Council of all Catholic bishops for this single issue alone. The church and the wider world can no longer tolerate a situation where a single Bishop can determine if he will or will not do anything on the care of children in his diocese, or on acting on alleged paedophiles. I believe that this issue is that serious, that anything less would be a squibbing of its responsibility, with continued consequences for its standing in the community and the world.

    This important reform will demonstrate to the entire world that the Catholic Church means business on the paedophile crisis and in its care of the vulnerable. It will certainly go a long way to satisfying the faithful that their church is one of integrity and one that they can feel justifiably proud of. A failure to act in an intelligent and wholesale manner will consign the church to further worldwide opprobrium.

    • st.joseph says:

      John Candido.
      You see the problem as child abuse, That is not the only problem.
      Lack of proper instruction with the CCC.In parishes and schools
      The changing world yes, that does not mean the Church ought to change Her teachings.
      That remains the same.
      Just because the Truth can not be lived, the Church doesn,t change just to suit liberals.
      When a priest says that the Tabernacle has to be moved because it overpowers the Church when someone comes in. The first thing they should see is the lectern and the chair where the priest sits.. The 3 presences in the church are lectern book and priest chairThe first day the priest was there he removed the Altar rails no discussion.
      The Chair represents Peter, and the Book as Gospel,yes it is important, but the Lord is first.He came to show us how to live the Truth.
      Kneeling is out, Communion in the hand in, (although my son wouldnt stand or be bullied 25 years ago) he stands now,but he wont receive on the hand nor me, But these are things that should be accepted by the priest -we ought to have a choice . The priest was going to refuse Holy Communion to my son.But he kept on kneeling.Bullying again.
      This went on in parishs over the country. But we will not be moved.
      Why have we no vocations. it speaks for itself.
      You can critize the child abuse, but it goes a lot deeper than that.

      • st.joseph says:

        P.S.
        There were only three at the foot of the Cross.
        So we can be sure that it will come back.
        With Prayer. St Pio said ‘Pray, Hope, and dont worry’ And the Rosary..Our lady asked at Fatima.
        That is on my husbands Headstone as it was his favourite saying.

      • John Candido says:

        Conservatives have problems with change. The Catholic Church and its teachings have changed over the centuries. If you don’t acknowledge this, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • John Nolan says:

      JC

      The CDF is not a court of law, so why should it act like one? As for abusive priests, bishops are now in no doubt as to their responsibilities, and have been since the whole sorry saga landed on Ratzinger’s desk back in 2001. Why do you persist in using the term ‘paedophile’ when you know as well as I do that a significant majority of the cases involved homosexual offences against adolescent boys and young men?

      By 1998 the Church in Australia was in a parlous state; as a result the Australian bishops were told to put their house in order. Together with the major dicasteries they issued a Statement of Conclusions, an exercise in collegiality as understood by the Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium. For thirteen years Bill Morris acted as if it didn’t apply to him. For the record, you might tell us what parts of the said Dogmatic Constitution you actually agree with.

      The Roman Church is a world-wide organization with over one billion adherents, and yet her central bureacracy is not large. An interesting comparison might be with the Ministry of Defence which runs armed forces of only 227,000, including reserves. There has been structural reform, and no doubt there will be further reform. We certainly need better bishops, and some recent appointments have been encouraging, for example Shrewsbury and Aberdeen.

      There is no single cause for the decline in vocations since the 1950’s. To say it’s all down to what happened to the Church in the wake of Vatican II is to argue post hoc, ergo propter hoc. But it was certainly a contributory factor.

      • John Candido says:

        You are so blind to our problems. It begs the question if you think that the church is simply incapable of any error whatsoever.

      • milliganp says:

        Just on your first point, since the CDF has the power to order a priest to be compulsorily laicised or ban a theologian from practising within the church, it’s powers are equivalent to that of a court. It thus ought to be open to some degree of scrutiny.

  23. Geordie says:

    Mike Horsnall
    I don’t have a problem with the outcome of individual cases. I do have a problem with the lack of explanations when decisions are made. When we ask for explanations, we are looked upon as trouble-makers.
    I agree with milliganp that anything to do with the admin of the Vatican should be open to scrutiny. I also agree with Vincent’s comments about the Curia.
    With regard to the crisis in the Church, ask any priest who has two or three parishes to serve due to lack of vocations to the priesthood and he’ll tell you, when he gets his breath, how the crisis is affecting him.

  24. mike Horsnall says:

    Geordie,
    Yes there is plenty of talk about this in Birmingham. I don’t see it as a particular problem personally. Either we will have to import a few more priests from places where they are more aplenty (most of the developing world that is) or else a change will be forced in the way we use deacons at communion services etc. Some things have been said about crisis and opportunity for change and I think that is valid. It probably won’t happen in my life time but I would be quite interested to see what would happen if- say the Midlands for example were to run out of priests, what would we do instead?

    • John Candido says:

      Do I detect the faint sound of a penny dropping! I think we are witnessing the beginning of wisdom here.

  25. Iona says:

    John Candido – you say “I believe that the Church is in great trouble” , and I was going to ask you what was your basis for that belief, but I see that you go on to talk about the child abuse cases and the lack of vocations to the priesthood; are those two items the full basis for your belief, or is there more?
    I understand it’s only in the Western Church that there is a lack of vocations; in the far east, eastern Europe, Africa and south America there are lots of vocations but not sufficient money to train all the young men who are coming forward (I am going by what I read in ACN’s newsletters).
    The child abuse cases, of course, are appalling – but this is not solely a recent problem, cases have come to light going right back to the 1960s. And I was interested to see that you think it’s not being dealt with adequately. In England and Wales the response was extreme, such that the pendulum swung the other way and priests were being falsely accused by people just trying to make money or settle old scores (the same thing happened in schools, with pupils accusing teachers just to make mischief, and teachers being suspended and under suspicion while investigations took place).
    If the Church seems to be out of step with modern life in western Europe, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the Church that ought to change.

    I was intrigued by your recommendation of “an independent, standing Vatican theological commission for the state of the Church”. How could it be ensured that any such commission didn’t just deteriorate over time into another “here for the beer” group? Commissions to look into specific problems (or, if not “problems”, then at least contentious cases) can be and are set up as needed. For example, the group currently examining the Medugorje phenomena.

  26. Peter D. Wilson says:

    Living in a numerically small rural parish with a mainly elderly and naturally dwindling congregation, covering a large area with little public transport and served by a priest based nine miles away whom we could lose at the next reshuffle, I see a difficulty if not a crisis. On my annual holiday in central Scotland I attend a church served, along with two others at similar distances, by an African priest who is excellent but almost unintelligible. I dare say other areas are in a far worse case; the idea of plentiful priests in the developing world doesn’t accord with what I read in the “Far East” journal (and incidentally, why do countries that have been Catholic for centuries still need missionaries?) . In these circumstances I think we’re lucky to get the Mass at all, and all the arguments about liturgical fashion seem about as fruitful as the notorious case of the angels on the point of a needle.

    Actually, that conundrum seems equivalent to the mathematical problem of dividing zero by zero, eventually solved by Newton and (I think) Leibniz, but that’s another topic altogether.

    • John Candido says:

      I fully agree with Peter D. Wilson’s point about the tendency of critics to focus on aspects of how the liturgy is performed, as this is irrelevant to the Catholic Church’s crises at this point in time.

      • John Nolan says:

        Not according to Benedict XVI – he cites “the disintegration of the liturgy” as the main cause. But he’s only the pope, and knows far less than liberal bloggers.

      • John Candido says:

        Benedict XVI would say that precisely because he is an arch-conservative.

  27. st.joseph says:

    It was a saying years ago, that we would have missionary’s back to England,from the countries to whom we sent missionaries to convert
    Iona you are right when you say,there are countries who cant aford to train priests.
    Why don’t they come over here to be trained.
    There are no shortage of priests in Poland-perhaps because they kept the faith
    We also have the problem that young people have other things in the Western world to amuse them. Religion is not required. Holy Mass on Sundays, then no more thoughts of God or a spiritual life. Holiness in the home,contraception, TV.
    They have all they require on the computer.
    It is promising to see the world youth Mass’s with the Holy Father,and how they loved him even after the scandals! Also when he visited Britain.
    People are inclined to make a meal of the scandals, just another piece of coal on the fire, keep it burning. Old Nick will be happy with that.
    We are fortunate in our Deanery with priests,and a few vocations to the priesthood in the Westminster Diocese from the Summer School at Nympsfield where I worshiped, after the ‘fall ‘ !!!
    Thats proof in the pudding. With the parents encouraging them to spend time there.Traditional parents.
    We must remember too,many are called but few are chosen , And we miss the Irish priests.Where the faith was in abundance .It will return like it did in the past . Maybe its the time for cleansing.

    • st.joseph says:

      P.S.
      We also could ask ourselves where are our sons and grandsons?And why all you male got married and didn’t become priests. That would be an interesting discussion Quentin!

      • Peter D. Wilson says:

        st.joseph – To your P.S. – Because I felt that if I had a call, it was “Go away!”

    • I think we need to be careful / cautious; in Poland and Africa priests are placed on a pedestal and so some enter the priesthood to feel exclusive. A local parish had several Polish priests and they were not inclined to work, they just wanted to be revered. It’s really not that simple.

      • st.joseph says:

        Paul.
        Maybe there is a question to pose in what you say.
        It and I am a woman so my thoughts wont be well thoughts a I am not male or inclinations to wards a priesthood,
        However if I was a male, and was inclined to be called to priesthood, I could not imagine being a parish priest- it would have to be celebrating Holy Mass and living in a Monastery.
        I say this and I have mentioned it before on the blog a while back-but I got me thinking when my grandson in a catholic school,who was slow in saying what he wanted to do for work experience. After my daughter saying in desperation ‘you wil have to make up your mind, he sidled over to me and whispered in my ear that he wanted to become a priest.I wasn’t surprised as he was having Bible studies at a local Monastery, he chose to do that , so it was left at that. is school arranged for him to W.H. Smiths to do it.
        As time went on and he always spoke to me and he said that maybe he would want to marry.
        I said to him , and I was joking ‘become an Anglican, get married and then come back to the Catholic Church Our Lady always lets people in through the back door’ He was not amused and said.. Nan,I wont give my faith up for anybody.He still wears his big St Benedict crucifix, and still works at W.H Smiths full time now since last July untill Canterbury Uni this year
        After that it changed my thinking on married priests, because to become ‘holy holy’one needs to be isolated from the world. But parish priests need to live in it.

        Now I am probably talking through my hat, and have no judgement or even to give an opinion on the subject.
        You being a Deacon perhaps can.

  28. st.joseph says:

    Peter.
    You would have had a sense of humour, that would go a long way towards the priesthood!

  29. st.joseph says:

    Paul, sorry the computer was jumping all over the place and I could not amend the typographical errors.

    • I think you were making the point that we need priests who can dedicate their lives to the Church and the service of the people of God, but there is also a tension in understanding the world when one is isolated from it. There is no doubt in my mind that a celibate priesthood is essential to the life of the church quit apart from the long tradition.
      The European church in general, and the British church in particular has a severe challenge in the declining number of priests and the problem is going to be with us for at least 20 years. This is because we have a demographic time-bomb, over 50% of our clergy are over 60 and the number of new priestly vocations are running at no more than 25% of the number of priest due to retire. We also loose something like 1 in 4 of the newly ordained within 10 years of ordination for various reasons but mainly the challenge of celibacy (and I don’t think it’s just sex, it’s the problem of human loneliness).
      In the Orthodox churches (and in a couple of the rites in union with Rome) there are both married and celibate clergy and I do believe this is a model that we need to at least consider as one of the ways of ensuring sacramental provision for our Catholic communities. The vast majority of Deacons are married and so over 50 parishes in my own diocese now have a married member of the clergy team. When I was ordained I expected there might be difficulties with some of our parish community because I was married but this has never arisen.
      So, in the final analysis, clerical celibacy is one of those little T vs big T tradition issues. Some hold that it’s Tradition but history show us it’s only tradition.
      I feel I might not have answered your intended question so I’ll post this and await a response.

      • st.joseph says:

        Paul thank you.
        I just think it is not quite right to have married Anglican Vicars ordained in the Church whilst allowing catholics who would like to be ordained to be celibate.
        The Church opened it self to married priests,and if I was a deacon I would feel quite put out that I could not celebrate Holy Mass, when Anglicans can just come in to the Church and do so!
        People say to me that women will be ordained next, I think that is the general thinking of most catholics who do not see the Priesthood as only males.
        I think that Anglicans who are ordained will not keep to the contraceptive teachings of the Church.That is something that is important, as you say it is nothing about sex.
        It is because of a misunderstanding of the marital act that so many are confused.
        People see so much of the unlawful sex act and permisiveness exploited on TV and films. degrading something that is a holy gift from God.It is brought down to a level of ‘animal instinct’ although maybe that is unkind to animals!
        We would have more vocations priests and Nuns from holy families who were
        born into a parish life.Obviously there will be exceptions.
        We should have one rule for all celibacy or not.
        I dont think priests could get married once taken their vows -unless they leave.
        These are only thoughts that iswhy I would like to know what others thought, especially deacons.

      • milliganp says:

        Firstly, although I get mildly miffed at the admittance of married Anglicans into the priesthood it is not a specific concern to me as a deacon. I took St Francis as my confirmation saint and he was a life-long deacon so I’m happy to follow his example. What worries me is that an active sacramental life is at the heart of the church, and we seem to be willing to sacrifice access to the sacraments on the altar of celibacy.
        As to Anglicans joining the church, most that I know have greater regard for Humanae Vitae than most Catholics.
        However if we have married clergy we will inevitably, because of human nature, end up with scandals relating to marriage and we would just as much need a church of solid faith to deal with that as the issues of child or liturgical abuse.
        In brief I don’t think there are any simple answers if by simple we believe that if only we did X most of the problems of the church would be fixed.

  30. mike Horsnall says:

    ” In Poland and Africa priests are placed on a pedestal and so some enter the priesthood to feel exclusive. A local parish had several Polish priests and they were not inclined to work,”

    This is a very interesting comment and one which makes me wonder-perhaps sacramentality is cultural…perhaps there are many Gods-each to his own country…?? Perhaps we know what we want and what we don’t want a little too keenly…? Perhaps we want only that which we know and are familiar with. If there is a crisis in the Catholic church that I have seen it is a crisis of mundanity and complacency among the laity..us in other words. It seems to me that we (on here) like yattering on about our own little definitions-we enjoy our trench warfare- quickly joining sides and adopting tactics we see displayed by others. I wonder ,when we talk glibly of a radically reformed church we have any real grasp of what may truly come-or that what may come could possibly be so radical a change as to be unrecognisable to us. In China the grip of the Missions based Protestant Church was broken harshly firstly in the early 20th century and then again by Mao in the 1960’s. What flourished was very different to what had been planted by the Western missionaries -and it flourished beyond our wildest dreams. I get tired of smallness, of nay saying and carping. Set against the grandeur of God and the growth of the Church over the centuries our fears for its failure become paltry fears about the church as we know it within the culture as we wish it. Renewal does not come from para church commitees or wikipedia links or slavish kowtowing to rationalism-renewal comes from the heart of God to the heart of men and women-I have met Catholic missions workers from across the globe whose shoes I would gladly clean on a daily basis. These are mainly religious or priests. As to change not being simple-of course it isnt simple or clear cut..whoever said it would be?

    • If your point is that one can live the Gospel without having to concern oneself with the exact organisation of the church, I would agree. Similarly if we allow our own perceptions of the church as an excuse not to live that Gospel we are not acting in good faith.

  31. mike Horsnall says:

    Paul Milligan: Exclusivity
    Hate to say it Paul but the process of ‘exclusivity’-perhaps better termed ‘a tendency towards clericalism’ is not exactly foreign to our own shores is it? Hopefully clericalism is a thing that one grows out of-I have yet to see for myself.

  32. Horace says:

    John Candido’s ‘rant’ is very interesting.

    On the whole I agree with Peter D. Wilson’s first comment “can [we] do anything effective about it”? We are frequently told that the Church is not a democracy. As I see it the only thing we can do is to pray and trust in the Holy Spirit!

    With regard to Bishop William Morris, I know very little about this, although I have followed developments intermittently for the last few years, From the confusing reports one thing stands out – the good Bishop does not possess (or at least does not exhibit) the virtue of humility. I like the comment from st.joseph “You seem to be very quick to [critise] the Holy Father in his failure to show authority on child abuse, then when he does use his authority, [critise] him for using it, Make your mind up!”

    Apropos Robert Mickens – I personally doubt wether “structures of the Catholic Church . . adequate for life in the modern world” would be an improvement!
    I was, for example, most impressed by reading in the Catholic Herald Feb 24th : Charterhouse, the description by James Le Fanu of the structure of the administration of Whipps Cross hospital when he was a young doctor (which accords with my own memories of another London hospital where I worked). He contrasts this with the situation today, which might be considered as equivalent to “adequate for life in the modern world”.

    The question of the Vatican however is another story:-
    See, for example, my comment to “Ecclesia corrupta” 14 Jan 2010.
    I recently, at the recommendation of an Irish friend, came to read a book “Murder in the Vatican” by Lucien Gregoire (Author House 2010). While this is largely an exercise in ‘Conspiracy Theory’ , it seems to be quite well researched and some parts are almost credible. I would be very interested to know John Candido’s opinion.

    Finally to return to Professor Jack Mahoney SJ; I was interested to read a letter to the Catholic Herald from Fr John Daley IC. It is entitled “Types of Original Sin” and treats very briefly of the view of Evolution (essentially similar to my comment on “Our illusory God” 3 March 2011) before proposing an interesting concept of ‘Original Sin’ which has echoes of Mahoney’s ideas and he says that – inter alia – Karl Rahner was “teaching like this back in the 1960s”.

    • John Candido says:

      ‘From the confusing reports one thing stands out – the good Bishop (William Morris) does not possess (or at least does not exhibit) the virtue of humility.’

      Horace, how can you say that Bishop William Morris lacks humility? Where is your evidence for this statement?

      • John Nolan says:

        JC, how about his comments after leaving an audience with the Supreme Pontiff and Vicar of Christ? I sometimes think you inhabit an alternative universe.

      • Horace says:

        Simply that he refused to accede to the Pope’s request to resign.

    • mike Horsnall says:

      Horace,
      I read your post on an illusory God. I was interested in the notion that the ‘idea of God’ in our minds was a product of neuro biology. Does this mean that it was neccessary for man to have developed to a certain degree by an evolutionary process until he was capable of conceptualising God-or of ‘seeing ‘ God if you like…and that this development-rooted in nerve cells etc- marked the point of mans nascent full humanity?

      • Horace says:

        I don’t mean that God is an illusion but I agree with your statement “it was neccessary for man to have developed to a certain degree by an evolutionary process until he was capable of conceptualising God”.
        “Full humanity”? I wouldn’t like to say.
        I was really intending to draw attention to the second paragraph = “the first account of creation . . ”
        See also Evilution 15 Feb 2009 at 6:20
        and Our great great great… grandparents? October 1, 2011

    • John Candido says:

      Horace, if you were to go to an original report of Morris’s sacking by the Pope at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) http://ncronline.org/news/women/pope-removes-bishop-who-expressed-openness-ordaining-women, you will find that,

      ‘Bishop Morris said he did not offer to resign as ‘a matter of conscience’ because ‘my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking ‘communio,’ which I absolutely refute and reject.’

      Is this an arrogant man? What about his own freedom of conscience? Is he entitled to that at least? Should falling on his sword and resigning be the correct thing to do?

      Returning to the subject of due process, you can find a summary of the Morris case from here, http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/bishops-firing-makes-popes-priorities-clear.

      Some of these issues have been previously dealt with on Secondsight in ‘I Beg Leave to Differ’, on the 26th May 2011, and can be accessed from here, https://secondsightblog.net/2011/05/26/i-beg-leave-to-differ/. I have copied three paragraphs from the above post.

      ‘The freedom that all lay Catholics have regarding their consciences applies to our religious, priests, and bishops in equal measure. If words are to mean anything, then the plethora of ecclesiastical documents written by the church on the subject of human freedom are to be respected by all, including Popes John Paul II & Benedict XVI. All educated Catholics are aware of this fact and it absolutely applies to their sense of ‘the faith’, regardless of whether or not they are conservative or liberal. I cannot agree with Quentin when he wrote in his introduction that…’

      ‘‘He (Bishop Morris) suggested that this crisis should ready us to consider options which are currently being debated at different levels. His list included the ordination of women and the recognition of Anglican and some other Protestant orders. Bishop Morris was wrong. His position precluded him from raising options which the Church has quite clearly closed down. He may not have intended to be provocative, but he should have been wise enough to know that he was putting the Holy See into an impossible position.’’

      ‘As far as I am concerned, Bishop William Morris was exercising his legitimate voice as a human being, a Christian, and a Bishop, as well exercising his pastoral leadership within the diocese of Toowoomba concerning the elephant in the room which is the dearth of candidates for the priesthood. I do not see his pastoral letter to the Toowoomba diocese as controversial at all! I would conceptualise it as common-sense and a responsible discussion of alternatives before the church. To not be able to discuss them with others is simply ludicrous and counterproductive.’

      You can read a transcript of an interview with Bishop William Morris, on the Australian religious current affairs program called ‘Compass’ from here, http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s3226275.htm. Reading it should go far to demonstrate the misinformation that has spread about Morris to the advantage of Benedict XVI.

      As has been seen in this topic’s introduction, Morris has not been given any transparency or due process in his dismissal. It is even worse than that in that the Pope has not followed due process himself and effectively dismissed him. That’s intolerable! How can you have a genuine mutual respect and subsidiarity with Rome, if the moment a Bishop questions a policy or asks an intelligent question, the Pope reaches for an axe?

      • milliganp says:

        Obviously I cannot discern Bishop Morris’ conscience but I would have thought that a direct request from the Supreme Pontiff ought to be acceded to as an act of charity to the church; there are plenty of near-empty monasteries where one could go and live out ones life in prayer.

      • Horace says:

        John
        I have read all your links and am not much clearer now than I was before.

        The Bishop obviously considered that it would be wrong for him to resign but I cannot understand his statement:- “I have never wavered in my conviction that for me to resign is a matter of conscience and my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking communio which I absolutely refute and reject and it is out of my love for the Church that I cannot do so.”
        and this is followed by :- “To find a way through this moral dilemma I put forward the proposal that I was prepared to negotiate early retirement.”
        Why should early retirement be right and resignation wrong?

      • If we allow ourselves some good faith towards Morris, perhaps his concern was for his flock. He raised the issue of married and women priests against a background of being unable to provide for the sacramental needs of those in his care because of a shortage of priests. Christ says “What father among you, if his son asks for bread, would give him a stone”, yet the church seems happy to not provide the Eucharist, which is the bread of life to those in need in the church in order to maintain a particular model of priesthood.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you Paul Milligan, you are a desperately needed breath of fresh air on Secondsight.

        Horace, I don’t think that simply saying to Bishop Morris’s flock in his own diocese, that if, and only if, the Catholic Church were to change its rules about celibacy, women priests, and ordaining ministers from other mainline Christian religions to serve as de facto priests, that he would be in favour of it for the sake of a dearth of vocations and the proper distribution of the Eucharist in Toowoomba Queensland. It begs the question of whether this is or isn’t an offence, as outlined in canon law, and the punishment, or one of the punishments for this offence is specified as dismissal from office.

        Bishop William Morris was effectively dismissed from office, after a tawdry and drawn out process, for stating a hypothetical scenario to his own flock in Toowoomba. One should pause to think about what has happened to Morris because it is a very important case of a pontiff exceeding his authority. Canonical processes were absent throughout this entire episode over several years. I have got say that I think the entire stance of the Vatican and Benedict XVI towards Morris is utterly woeful and unchristian. It is for these reasons that I agree with William Morris when he says that to resign would be to admit to a breaking of ‘communio’ with Rome. That is, by accepting a request from the Pope to resign, it symbolises for the entire world that William Morris has distanced himself from the Catholic Church, and its teachings and traditions. And this is a travesty of the facts of the matter.

        Why should he resign? For broaching a hypothetical scenario that the Pope and the Vatican don’t agree with, does not to my mind require his resignation. There is simply nothing wrong about advancing a hypothetical case at all, in neither civil nor canonical law. What utter nonsense!

        If you were to have closely read my introduction, you would have been informed of two expert statements on the Bishop Morris case, as published in The Age newspaper in Australia. Firstly, Queensland Supreme Court judge The Hon. W. J. Carter said that William Morris,

        ‘…was denied procedural fairness and natural justice, and that his treatment was ‘offensive’ to the requirements of both civil and canon (church) law.’

        Secondly, Australian canon lawyer, Father Ian Waters from Melbourne has publicly stated that,

        ‘Pope Benedict breached canon law and exceeded his authority in removing Bishop Morris without finding him guilty of apostasy, heresy, or schism, and without following the judicial procedures canon law requires.’

        The upshot of this is that I find it entirely pertinent to repeat my opening questions to all and sundry.

        ‘Can a sophisticated society such as ours tolerate any organisation which operates without recourse to fairness and justice? Or can we, or must we, reluctantly or otherwise, make an exception for religious entities?’

        If the answer to both of these questions is ‘no’, then in all fairness the Pope should apologise to Bishop William Morris and to the entire diocese of Toowoomba for his gross indiscretion and maladministration of this entire affair. For the benefit of the entire Catholic Church, he must publicly resolve that he and all members of the Curia must follow whatever is laid down in canon law in future, and not administer them at his or their personal whim.

      • Horace says:

        John Candido
        I do see that you consider that the case of Bishop William Morris is of serious importance and that you are somewhat upset by my offhanded dismissal of it by indicating that the Bishop simply showed a lack of humility. For this I apologise.

        You explain that “by accepting a request from the Pope to resign, [Bishop Morris would symbolise] for the entire world that [he had] distanced himself from the Catholic Church, and its teachings and traditions.” This implies that by “taking early retirement” he has not so distanced himself.

        I certainly would not wish to characterise the Bishop as ‘arrogant’, and it may well have been true that in the circumstances of his eventual dismissal – if that is what it was – he “was denied procedural fairness and natural justice, and that his treatment was ‘offensive’ to the requirements of both civil and canon (church) law.”

        Nevertheless I still feel that a truly humble servant of God would have acceded to the Pope’s request without demur.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you for your reply and your apology. I will not add anything more to your post as I think it is a reasonable and fair comment. Thank you again for your apology.

  33. John Nolan says:

    “The Church needs thorough purification, today more than at almost any other time in history; cabals of strange, unbelieving men dominate many chanceries [ diocesan offices] around the world and much of the Curia.”
    The Tablet? The National Catholic Reporter? No, the (very) conservative blog Rorate Caeli.

    Earlier I was talking about lay interference in the Church. The last emperor to attempt to use his veto in a conclave was Franz Josef of Austria in the conclave of 1903, when he tried to veto Cardinal Rampolla. The Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow read out the imperial veto to the understandably outraged cardinals. The new pope, Pius X, decreed excommunication latae sententiae to anyone attempting to interfere in any future conclave.

    • John Candido says:

      The quote from ‘Rorate Caeli’ is fine and good. However, it remains to be seen how is the church going to affect ‘purification’; what policies and procedures are going to be implemented, and are these to be enforceable on all dioceses throughout the world? What systems would be in place to supervise all of the bishops throughout the world that they will follow through on what Rome would decide on the issue?

      The example cited of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria is a rather extreme one I must say. It is just laughable! He actually vetoed a consistory of cardinals to elect a new Pope! It is the sort of thing only an Emperor can envisage I suppose.

      Apart from this extreme example, I would not consider lay involvement in the governance of the church as anything evil. Provided that they have the training and the qualifications, there is no reason that should bar a lay person from working in the highest levels of governance of the church, as an advisor or as a head of any congregation. It is a healthy proposition that should be encouraged.

      • Rahner says:

        John
        “What systems would be in place to supervise all of the bishops throughout the world that they will follow through on what Rome would decide on the issue?”
        Are you seriously asking for an even greater degree of centralised control?

      • John Candido says:

        I agree with you that the last thing that the church needs is more centralism. More authority and power must be devolved to national conferences of bishops, if collegiality is to have any relevancy. The importance of the church to get a useful grip on the paedophile crisis cannot be underestimated. This issue would in my opinion be so overwhelmingly important, that anything less than regular scrutiny by Rome must not be countenanced.

        A new congregation needs to be created that would have exclusive jurisdiction over the church’s child care policy. Granted that this is another layer of bureaucracy, however, the church must take this problem very seriously and undertake structures that would assist the church to meet the needs of children and their families.

        As to how this is achieved, there are a number of possibilities. Papal nuncios could be given the task, assuming that he would have the resources from Rome, such as enough staff and funding, so that he could adequately do the task. All Catholic dioceses of any nation could have a committee of qualified lay people, which are given authority to supervise the working of any diocese’s implementation and administration of their child care policy. The newly created congregation could send staff to assist a Papal Nuncio or any diocesan committee that has authority to supervise the child care policy.

        The new congregation must make use of every avenue of media to communicate the child care policy to everybody, and to alert the church to any new policy developments that could flow from conferences or internal debate and discussion. It could make use of the usual media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, as well as the Vatican’s web site to keep the church informed.

      • John Nolan says:

        One of the reasons for the spectacular success of the papacy over two millennia (the other reason, that it is guided by the Holy Ghost, is true but cannot be verified by a purely historical analysis) is that although it has had to compromise with and indeed make use of the secular arm, it has not succumbed to the caesaro-papalism which is the main weakness of the Eastern Church, and indeed of post-Reformation protestantism, at least in its Lutheran and Anglican incarnations. The pre-Revolution French Church was more or less state-controlled (Gallicanism) but the attempt by the revolutionaries to subordinate it entirely to the state (The Civil Constitution of the Clergy) was bitterly opposed by many Catholics, including the king, Louis XVI.

        If you think the actions of the Austrian emperor in 1903 to be ‘laughable’ it is because you have, consciously or not, accepted a form of autonomous ecclesiastical government which was not universally accepted until the nineteenth century.

  34. st.joseph says:

    What role does the Pro Nuncio ?

    • milliganp says:

      The Pro Nuncio is firstly a diplomatic role as the Vatican is a state and the Nuncio has similar status to an ambassador. However the Nuncio also acts as the official channel between the Vatican and local Bishops and, perhaps most importantly, is responsible for assembling the Terna – a list of three names, to Rome for consideration for appointment when a Diocesan see becomes vacant.

  35. Vincent says:

    Paul Milligan, with his account of priestly vocations in the West puts his finger on one symptom of crisis in the Church. Here are some others.

    For fifty years there was been a chasm between the Church official, and the Church as lived – in the matter of contraception. For a society which is built on top down authority such a chasm poisons many aspects of the community. Many of the clergy secretly do not support the official position and are therefore forced into a continuous form of hypocrisy. The abandonment of the Confessional as a regular Catholic practice is one of the many regrettable outcomes. Another, of course, is the very substantial decline in the numbers of active Catholics in Western countries.

    The Church explicitly champions subsidiarity (decisions taken at the lowest practical level) but it does not practice it. Thus the concept of the people of God, their participation and their witness is endangered. To describe us as medieval peasants is an exaggeration – but not too much of one since the system of authority is still essentially medieval too.

    Vatican II defined the role and the responsibilities of bishops. These do not apply in practice. Thus papal authority, already unqualified, stands alone and potentially dictatorial. And we are impoverished by the lack of broad episcopal vision.

    The Curia is much too big for its boots. Notwithstanding Vatican II, it has not been reformed. Archbishop Quinn (formerly of San Fransico) wrote the constructive book “The Reform of the Papacy” – which is frankly pretty frightening. You haven’t read it? You have a chamber of horrors to visit. Some examples from me (Quinn has many more):

    Cardinal Trujillo tells the world that condoms do not stop AIDS virus. A mistake never corrected; it may have indirectly killed thousands.

    Condoms for infected married couples. Vatican elects not to give verdict. Possibly thousands more.

    Translation of liturgy confiscated from the bishops, and produced as a lumpy, latinate, version – in the language which once produced the King James bible.

    Archbishop Vignano,having had some success in tracing petty corruption in the Vatican, rapidly removed.

    Vatican Bank defies international rulings on money laundering.

    CDF described by Oxford Companion to Christian Thought as “(showing) extraordinary disregard for natural justice and due process of law”

    • John Candido says:

      Keep it up Vincent! Where have you been all of this time? Good to see!

      • John Nolan says:

        Vincent, to address just one item in your contentious litany of subjective animadversions, in what respect is the language of the KGV consonant with ICEL 1973?
        And a word of warning; to be high-fived by John Candido is the kiss of death if you want to be taken seriously.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘And a word of warning; to be high-fived by John Candido is the kiss of death if you want to be taken seriously.’

        To be taken seriously by whom John Nolan? Conservatives? What a laugh!

      • milliganp says:

        John Nolan, you use a single throw away remark to equally condemn a number of points, some of which are perfectly valid. I’ve learnt my lesson on not using words like medieval as a pejorative but feudal would do nicely instead. On the KJV vs ICEL 1973, nobody, including ICEL considered that translation as final and it’s weaknesses became rapidly apparent to the extent that an entirely new translation completed.
        The problem with the current translation is that it is often dreadful English and I would similarly argue that the language of Shakespeare, Milton and Wordsworth is capable of expressing the divine truths of our salvation far better than the translation which Rome has now imposed on the English speaking world.

    • Horace says:

      Just a few brief points:-

      “Many of the clergy secretly do not support the official position and are therefore forced into a continuous form of hypocrisy.” An interesting statement, which I hope is not true. There is a slippery slope:- Contraception > Abortion > Killing the newborn > ??

      “The Church explicitly champions subsidiarity (decisions taken at the lowest practical level) but it does not practice it.” This is about decisions not the morality which informs decisions.

      “Cardinal Trujillo tells the world that condoms do not stop AIDS virus.” Granted, a stupid remark – the Cardinal was ill informed, or did not understand the advice he was given. Besides the efficiency of condoms depends on design, manufacture and usage.

      “Condoms for infected married couples.” I am no theologian but I understand that the arguments for and against are about equally convincing – hence no clear decision.

      • milliganp says:

        t is entirely wrong to suggest that married couples that want to have a family but wish to plan the process are on a slippery slope to abortion. However in society as a whole contraception and abortion are now just two sides of the same coin. The reality though is that very few clergy have any enthusiasm for promoting the church’s message partially -I suspect- because they are not married and therefore the relationship between the unitive and procreative aspects of married life is a matter of pure theory to them.

      • Horace says:

        Married couples that want to have a family but wish to plan the process are not necessarily using abortion, but I did say that contraception leads to abortion which in turn leads to killing the newborn (see Ion Zone below) and so on.
        Apropos the attitude of some priests, remember Jesus’s comment on divorce ” Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you . . “

  36. Ion Zone says:

    At the moment I am far too shocked at this to want to debate anything else:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/02/29/ethicists-call-for-killing-of-newborns-to-be-made-legal/

    • st.joseph says:

      That was mentioned in the homily at Mass this morning.

    • John Candido says:

      I respect the author’s right to publish their peer reviewed comments. The ethos that I am employing here is freedom of speech. However, I don’t agree with them at all! The very thought of killing a child who has been born, makes me feel really sick.

  37. mike Horsnall says:

    Yes I read it a few days ago. Just a couple of philosophers trying to make a name for themselves really. The very interesting aspect of the argument is that it runs counter inutitively as well-The asrgument goes that a person is not yet a person even though already born. This is such palpable nonsense -who in their right mind would seriously propose we slaughter babies ….No one surely….ok so why slaughter infants still within the womb then ??? Even the authors admit that their case is easily turned against them.

  38. mike Horsnall says:

    Vincent:

    “..The Church explicitly champions subsidiarity (decisions taken at the lowest practical level) but it does not practice it. Thus the concept of the people of God, their participation and their witness is endangered. To describe us as medieval peasants is an exaggeration – but not too much of one since the system of authority is still essentially medieval too…”

    This is very interesting. I would really like to know which corners of your life have been as it were stuffed with medieval straw… ! I ask because I don’t feel my life constricted by anyone other than myself. I have chosen to walk the Catholic way and the manner in which I walk that way-for the laity at least remains a matter of private assent or dissent to the rule of life I have accepted (the catechism in other words). I am not in any way bound to a wheel -if I feel I have slipped along my way then I can go to confession-if I do or don’t want to take a course of action no one arrives at my door with hooks, nails and rope or threatens me with scourgings or excommunication- I can go to church as much or as little as I like…in what way do you think I am constrained Vincent?

    • Vincent says:

      Mike

      Thank you for asking.

      Let me give you some examples off the top of my head.

      Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. How extraordinary can you get? Despite the often demanding work you must please note that you can only be used when there really is no other course. And be careful – don’t for a moment forget that you are not on par with the clergy. No ideas above your station please.

      Are you a female? You have taken in that you can’t be a priest, but it will be a very long time before your sex will be generally allowed in management positions in the Church – thanks to our masculine God. And, by the way, your womb is spotted – there is only one spotless womb in the Church (see the Roman Missal).

      So young man, you are claiming that Father X has interfered with you. How dare you try to take away his good name. And if he did, then it was you who led him into temptation. And if you didn’t, it is much more important that I avoid scandal than I protect you. And that’s what I say to all the others who have tried to incriminate Fr. X.

      So you think that your new parish priest should have consulted before he changed all those things in the parish. Why shouldn’t he?; it’s nothing to do with you. Just pay up, as St Paul demanded – and keep quiet.

      Yes I have noticed that the vast majority of practising Catholics reject our teaching on birth control. Of course they are all sinners. No I wouldn’t for a moment think that the laity might possibly be witnessing to a truth. But they’re not the teaching Church, are they? Whatever Newman might say, we need to take no notice of them.

      Now, Mike, you may not have been at the rough end of any of this. But every example of ecclesiastical power here is, or in recent history has, been exercised as a matter of course. Now a question for you. Other than the fact that the Magisterium can no longer call in the civil power to coerce you, what powers have the Magisterium given up since the middle ages? yes, I’ll give you the index librorum prohibitorum, bur what else?

      Here’s a last thought. Canon 1404: “Genghis Khan is judged by no one”.Sorry, should have read “The first See”. Easy mistake.

      • mike Horsnall says:

        Hmmm, Vincent you were doing quite well till now…..I’m an extraordinary minister and don’t feel remotely hard done by-I know I’m not a priest-pleased too that I don’t have to live that life-not up to it personally….are you?

    • John Nolan says:

      I don’t know about you, Mike, but I’m getting rather tired of giving measured responses to people who live in la-la land. “The people of God, their participation and their witness” – what a load of sanctimonious twaddle. Dissect it, along with similar platitudes and it is worse than meaningless in that it bears any meaning you might want to put upon it.

      • John Nolan says:

        And Vincent’s post at 6:30 reinforces my last comment. We’ve heard it all before, and anyone with a modicum of knowledge could rubbish it point by point, but what’s the use? Aures habent et non audient.

      • John Candido says:

        It is heartening to see that John Nolan and Mike Horsnall are comming to grips with the substantive issues of this topic. I new I wasn’t wasting my time!

  39. mike Horsnall says:

    Go out John, have a pint on me!

  40. st.joseph says:

    Jonh Candido.

    To answer your question on freedom of speech.
    According to you it is all about freedom of speech. But deny people with theirs, if it goes against your opinion, and that is all it is with you.
    You have no authority to speak against the Church.
    My husband was a great believer of ‘free speech’.
    He used to say (before he became a catholic)that the ‘sexual act between homosexuals was degrading ,filthy, repugnent, disgusting,and an act against human nature as everthing has it place and place for everything, and they ought to be put against the wall and shot!
    I think he also felt the same about abortonists!
    Now I used to argue about this with him, as I would not dream of saying such a thing about the shooting of gays, I suppose if I gave my husband a gun, he would not do it.I told him it was a sin to shoot people and that God would deal with them in time. He was never a violant man!
    He used to say look at the abortion action ,it will come to killing babies at birth, which it sis for certain handicap babies, also same sex relationships will come to abusing marriage, maybe he was a bit of a prophet-being a Methodist. He became a catholic, but didn’t change his beliefs he found that they wer very much in line with the teachings of the churh (except for shooting homosexuals) but stil hated their way of life. But then we can’t please everybody as you know yourself,the Church will never please you!So referring to your other comment above,about you leaving the Catholic Church, you have already left it,even though we will be all judged by the same Lord.

  41. John Candido says:

    ‘According to you it is all about freedom of speech. But deny people with theirs (sic)…’

    I haven’t stopped anybody from expressing their point of view. You seem to have no trouble haranguing people you don’t agree with. Don’t you st.joseph?

    ‘He used to say (before he became a catholic)that the ‘sexual act between homosexuals was degrading ,filthy, repugnant (sic), disgusting, and an act against human nature as everthing (sic) has it place and place for everything, and they ought to be put against the wall and shot! I think he also felt the same about abortonists!’

    ‘…maybe he (st.joseph’s husband) was a bit of a prophet -being a Methodist. He became a catholic, but didn’t change his beliefs he found that they wer (sic) very much in line with the teachings of the churh (sic) (except for shooting homosexuals) but stil (sic) hated their way of life.…’
    Judging by your description, your husband was quite a beautiful person. The both of you must have been quite a pair at your peak! Did he eventually get his man or any of these men? What I mean by that is, did he get to fulfil his duty to God, as he saw it, and kill any homosexuals?

    • st.joseph says:

      John Candido.
      No he didnt fufill his duty to God and kill homosexuals.He fufilled his duty to God when he became a catholic, and realised then that God will be their judge, as He is to all of us, you including.Jesus did not say to him (even though my husbands name was Peter)’You are John Candido and upon this is Rock I will build my Church, and I give to you the Key’s to the Kingdom of Heaven. What you loose on earth I will loose in Heaven, what you bind on earth I will bind in Heaven.
      Gosh I thought you would have been out of breath by now, after all your rants since I went to bed and Holy Mass.
      Your answer to my comment when I asked you ‘have you got anything to say about the Body of Christ’
      You said ‘No’ That says it all for me.A sin against the Holy Spirit.
      Also to answer another of your comments, ‘I must have something wrong with my hearing’
      No I havent, but if you were my son- he would be deaf now with a boxed ear!
      And I am not violant either!! Thank God he is not!
      ‘Have a good day,’ Oh thats a USA saying-not Australia!

      • st.joseph says:

        John Candido.
        P.S. to my comment above.
        My question to you in the earlier post was ‘Have you anything GOOD to say about the Body of Christ’, when you answered No, this morning!!
        I missed out the good, like you do all the time.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘Have you got anything good to say about the Body of Christ,have you not changed your opinion yet since your last comments on Candid Candio (sic), which I have just been looking back on!’

        You have misunderstood me. I didn’t say ‘no’ to ‘have you got anything good to say about the Body of Christ’. I said ‘no’ to ‘have you not changed your opinion yet since your last comments on Candid Candio (sic)’. So despite you saying ‘why are you not consistent in your thinking’, I still maintain my views about the Catholic Church consistent with all of my comments in ‘Candid Candido’.

        I love a good rant every now and then! There are ‘rants’ and there are ‘rants’. You have to be discerning when it comes to other people’s rants, I always say. Some people who rant are more rational than other people that rant. The trick is to not be put off by other people ranting against you.

        So it looks like I haven’t committed ‘A sin against the Holy Spirit’ after all st.joe, whatever that entails. Better luck next time!

  42. st.joseph says:

    John Candido.
    I wouldn’t call it luck John, just advice.
    Critising the Church which is the Body of Christ, is a sin against the Holy Spirit.The Trinity.
    You havent changed your mind since your comments for the last years.!

    It is one thing to discuss the faith of the Catholic Church so as to get an understanding of why She teaches what She teaches.But your ranting and raving goes a bit too far with disrespect against the Body of Christ repeat the Body of Christ. The contempt shows in your writings.

    One of the 4 sins crying out for Vengeance is Sodomy ( an unatural sin of lust)
    It is possible to share in anothers sin in such a way that we become guilty before God as though we had committed the sinful act ourselves.
    There are 9 ways in which we share in anothers sin but number 8 and 9 is according by my Students Catholic Doctrine and that is By silence and defending the ill done
    So be careful what you say against the Body of Christ the Church .And Her Authority.
    I have a duty to defend it and its teachings ,and if you are a catholic as you say you are ,so have you!
    I dont believe in luck, just Grace.

    • John Candido says:

      ‘Critising (sic) the Church which is the Body of Christ, is a sin against the Holy Spirit.The Trinity.’

      Rubbish!

      ‘It is one thing to discuss the faith of the Catholic Church so as to get an understanding of why She teaches what She teaches.But your ranting and raving goes a bit too far with disrespect against the Body of Christ.’

      Rubbish!

      ‘One of the 4 sins crying out for Vengeance is Sodomy.’

      Well I suppose you better go and lead a hunting party and knockout as many of those pesky homosexuals that you can get your holy hands on. Don’t forget your helmet and your rosary beads. Those filthy sodomisers deserve a right upper cut and some well-aimed rifle fire. Be gone and get them now, I say. Don’t waste a minute!

      • st.joseph says:

        John Candido
        I don’t assume that homosexuals are commiting the sin of Sodomy. You do, as that is what you say!One can speak of the act,and we are obliged not to defend it, the same as adultry, abortion. But we must know that it is a sin. But whether ‘they know it themselves is another matter. Catholics as you say you are ,ought to know it.
        Perhaps they know what it is and decide against it.
        Love has other ways of showing itself.
        I am surprised that you know what Rosary Beads are.
        I will pray for you to Our Lady of Good Council.
        Maybe you could offer a little prayer to Our Lady Mother of the Church during this Lent, to help the Holy Spirit in the Mission of the Church.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘I don’t assume that homosexuals are commiting (sic) the sin of Sodomy.’

        Sure you don’t! I’ll bet that you do.

        ‘You do (think that homosexuals engage in sin), as that is what you say!’

        Rubbish!

        ‘I am surprised that you know what Rosary Beads are. I will pray for you to Our Lady of Good Council.’

        Don’t waste your time as I am very happy where I am presently situated.

        ‘Maybe you could offer a little prayer to Our Lady Mother of the Church during this Lent, to help the Holy Spirit in the Mission of the Church.’

        I have given up on praying for such a thing. I prefer arguments that are rationally advanced.

  43. st.joseph says:

    Millignap.
    I have been reading over the comments that I missed above.
    Your comment saying that I do not make comments on others issues but Humanae Vitae’
    such as social justice,preferental option for the poor religious liberty(whatever that means)the Priesthood of the laity. etc.

    I suggest that you sit down on the computer, starting in 2010 and read all my comments.
    We have covered every subject that has be asked by Quentin.I have made comments on all.
    Always make sure first what you know before you decide what to say, and dont make assumptions.
    How dare you.I expect an apology.!When you have read the all..
    Thats the problem with those who don’t read the truth!

    That also goes for John Candido as he was agreeing with you.

    .And he knows better than that as he was amongst it all.
    He knows better than that,so he ought to be ashamed of himself agree with that comment of yours!

    • St Joseph, lest you have a disturbed night worrying about an insult, I apologise for any offence caused. I did make a number of points and perhaps you might credit John Candido with agreeing with the other parts of my post. I’ve only been on this blog for 6 weeks and so my impressions of individual contributors are limited to that period. Forgive me if I defer from trying to read back over the last 12 months, reading one week of this correspondence is difficult enough.
      One of the “interesting but worrying” aspects of blog correspondence is the way it rapidly leads to difference which border on (and sometimes cross that border) rudeness. This is in part due to the medium, I suspect most of us would never quite speak to each other fact to face in the same way.

      • st.joseph says:

        I met you face to face you would hear the sameYou dont use the Sacrament of Confession, so I dont expect from apologies from you, that was just to save your own soul!!

    • John Candido says:

      ‘How dare you.I expect an apology.!When you have read the all..Thats the problem with those who don’t read the truth! That also goes for John Candido as he was agreeing with you.’

      You can forget it st.joseph, I am not going to apologise to you.

      • st.joseph says:

        As you both speak the same language, I made the comment to both of you in one go. The first line to PM ad the second comment to Candid Candido.! .

  44. mike Horsnall says:

    John Candido,
    “Whats yer poison..”
    Sorry I should have explained that the above is a slang term for” what are you having to drink?”
    It was in fact a small attempt at humour.

    • Given the emotional turmoil of some of the posts I am reminded of an exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor.
      Lady Astor: If you were my husband I’d poison your coffee.
      Churchill: If you were my wife I’d drink it!

      Anyone for coffee.

      • st.joseph says:

        Insult and sarcasm is the lowest form of wit!
        But then what elsecould I expect!!

      • John Candido says:

        If you didn’t go out of your way to insult others, you would not be getting any ‘alleged insults’ from other people in reply.

      • Quentin says:

        I am almost tempted to say: Children! Children!

        Can we please remember that the objective of the blog is to present and discuss ideas in a rational way. Thus, we may hope to get closer to the truth — and often through recognising the insights of other contributors. Both st.joseph and John Candido are people with very strong points of view. I have learnt from both of them. But I am learning nothing from the current exchange, except a confirmation of human nature.

      • John Candido says:

        We could keep this fun going indefinitely. It doesn’t bother me really. st.joseph is one of those annoying little mosquitos that has to be swatted every now and then.

        How much longer do you want to keep this stupidity going st.joseph? Why don’t you keep to things of substance rather than haranguing people?

    • John Candido says:

      Cultural differences.

      • st.joseph says:

        Yes my faith will always be an insult to those who do not have it!!
        Jesus was Crucified for it.

      • John Candido says:

        If Jesus was crucified for your faith, I pity Jesus for his completely wasted effort!

    • John Candido says:

      Sorry Mike Horsnall! I misinterpreted you.

  45. mike Horsnall says:

    John and St Joseph:

    Hate to say this but your recent slanging match about homosexuals and homosexuality does appear rather rancid on the printed page, I think you should stop now.

    • st.joseph says:

      Mike Horsnall.
      The subject is not homosexuals are far as I am concerned.
      John Candido is mudding the waters to suit himself, by mentioning homosexuals.
      My feelings are made quite clear as to homosexual acts, abortion ,and adultery.
      We love the sinner and hate the sin.
      What makes that more important to shut up about ,than any other sinful ‘act.’!!
      I am more concerned with his disrespect to God and His Church. and how I pray!
      I have listened to more ‘rancid’comments than ‘sin’
      Or is sodomy not a sin in your eyes?.
      All sin is against God.

      • John Candido says:

        ‘I am more concerned with his disrespect to God and His Church.’

        st.joseph, you are totally wrong about this. I don’t disrespect God and the Church. You are simply incapable of allowing other people to have different opinions about religious matters, to your own. Not only do you not tolerate others who have different views, you have no compunction in getting personal towards me as well.

        I don’t agree with your religious views in the slightest. I am happy to let you have your views. What I will not tolerate is your aggressive attitude to me and anyone else who has different opinions to your own.

        I am really sick of the personal abuse and disrespect of others in this blog. I never start fights or personal attacks, except for my errors regarding Dr. Scott Lively and Mr. Kevin E. Abrams, for which I have apologised profusely, as well as ordered the retraction of my ad hominem attacks on Secondsight. If I get personal, disparaging comments from anyone in future; expect prompt return fire.

  46. John Nolan says:

    I don’t know, and neither does Peter Stanford, whether or not the CDF will take any action regarding Fr Mahoney’s book. For those who are interested, the Congregation’s proceedings are regulated by the ‘agenda ratio in doctrinarum examine’, last revised in 1997. The material in question is sent to several experts for review. Their detailed findings then go before the Consulta, a standing committee of the Congregation composed of experts from several theological disciplines. Only after this are the files put before the Ordinary Session of the CDF and any action taken must be explicitly authorized by the Supreme Pontiff.

    If, after all this, the book is found to contain doctrinal errors which could mislead the faithful, a list of these is drawn up and sent to the responsible Ordinary, or in the case of a religious, the Superior of the Order, for transmission to the author, who then has three months to submit a reply. All this is quite properly confidential, unless of course the author decides to go public with it. If the reply is satisfactory, no further action is taken; if not, the most likely result would be a Notification published by the Congregation explaining what is erroneous and why.

    Hardly the Inquisition of popular imagination. Those who argue for ‘transparency’ might like to tell us at what stage in the above process they would let the TV cameras in.

    • I believe there is an adage, justice must not just be done but must be seen to be done. There is obviously a need for confidentiality but if the accusation and the defence are both provided in secret and the penalty imposed without any public disclose of the process then all the basic premises of justice are bypassed.
      If we look to the dispute between Paul and Peter over the necessity for circumcision, Luke provides an “after the event gloss” whereas Paul obviously takes the whole thing far more personally as the events happen, but at least we have an account to read.

      • John Nolan says:

        The snag in the “justice must be seen to be done” argument is that what the CDF is doing is examining theological ideas to see if they can be reconciled with Catholic doctrine, which involves a scholarly examination of the material, and has to balance the rights of the theologian to advance his arguments with the Congregation’s duty to uphold Church teaching and ensure the faithful are not led astray. In the early part of the 20th century the blanket condemnation of Modernism had a stifling effect on Catholic theology, and so the most contentious issue in the post-Vatican II era, that of liberation theology, was handled differently. The Church was quite prepared to accept many aspects of liberation theology, and said so, but rejected some aspects, and explained why.

        If Fr Mahoney is asked to appear in person to defend his propositions (I don’t think it will come to that, because his inflence is restricted to fairly narrow academic circles) he will not personally be on trial, and the theological discussion which will take place will not be the stuff of a television debate. The idea of a public forum with its adversarial ethos is surely not appropriate here. Of course if he were to be sufficiently provocative and contumacious, as Leonardo Boff was in the 1980s, he might force the Congregation’s hand and then go on television to say how badly he was treated.

        It has become something of a liberal myth that the Holy Office in the Ratzinger era went round trying to silence theologians who stepped out of line. In fact Ratzinger, a theologian himself, was always ready to cut a lot of slack for members of his profession, and two theologians for whom he has great esteem, Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) and Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1998) were controversial figures as late as the 1950s

      • milliganp says:

        John Nolan, thank you for a very clear post and well argued case. I’m not in favour of an adversarial court or trial before the media, what I would like is sufficient transparency that one could explain with some certainty and justification to a confused but unbiased third party how the outcome of the CDF’s decisions can be seen as fair and just.

  47. st.joseph says:

    John Candido.
    Respect is earned.
    Thats a bit like calling the kettle black.
    One only has to look at your past posts 1 or 2 years back then you will know what being personal is
    Your insults to me and my family were unforgiveable.
    I have not forgotten that!
    So you can insult my faith as much as you like, because if God is with me who will be against me.
    Who taught you your faith-seems to me you are very alike to Martin Luther.
    The destruction of the Sacrifice of the Mass, then the clergy, then Bishops, then the Vatican, then make a church of your own like the protes-tants did.You are not on your own, you have plenty of deciples in the church!
    History repeating itself. They built a new church on sand, that is what your opinions are too.
    Give up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and your house in no longer on the Rock.
    And you defenitely are on a slippery slope.
    Who is your God. I dot see you as a son of Adam nor of Abraham, and definitely not behaving like a son of Jesus.Do you ever listen to yourelf?
    Kee p on meditating in your mantra position as you say you do, you wont gain any salvation through that. You need grace and plenty of it! Our Lady of Grace and Compassion will help you if you turn to Her.

    • st.joseph says:

      That was meant to be a brother of Jesus,but take it as you like.You always do!

    • John Candido says:

      ‘Who taught you your faith-seems to me you are very alike to Martin Luther.
      The destruction of the Sacrifice of the Mass, then the clergy, then Bishops, then the Vatican, then make a church of your own like the protes-tants did.’

      You really need to take a headache tablet and lie down for minute or two, because you have completely lost the plot.

      ‘Who is your God. I dot see you as a son of Adam nor of Abraham, and definitely not behaving like a son of Jesus.’

      I am a son of Giuseppe. Would anyone care for a slice of pizza and a glass of vino?

      Maybe you need to have a long look into your mirror for a change, rather than pointing your accusing finger at other people.

      • st.joseph says:

        John Candido. I am a RC and a full paid up member of the Church. So are my family.If you did not leave yourself open to denying the faith handed down by the Apostles-you would not be challenged.If you dont like it-then do not offend the Church.
        All I can say about you is you describe yourself very well in the way you speak. I can read into yoursoul, and the hate for ourHoly Mother by the disprectful way you conduct youself and speakabotdnot it, only now but long in the past. To add insult to injury you consider yourself to be a catholic, that word means nothing to you. I doubt if you ever were.
        By their deeds we shall know them!

      • John Candido says:

        This is a laugh!

  48. st.joseph says:

    John Candido,
    There you go again ,comment back with an unsult to God and His Holy Sacrifice.I always kick old nick in the face when he tempts me-Try it.instead of Jesus all the time!
    Every time you open your mouth you put your foot in it.
    Dont you see the error of your ways.
    You will become a laughing stock if you dont stop!

    • John Candido says:

      Sure! And when are you going to contribute to Secondsight again with pieces of writing that actually contains some thought and serious preparation?

  49. milliganp says:

    If I might digress back to the topic of this blog, I thought it might be useful to comment on the last statement of the original post by Robert Mickens, “the structures of the Catholic Church are no longer adequate for life in the modern world”. If we ignore the problems presented by science, philosophy, society and politics (aka just about everything) the church has a real problem with communications and modern media. When Pius XII wrote an Encyclical it could take months if not years for the content to be distributed, considered and brought to bear on the life of the church; statements by Curial officials would not be reported widely and would thus be unknown to most Catholics. Today every minor statement makes some news channel and newspapers and the blogsphere ensure that most are known, commented on and condemned long before they are subject to reasoned thought or debate. Perhaps the means of communication would be worthy of some debate and consideration.

  50. milliganp says:

    Again, on the off chance we might return to the topics in hand, I though it might be worth a few words on “the sin of Sodom”. I was fortunate, a few years ago, to attend a commentary on the opening chapters of Genesis by a Jewish scholar – it is after all their text. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not fundamentally about homosexuality but depravity. In the Genesis story we are given two stories about the visit of these Divine messengers. On visiting Abraham the fatted calf is slaughtered and they are extended the warmest of hospitality, and hospitality to a stranger is a key theme of OT thought – this in part derives from Israel’s origins as a nomadic people where hospitality is literally a matter of life and death.
    By comparison, on visiting Sodom the people of that town rise up as one to assault the visitor in the most depraved way possible. It is a sad reality that anal rape has been a means of degradation throughout history – particularly in the middle-east. However it is important to note that the men of Sodom were principally depraved heterosexuals. It is therefore important as Christians that we do not misquote this text to condemn homosexuality (though, as a Catholic, I still consider homosexual acts disordered).

  51. John Candido says:

    Unfortunately, what John Nolan has produced here is a sanitised version of the actual internal workings of the CDF. The contemporaneous workings of the CDF are those that apply psychological pressure on any accused person before them. According to Dr. Paul Collins, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Collins_(Australian_religious_writer) a former Australian Catholic priest and Missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC), who has a Master’s in Theology from Harvard and a PhD in History from the Australian National University,

    ‘Everything is done behind their back, so they are simply not able to check whether the procedures are observed.’

    The above quote is taken from page 33 of Collins’s book entitled, ‘From Inquisition to Freedom’, 2001, published by Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney. It is a ground-breaking work of approximately 250 pages, which details the experience of seven Catholics, including Collins. Dr. Paul Collins was a former Australian Catholic priest of 33 years standing who writes from direct experience, as he resigned his priesthood in March 2001, after coming into contact with the CDF.

    Theologians that are found guilty by the CDF are given an internal exile; banned from Catholic academia, or from their apostolate, and have their reputations impugned. It places enormous psychological pressure on its accused, due to a lack of transparency of its processes. The openness of secular courts is a contrasting comparison.

    In 1997, the CDF authored ‘Regulations for Doctrinal Examination’. When someone is dilated (accused), the CDF initially uses information from the accused’s ordinary or superior, which is a supporting secondary source. However, primary sources should be both an interview of the accused and an examination of his/her theology/apostolate. Despite the ‘Regulations’, the CDF does not see itself as beholden to them. They are examined at a later stage.

    According to Dr. Paul Collins,

    ‘…they are simply a set of cold, objective norms that treat the accused as a non-person, issued by the very authority that will act as investigator, judge, and jury. Reading them, you are struck with the completely un-Christlike-feel that they reflect’ (Collins…, 2001: p.34).

    The accused is not given any presumption of innocence, as you find in regular courts of law. Here, the dictum ‘error has no rights’ prevails. The next steps are that the source material is examined by bureaucrats who are non-theologians, at a weekly Wednesday meeting called a ‘congresso’. How is it established that an author’s work is heretical, erroneous, or dangerous to the faith?

    According to Dr. Paul Collins,

    ‘No norms or ways of measuring what is ‘very grave’ are set out nor is this term even defined. This is all simply left to the judgment of the CDF bureaucrats’ (Collins…, 2001: p.37).

    The congresso appoints a committee to determine the error and guilt of the accused. Again, the presumption of guilt is operational. The offending text/apostolate is then submitted to an ordinary session of CDF cardinals. If they think the text/apostolate is of concern, they inform the Pope and contact the Ordinary of the accused to formally warn them. The CDF grants the accused two months to respond to its notification. If the CDF is not satisfied with the response of the accused, ‘…discipline of the most draconian sort can follow’, (Collins…, 2001: p. 38).

    If the congresso thinks that there is something of substance worth examining further, it can become an ‘office study’ according to articles 4-6, of the 1997 ‘Regulations for Doctrinal Examination’, or in Latin, ‘Agendi Ratio in Doctrinarum Examine’. You can access the document in English from the Vatican’s web site from here, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19970629_ratio-agendi_en.html#top.

    There is a structural problem with an ‘office study’. Consultors or other experts, who are formally reviewing any matter, are solely responsible for determining what is ‘erroneous’ and what will cause ‘grave harm to the faithful’. How they actually come to these conclusions is not explained. According to Dr. Collins,

    ‘Surely such a procedure demands much wider consultation, discussion with the accused and the advice of his or her peers, as well as an attempt to understand the perceived problems within the cultural context from which they emerge.’ (Collins…, 2001: p. 38).

    The problem is that they would not be hired as Consultors in the first place if they did not adhere to a strictly orthodox theology. That is their bias and this will constrain their theological values and the conclusion that they will form. This is a contradiction in terms as theology is always developing and changing, much as science or any other branch of knowledge changes and develops.

    This unnecessary tension can be bypassed altogether through peer review amongst their colleagues in academia and in the review of their books and articles in theological journals. The CDF is as relevant to the 21st century as the United States Second Amendment of the US Constitution in 1789, as it relates to an unfettered gun ownership.

    • John Nolan says:

      All the above is simply a subjective opinion from a not disinterested observer. Either the Catholic Church is the one founded by OLJC or it (she) is not. If this is not the case, then all your hyperlinks and second-hand opinions are absolutely futile, and my faith and that of millions of others, is in vain. You spout complete nonsense and the sooner you have the humility to recognize this, despite countless references to equally tainted sources, the better. This is my last comment on this thread, which you yourself initiated, presumably because Quentin thought it might start a hare. He wasn’t wrong.

      • John Nolan says:

        “Discipline of the most draconian sort”. Was Collins incarcerated in a dungeon in the Castel Sant’Angelo? Alhough the prospect is an alluring one, if that were really the penalty for talking b******s the dungeons would be full and this blog would lose half of its contributors.

      • Ah, but which half?

      • John Candido says:

        ‘All the above is simply a subjective opinion from a not disinterested observer.’
        Well of course he is, he has just been given the experience of the CDF, and he wants to share it with us, warts and all. Bluster and aggressive attack will get you nowhere John Nolan.

        ‘Either the Catholic Church is the one founded by OLJC or it (she) is not.’

        I never said that the Catholic Church isn’t the one founded by Christ.

        ‘If this is not the case, then all your hyperlinks and second-hand opinions are absolutely futile, and my faith and that of millions of others, is in vain.’

        What an absolutely gross generalisation and exaggeration.

        ‘You spout complete nonsense and the sooner you have the humility to recognize this, despite countless references to equally tainted sources, the better.’

        You are not engaging with any of my points and it seems you have little interest in engaging in any of Dr. Paul Collins’ points either. I don’t see how making reasonable points is synonymous with arrogance, unless you simply attack when you are confronted by realities you would rather not be exposed to.

        ‘This is my last comment on this thread, which you yourself initiated, presumably because Quentin thought it might start a hare. He wasn’t wrong.’

        Oh dear! But you have made other posts since. I initiated this post and it was meant to engage people with rational thought and discussion. I never envisaged that it would descend to the depths it has gone to, nor was it a goal of mine.

        It is a very useful tactic of conservatives to engage in aggressive and irrelevant commentary the moment anybody gets anywhere nearer to the truth of any matter. It’s a classic time waster and everybody knows this.

  52. st.joseph says:

    John Candido
    As you obbiously dont know, Jesus didn’t die for my faith. He died for yours.

    Sorry Quentin, but I don’t hold my faith as a ‘point of view’.

    • John Candido says:

      Go back to serious written work st.joseph and stop haranguing me. I don’t care about what you believe in. You stick to your side of the street and I will stick to mine.

      • st.joseph says:

        John Nolan.
        I have just come back from a lecture on Blessed John Henry Newman, but have to ask what are the missing letters in your comment.
        I dont know that code!!

  53. John Nolan says:

    To restore a bit of sanity here, and thank you Paul Milligan for your measured response, it needs to be remembered that the post-Vatican II re-definition of the Holy Office was influenced greatly by Henri de Lubac (raised to Cardinal by JP II despite the fact that he was not a bishop) and Joseph Ratzinger. De Lubac was effectively silenced by his order, the Society of Jesus, in the 1950s. If the Roman Church does not allow speculative theology it risks becoming intellectually moribund, yet at the same time it has a duty to uphold the truth; if you don’t believe that the truth subsists in the Catholic Church (cf Vatican II) then you should really join another Christian denomination (there are hundreds of protestant ones to choose from.) Sitting on the sidelines and sniping at the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ is not an intellectually honourable position, yet certain commentators on this blog do just that (No names, no pack drill).

    • John Candido says:

      ‘If the Roman Church does not allow speculative theology it risks becoming intellectually moribund, yet at the same time it has a duty to uphold the truth;’

      That’s more like it; engagement with intellectual points. The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t need a CDF to maintain truth. It is an abject failure because it is inherently biased. Its bias completely informs it as a recipient of accusations from anonymous individuals. It also informs it as its role as a partial judge and jury. It is in the long-term interests of the church if it were to be shut down completely, or completely reconstituted to be a prosecutor and an impartial court will have to replace its juridical function.

      ‘…if you don’t believe that the truth subsists in the Catholic Church (cf Vatican II) then you should really join another Christian denomination (there are hundreds of protestant ones to choose from.)’

      I believe that truth exists in the Catholic Church or why would I bother with this blog. The truth of our faith as it is given authority by the ordinary magisterium is not the last word on truth. Truth comes from the doctors of the church, as well as from scientific matters, i.e. the laity.

      Keep you gratuitous advice about finding another congregation to yourself, as it is none of your business as to what church I belong to or not.

      ‘Sitting on the sidelines and sniping at the Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ is not an intellectually honourable position, yet certain commentators on this blog do just that (No names, no pack drill).’

      There has been a lot of sniping at me from the usual suspects over several years. I don’t snipe at the Church but offer reasonable and rational contributions. If you can’t stand rational thinking that doesn’t originate from your own mind, either keep silent or engage intellectually. Aggression and bullying others is a deliberate waste of time and ultimately futile.

      That is what is so embarrassing about Secondsight; it allows individuals a free venting of their anger and frustrations without a proper engagement with other people’s points of view. I would advocate a more activist editing of comments on this blog to get rid of irrelevant and aggressive commentary. Taking aim at other individuals who happen to have a liberal point of view is futile in the long run. I am not going anywhere and I am not going to tolerate or be cowled by aggressive bluster from any source.

      • John Nolan says:

        For the umpteenth time, JC, the CDF is not a court of jurisprudence. And it is necessary precisely because the post-Vatican II Church does not want to discourage speculative theology. No-one, not least the present Pontiff, wants a return to the days of Pius X or even Pius XII. The change of name in the 1960s was not simply window-dressing. The alternatives would be either a rigid adherence to traditional interpretations, as in the Eastern Churches (I know I am being a bit unfair here) or the doctrinal free-for-all which characterizes prsent-day Anglicanism.

        When using sources, remember that if someone has an obvious axe to grind, you must treat his testimony magno cum grano salis. I know it’s difficult if you sympathize with, or ideologically agree with him; but it must be done. In a previous post I quoted from an ultra-conservative website regarding the Curia. The point I was trying to make, and that you obviously missed, was that conspiracy theories and paranoia are not confined to the Left. By the way, the remark about other denominations was a general comment – ‘you’ in English is widely used impersonally. If I am addressing someone personally, I will make this clear.

        I get the impression that you only listen to arguments that support your preconceived ideas. The liberal position to you is the only ‘reasonable and rational’ one, ergo those who think otherwise are irrational, obscurantist, and even wicked, as they stand in the way of progress. During the Cold War I had to study the Soviet Union, where to go against the Party line risked landing you in a lunatic asylum; they were taking the above argument to its logical conclusion. Perhaps if the Soviet Union still existed it might cause so-called ‘liberals’ to realize just how illiberal they have become over the last thirty years.

        You say you believe that truth ‘exists’ in the Catholic Church. This isn’t saying a lot; Moslems, Hindus, even atheists could concede this, however grudgingly. Lumen Gentium, however, says that Christ established his Church as the pillar and mainstay (columnam et firmamentum) of the truth for all ages, and that this Church as constituted in this world ‘subsists’ in the Catholic Church: Haec Ecclesia … subsistit in Ecclesia catholica a successore Petri et Episcopis in eius communione gubernata. ‘Subsistere’ in Latin means ‘to stand still’, and ‘subsistit’ should be translated as ‘has its permanent abode’.

        For the record, I am neither angry nor frustrated, and although constraints of space make some generalizations inevitable, I try to be fair, although the temptation to be acerbic or sarcastic is sometimes difficult to resist. Your first sentence gives the game away – because you happen to agree with the opinion expressed, it is intellectual engagement, anything you don’t agree with is a gratuitous attack on either yourself or your cherished beliefs.

        Does your plea for more activist editing (ie censorship) apply equally to your own contributions?

        I get the impression from your comments that

      • John Candido says:

        ‘For the umpteenth time, JC, the CDF is not a court of jurisprudence.’

        You must thing that I haven’t got a single neurone in my skull! I never said it was a court of jurisprudence. It has an inherent and systemic bias to a Vatican orthodoxy that will inevitably clash with those who have been dilated (accused). There are two possibilities that come to my mind to avoid very talented, learned theologians who act out of integrity, from being subjected to an arbitrary and unjust process.

        One, abolish the CDF, which is my preference. Or two, convert the CDF into a strictly prosecutorial/investigative arm of a new canonical judicial system. As in secular courts of law, there are three recognisable arms; prosecution, defence, and an impartial judge. The CDF has too much power in that it embodies the prosecutorial/investigatory arm and a judicial arm in the one camera or office. This conflation is not in accord with an understanding of contemporary jurisprudence. A judge must be completely separate from the office of prosecutor and the defendant and his/her defence team.

        What needs to occur in this instance is that the Catholic Church must create a new canonical court that is totally independent of the Vatican, any other ecclesiastical court, dicastery, any head of a congregation, any member of the curia, any member of the Vatican bureaucracy, and especially any member of the CDF. It is only through such structures that any person accused of any offence under canon law will be accorded a presumption of innocence and a fair trial. This will go a long way to promote the better interests of justice for any theologian that has been dilated, and will bring the CDF closer to a formulaic body of justice, that is instantly recognised and acknowledged by the modern world as constituting due process, fairness, and justice.

        ‘And it is necessary precisely because the post-Vatican II Church does not want to discourage speculative theology.’

        This is precisely what the CDF does; it can potentially discourage developments or speculations in the theological sciences because of its structures of investigation and its bias towards orthodoxy. A presumption of innocence can only be properly administered by a canonical court that has an impartial judiciary.

        ‘When using sources, remember that if someone has an obvious axe to grind, you must treat his testimony magno cum grano salis.’

        Well of course you do. It is a single source and frankly, the book is probably the first of its kind. I have not heard of any other monograph that has given us this sort of information. The list of other people he has interviewed for his book includes, Hans Kung, Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, Charles Curran, Lavinia Byrne, Jeannine Gramick, and Robert Nugent.

        I am not in the habit of defending questionable propositions. However, has it occurred to you that Dr. Paul Collins may have a legitimate axe to grind?

        ‘By the way, the remark about other denominations was a general comment – ‘you’ in English is widely used impersonally.’

        Rubbish! Your sentence was not of a general nature. Your gratuity was directed at me.

        ‘I get the impression that you only listen to arguments that support your preconceived ideas.’

        Don’t you? What a laugh!

        ‘The liberal position to you is the only ‘reasonable and rational’ one, ergo those who think otherwise are irrational, obscurantist, and even wicked, as they stand in the way of progress.’

        That is a gross exaggeration of my liberal point of view. Conservatives as well as liberals can have the very same disposition as the one that you refer to above. My liberal position is my personal preference and I am as entitled to it as you are to your conservatism.

        ‘You say you believe that truth ‘exists’ in the Catholic Church. This isn’t saying a lot; Moslems, Hindus, even atheists could concede this, however grudgingly. Lumen Gentium, however, says that Christ established his Church as the pillar and mainstay (columnam et firmamentum) of the truth for all ages, and that this Church as constituted in this world ‘subsists’ in the Catholic Church.’

        My statement about truth existing in the ordinary magisterium of the church, the doctors of the church, as well as the laity (academics in the sciences and the humanities), says exactly what it means in English. The truth paradoxically possesses aspects of absolutism and relativism. Nobody and nothing has a monopoly of the truth. The truth is also relative to the human research of theologians, scientists, and academics in the humanities. Truth is relative because truth as knowledge changes through time as a result of new research.

        ‘For the record, I am neither angry nor frustrated…’

        Rubbish! Palpable nonsense!

        ‘…anything you don’t agree with is a gratuitous attack on either yourself or your cherished beliefs.’

        Rubbish!

        ‘Does your plea for more activist editing (i.e. censorship) apply equally to your own contributions?’

        If I am guilty of any gratuitous, unjustified personal attack, I should be censored for the better good of Secondsight. My return attacks are just that; a defence of my dignity because somebody has first attacked me for daring to present their own opinion on the blog. I have never initiated an ad hominem attack on any participant on Secondsight (except for those I delivered to Dr. Scott Lively & Mr. Kevin E. Abrams in ‘The Beam in the Eye’).

        I would far prefer to not deliver ad hominem attacks on anybody; however, you can reach a point of absolute disgust with others for their irresponsible ad hominem attacks on me, and I reached that point in the current topic after many years of letting them go. I still maintain that the blog would be substantially improved if there was a more rigorous editing of ad hominem attacks on any participant from any other person.

  54. Peter D. Wilson says:

    Quentin – Do you think it is time to stop – or at least attempt to stop – this unedifying squabble by closing the thread?

    • John Candido says:

      I agree. It is becoming too embarrassing.

      • st.joseph says:

        One doesn’t have to search the web sites for their faith.
        It will always be embarassing for those who do not have it.!
        It is like the Pearl of great price.
        But when it is lost it is hard to be found
        Like the landowner who sold everything etc.. , but I think the biggest mistake is, ‘then to bury it. bcause it is there to be shared!

      • John Candido says:

        ‘It will always be embarrassing (sic) for those who do not have it.!’

        Stop judging me st.joseph and mind your own business. You don’t know me personally, so you should not make any personal comment about me at all.

  55. Quentin says:

    No, let it stand as a monument to folly. Some of us will learn from it..

  56. mike Horsnall says:

    Not a full moon by any chance is it?

  57. Four days to the next disagreement, what will we do?

  58. mike Horsnall says:

    The really funny side to all this is to imagine it in 3D .. a .bunch of aging irate up chaps plus a few stroppy girls….. all sitting by themselves in small rooms fuming into their catechisms
    and planning the next assault …! I think it would make an excellent religious sit com-we could call it “The Disciples” anyone got any funding suggestions?

    • st.joseph says:

      I wouldn’t call it an assault- Just reasoning it all out!
      I would like to believe that we are not sitting by ourselves in small rooms, fuming into our catechisms, but rather believe that The Holy Spirit will be with us,guiding us in our thoughts,words, and deeds.And if we make a mistake,and misunderstand others, and forget our politness and good manner ,we will, be humble enough to say sorry. I leave the forgiveness to God.He has a lot more to give than me.
      I would not like the religious sit-com to get the wrong impression of Jesus’s Disciples!
      After all the blog is an Apostolate of Faith, Morals and Science.

    • John Candido says:

      Very funny Mike Horsnall! I like your commedic comments as they provide some relief to the acid throwing on Secondsight.

      • John Nolan says:

        And this from the iactator acidi famosissimus? Priceless!

      • John Candido says:

        John Nolan, stop hiding behind your predeliction for Latin. Get your facts straight! I don’t start any trouble, however other people have thrown insults at me for quite a long time on this blog. If they don’t like my return fire, maybe they should get out of the kitchen and find another blog that they would be happier with.

  59. John Nolan says:

    st joseph

    Regarding your point about missing letters, I suppose I could have emulated the Foreign Office official in the 1920s who wrote in the margin of a document ‘Round objects’, which led the Foreign Secretary, Sir Austen Chamberlain to enquire “Who is this Round, and what precisely is he objecting to?”

    • John Nolan says:

      Actually it might have been Lord Curzon. But, like the late AJP Taylor, I wouldn’t want to let facts stand in the way of a good story.

  60. John Nolan says:

    John Candido

    The reason for Latin is not simply because I understand it and you don’t (all the Council documents are available on the Vatican website in several languages) but that translation, particularly into a heavily Latinized language like English, is not always helpful; although the word ‘subsist’ exists in English most people would be hard pressed to define it. It is clear to me that you are not really interested in debate as such; to demolish your shibboleths by rational argument (and, by the way, when I actually ask you a question you always evade it) is interpreted by you as an ad hominem attack on yourself.

    I’m sorry to say this, but you come across as a petulant child. I cannot for the life of me understand how someone as intelligent as Quentin can take you seriously.

    • John Candido says:

      ‘The reason for Latin is not simply because I understand it and you don’t…’

      The reason for your use of a dead language is that you fancy yourself. It is rather heady when you can display your intelligence to the entire world in code that maybe less than 1% of readers will understand.

      ‘It is clear to me that you are not really interested in debate as such; to demolish your shibboleths by rational argument (and, by the way, when I actually ask you a question you always evade it) is interpreted by you as an ad hominem attack on yourself.’

      Rubbish John Nolan!

      • John Nolan says:

        When Prime Minister Harold Wilson was speaking on the hustings back in the 1960s (politicians don’t do this any more, but then we were still a functioning democracy) a heckler shouted “Rubbish!”. Wilson replied “I’ll get to your subject later”, and continued with his speech. It is well known to exorcists that the Devil has a particular hatred for Latin, a hatred shared by NuChurch liberals, which might not be coincidental. I can recommend a two-volume course on ecclesiastical Latin which starts from scratch and can be studied at home. It’s never too late to join the ranks of the educated!

      • John Candido says:

        Give me the link about learning Latin please.

      • John Candido says:

        Although I don’t make any claims to any specialist knowledge or andy specialist skills, I am just as educated in a general sense as you are John Nolan.

  61. John Nolan says:

    “Your gratuity was directed at me”. I can’t remember ever tipping you!

  62. John Nolan says:

    John Candido

    There is a blog called PrayTell which welcomes contributions from such as yourself and automatically deletes contrary opinions (although it maintains a token opposition in order to foster an illusion of balance). I think this is the blog for you.

    • John Candido says:

      As I have a small amount of interest in liturgical matters, apart from a personal desire for more silence rather than song after receiving the Eucharist, this blog is better left to those with an interest in such matters. More gratuitous advice.

  63. John Nolan says:

    John Candido

    Apart from anything else, and in view of some of your recent comments, I fear that any attempts to counter them rationally (your list of approved sources is a veritable rogues’ gallery of embittered malcontents) might tip you over into outright insanity. I would rather not have this on my conscience, so I shall bid you Good Night.

  64. Iona says:

    Mike – (March 6th, 8.29 p.m.)

    I had a long drive home through the dusk and moonlight tonight, and it certainly looked like a full moon to me.

  65. st.joseph says:

    I dont believe it has anything to do with the moon at all.!
    Unless they left a man up there when they were there. Oh, perhaps his name is Adam!

  66. John and John, please give us a break. However if I might comment on one matter. Jesus did a perfectly good job casting out devils by speaking Aramaic and even the Roman’s in Jesus time mainly spoke Greek. The use of Latin in the Roman rite is a tradition not Tradition. The thought of the devil wandering through humanity thinking to himself “I’ll be OK provided no-one speaks Latin” is as ludicrous as it is humorous.
    I think it’s the height of arrogance to suggest that someone who hasn’t mastered Latin is somehow ignorant. As for the NuChurch comment it is very easy to condemn everyone with whom one disagrees by the use of a stupid label.

    • John Nolan says:

      Be that as it may, but the continued use of Latin for over 1600 years in the Western Church gives it the status of a sacred language, and the fact that it is no longer a vernacular is a source of strength. English is constantly evolving, witness the way teenagers speak now, compared with how they spoke 50 years ago. Aramaic is a semitic language which Jesus would have spoken, and the fact that it is still used in the liturgy of some of the Eastern Churches no doubt qualifies it as a sacred language. But when the disciples sang psalms they would have done so in Hebrew, and some modern scholars think that Our Lord might well have used Hebrew when He instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

      Since we’re not omniscient, we are all ignorant to a greater or lesser extent. Ignorare (Lat), not to know, to have no knowledge of; the first person plural, present indicative active, is ‘ignoramus’.

      • I might be more convince of your love of Latin if you used it as a gift rather than a weapon. In a separate discussion I agreed that all priests should be required to acquire a reasonable facility in Latin as it is the foundational language of the Western Church -after all one would not study 19th century German poetry in any language other than German. I don’t dislike Latin but I really don’t like pseudo-elitism either.

  67. John Nolan says:

    John Candido

    It’s 50 years since Bl John XXIII issued Veterum Sapientia and the quotation I gave from Lumen Gentium dates from 1964, so to call Latin a dead language is a bit wide of the mark. When I went up to university to read Modern History in 1969 a qualification in Latin was a requirement – we were expected to study medieval historians in the language in which they wrote. The neglect of Latin since is partly due to an education system that eschews ‘difficult’ subjects (the same applies to modern languages) and in no small measure to the Catholic Church in its headlong rush to vernacularization in the 1960s. The books I find useful were written by Cora and Charles Scanlon in the 1940s and reprinted by TAN books; the first, ‘Latin Grammar’ covers everything needed for the Missal and Breviary, and the other ‘Second Latin’ prepares you for reading philosophy, theology and Canon Law.

    However, they are qute intense and for absolute beginners I would recommend the course ‘Simplicissimus’. My main regret in life is that when at school I turned down the opportunity of learning Greek. Oh, and ‘Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius’ is a Roman saying meaning ‘Whomsoever the god wishes to destroy, he robs of his senses first’.

    • st.joseph says:

      Do dotors still study Latin, I think they do!
      We still sing the Latin in Vespers, in parts of Holy Mass, Benediction hymns still in Latin.
      I dont see it a problem ,of course my age , learnt it at school, my children did too at Grammer school.
      If one does not understand it, they may easily search in the translation webs, as they seem to be used a lot here for other information.
      They may be able to understand English better by doing that.

      • John Nolan says:

        st joseph

        No, medical practitioners no longer require Latin and in the 1990s some buffoon abolished most legal Latin, although lawyers knew perfectly well what it meant. I have just purchased the new CTS Sunday Missal which apart from the Lectionary elements is blingual Latin-English, which is an encouraging development. Some of the extra-liturgical prayers are also in Latin, which most pre-Vatican II missals didn’t have.

        The Google translator is completely flummoxed by Latin, and makes a pig’s ear of modern languages as well. To acquire another language is hard work, which is why schools prefer to push ‘soft’ subjects.

        On papal visits abroad the pope now insists on the greater part of the Mass being in Latin. Unfortunately the prevailing ethos in most English parishes is ‘you can have any language as long as it isn’t Latin’. Needless to say, I avoid such places.

  68. John Nolan says:

    @ Paul Milligan

    Remember ‘Pseuds’ Corner’ in Private Eye? I would hate to be seen in that company, and so I have to concede that you have scored a palpable hit.

  69. momangelica says:

    Dear John C. I couldn’t respond to your “Gauntlet” as it has been a busy family and that made me think of how to approach your subject.
    Having raised three sons and three daughters and now a new grandson making three of those in total; I feel it is a window on the story of humanity itself. All similar – but different and extremely precious.
    We had our first grandson out of wedlock, and for a Catholic family who were well known in the Deanery, swallowing pride was the order of the day. So a dear little boy without an adequate father – not a perfect start and not the advantage his cousins experienced in their secure Mum + Dad setup. ( motto, pray, hope and pray.) = daughter, who kept her faith all the while,finding a church which suited ( Divine inspiration perhaps?) Priestly Fraternity of St Peter; in Reading. She met a wonderful young man last year who, by the way, has never ever attended a vernacular Mass and they were married in February.
    Now John, I have expectations of our Catholic Church even more than ever before because of all the “shoots around our table” that are appearing. One these is that the CDF do their duty to whip out of site any Prince of the Church failing in his duty so badly as to be endorsing modern ills.
    Contraception is an Intrinsic Evil! I don’t know if you agree to that but when studying the science of most contraception very few are safe for the women’s health. But more importantly it brings a fear of a baby being born more so than NFP. I’m not an academic as yourself John but maybe I don’t carry a burden because of it but I have a clear sight of what is right and what is not going to work no matter how you tweak it.

    • John Candido says:

      That’s fine Momangelica. We will not agree with every topic, but that’s OK. I would like to make some points of a general nature, which are not directed towards any person in a malicious sense.

      As long as there is no personal commentary of any kind, this blog will indeed shine very brightly for every participant and reader! It can become an excellent example of what can be achieved when a group of Christians from various walks of life get together in a spirit of goodwill. As I said to st.joseph in a previous post, people can stick to their own side of the street without this causing any ill will amongst us. There is simply no need for any aggressiveness whatsoever when we engage each other intellectually.

      • st.joseph says:

        Defending our faith in all honesty is not agressive.
        If it not attacked, it will not cause any reply of ill will..
        Unfortunately simple faith and devotion is not considered ‘intellectual, as I found out at a Blessed John Henry lecture on Wednesday!’
        So as long as we remember .

  70. momangelica says:

    I read about Bishop William Morris and would have been mighty angry if the Vatican officials had turned a blind eye. How they go about sorting him out? forget it! Bishop Morris ‘ problem for being a dissident, for lacking fidelity.
    He had an extremely important role of communicating the wisdom of the gifts of the Holy Spirit via the teaching authority of the Holy Roman Church.
    Back to Family. That is the shape the Church has.
    Dad at the top. Butt stops with him. Like it or not boys! ( and girls)
    Then comes Mum. Soft and comforting and regulating dad when he can become a bit too hard perhaps. ( Our Lady) Mary is Spiritually within the Church as she is joined with the Holy Spirit as Spouse.
    Elder brothers and sisters influence each other either helpfully or rebelliously, obediently in tune with mum and dad or by being obstreperous.
    Children have a freedom which have to be respected but guided, some times we win some times not.
    We need each other in our formation, being different with different needs, which are not always met by our parents. But the important issue is Fidelity to Dad and Mum. not being part of delivering treacherous blows to mislead Siblings and damage relationships within the family.
    The Church seems to me that way John, family ( shape ) seems to be a map that can be seen playing throughout many situations on this earth – subtle but definite.
    Now the problem I see that troubles you is it’s flawed men who run some of the mechanics within the Church.
    But it is so tiny compared to flawed ….anything run by man don’t you think?
    Never a perfect family but we do level out over years (and with prayers.) We tumble along John, seeing things that displease us in our upbringing but we meet others with worse experiences and somehow we do survive.

  71. momangelica says:

    The Church’s first duty is to the likes of us I think. Living out our vocation and delivering our side of the bargain; so she has the duty to remove the rebellious Siblings, especially the Princes’ of the Church ( Judas was one so nothing new there).
    What modern man has to say about this Spirit led Church (family) is not ever going to sit well with true Catholicism because Modernism is an ailment.
    Same sex marriage; to give an example.
    Then there is a drive to establish a freedom to choose if you want to continue being a male or female, a birth certificate can be altered to support what is blatantly a lie as a simple blood or DNA sample declares what you are. Forensic science is a truthful tool.
    And within the Church there are things /positions that people want to hold and to be part of that is not possible if you have the full understanding of the Holy Roman Church.
    Modernism turns truth upon it’s head warping the true shape of The Family and it would eventually destroy the Family (Catholic Church) so how harmful is that?
    Why would we be too caught up with the feelings of these renegades anyway? They choose to be like Judas.
    And, just like in a family, when someone wants something enough they will not leave it alone and under the pretext of …..whatever, they propose a thing; I see it so often with any child, it is inherent in us, self interest, invested interests etc.
    Peace cannot be underestimated. It may seem out of reach and we feel we have a reason for this lack of peace but do we? Ought we to let go and let God. He has his beloved Bride in His sights all the time and will definitely win over Satan’s desire to destroy Her.
    I pray for all priests faithful and unfaithful at each Mass John. I “pop” them into the chalice at the Offertory for protection, strengthening and encouragement; they have such an important role and I do not envy them.
    Peace be with you John.

    • John Candido says:

      I know that you are a busy mother as you have stated. But it might be a good idea if you could please read the introduction to this topic and have a go at making some considered comments on it. Thank you.

    • John Nolan says:

      Actually, John Candido will be taking time off from this blog as he is following my advice to learn some Latin.

      • John Candido says:

        I will not be learning any Latin as it is mostly a dead language and I have little interest in it. Conservatives love Latin and bury themselves in it. It is probably a sign of their modus operandi that they would prefer to bury their minds in Latin, rather than confront the many real problems the Catholic Church has at present.

        Here is a bit of arcane information, my University (La Trobe University) has taken as their motto: ‘Qui cherche trouve’, which is Latin for ‘whoever seeks shall find’. This invokes the values of curiosity and enquiry. This is a rather appropriate motto for secondsight. What about it Quentin?

      • John Candido, I’m not sure this reply will post in the correct place. I’m amazed that John Nolan hasn’t riposted that your university motto “qui cherche trouve” is actually French! Never mind, the “Latin Nut” brigade in the church never give up. After all, no one insists that you are less of a Christian if you don’t read scripture in the original Hebrew or Greek. A professional historian needs the languages of the periods they study so that they can interpret contemporary documents, similarly professional theologians, liturgists and church scholars need Latin as it is the language of the church. No one would dare insist that the African, Indian or South American church is less Catholic because they use vernacular languages, the obsession with Latin is almost entirely an Anglo-Saxon (with a few Celts thrown in) diversion. This is largely, I believe, because of our particular history of engagement with Protestantism which has produced, in the minds of some, a belief that the Church is entirely defined by the Council of Trent and the subsequent codification of the Missal.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you Paul Milligan for the heads up! Mottos are usually in Latin, at least I thought they are, and I simply assumed it was Latin. Well at least I now know it is in French! It is probably more appropriate in some way that a French motto should be Secondsight’s motto rather than one in Latin. It isn’t healthy to have a fixation on anything to the extent that it limits one’s capacity to appreciate present day problems in the Roman Catholic Church.

  72. Geordie says:

    Quentin,
    I began to read this blog a few months ago because you wrote in the Catholic Herald, that, although there was often disagreement, it was always done in a courteous and civil manner. I am afraid this doesn’t appear to be true any more. Recent exchanges seem to be full of rancour. They certainly don’t demonstrate Christian Charity. It doesn’t matter how right people think they are, they have no right to castigate those who disagree with them, in the manner they have been doing in the above posts. How are all these point-scorings going bring people closer to God. Richard Dawkins and his ilk must love to see Christians behaving like this.
    See how the Christians love one another.

    • st.joseph says:

      Iona.
      You asked me to find some information for you a while back, and I have eventually come across it. Sorry it took so long.Unfortunately it is too long to print here.

      It was a article in the Catholic Herald. Jan 9th 2009.Although I was told man y years ago at a study day in Birmingham University Hospital.
      ‘Contraceptive pill pollutes environment. say’s L’Osservatore’ It goes on to say-
      THE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL(in capitals) is polluting the environment and it is a major cause of male infertility in the West.
      It claimed that there is substantial evidence available to show that the environment was being flooded with synthetic female hormones because of widespread use of oral contraceptives and the morning after pill.
      According to L’Osservatore Romano, the result has been a ‘ devastating’ increase in male infertility and in the rising number of couples struggling to conceive children etc.

      It is very enlightening and a serious problem , I am unable to print it all. You may be able to get a copy from the Catholic Herald, or I could send it to you via Quentin, with his approval .
      I didnt forget you, but kept on searching.

      • st.joseph says:

        P.S.With S. A .G. ‘St Anthony’ Guide’-The finder of lost things, as you will know!

  73. momangelica says:

    John C.
    I thought I was making considered comments!!! But there, sadly, I am not an academic.
    My considered observations of your introduction are.
    These people you mention and quote from in your introduction are not in a position to tell the members of the Body of Christ what parts of the Churches teachings it can or cannot obey.
    They have an opinion- that is all.
    We have the most incredibly intelligent priests out there who could knock those dissenting voices into a cocked hat. They have worked it all out – it has all been worked out fool proof long ago.
    The way I see it is, as if a young intelligent pupil, through his pride, challenged the teachers on all the subjects instead of studying and letting the other pupils in his class study. It leads to a breakdown all round.
    These laws and lawyers are just men who have problems we do not know about. We have to trust someone and it should not be them over those placed in position by the Church.
    Also. If someone says they are members of a particular group but do not adhere to it’s principles but tries to change the group one would say why stay to change it if you do not like it, make a copy of your own design. But then they know this is the Church of Christ which even Satan believes in (and wants to change).
    All the talk about human rights, equality, justice and fairness is futile in this world as there is very little of any as we are not meant to have Heaven yet. This will come when God’s Kingdom is here. And while we have abortion that will not happen as human sacrifice is one of Satan’s empowering
    tools.
    Fr. Ian Walters can be an expert (in the worlds eyes) but he is not as guided as the Holy Father and my money will be on Benedict because he has been given to us through the working of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Ian may disappoint by eloping with someone in the future ( Bruce Kent sort of thing).
    Sophistication! What is a word? This one has a meaning and it rings of pride, self pride which is, again, Satan’s cause of downfall. But it has no real meaning.
    Lord! I belong to a Sophisticated Society, let me knock down your Church to accommodate it.
    God’s peace be with you dear John.

    • John Candido says:

      I have never claimed to be an academic but I have done a degree at a University. All I have as a qualification is a Bachelor of Arts. As a Catholic and a Christian, I have a desire to search for the truth as I see it. What has partly sparked my interest is the paedophilia scandal, the lack of vocations to the priesthood, and other problems that the Catholic Church seems to be suffering from. You don’t need to have a Bachelor of Arts to make a contribution to Secondsight. Perish the thought! If you have already read the introduction my apologies for asking you to.

  74. momangelica says:

    God’s word trumps popular opinion, archbishop teaches

    Rome, Italy, March 7 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Bishops should imitate St. Peter as leaders of the Church by following the word of God instead of shifting popular opinion, said Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa.
    FULL STORY »
    news@catho​licna.com

    This is exactly what I tried to say earlier in answer to John C. It turned up in my email a minute ago. Full story is really good.

  75. Iona says:

    St. Joseph – thank you very much for the reference. I’ll chase it up with the Catholic Herald.

  76. John Nolan says:

    Momangelica

    John Candido is not an academic either, and his sources of choice (Kung, who was told by the Holy Office he could not speak for the Church, which damaged his career not a whit, Balasuriya whose case should have been determined by his bishop and is now reconciled to the Church, Lavinia Byrne, an ex-nun and would-be priestess whom even the BBC no longer takes seriously, and Grammick and Nugent who tried to convince us that sodomy was OK after all) show you where he’s coming from.

    I’m glad you’re contributing to this blog, but be aware that to think with the Church (sentire cum Ecclesia) can leave you open to a lot of flak. My advice would be to plug away at the truth. Magna est veritas et prevalebit. And use plenty of Latin – that drives them to apoplexy.

    • momangelica says:

      John N.
      I read somewhere that Satan can understand Latin. Drives him nuts too.
      I also read last week that an Exorcist had a colleague who heard the devil say that each Hail Mary is like a blow to the head.
      While saying the Joyful Mysteries this evening with my husband, I considered that the “finding of the child Jesus in the Temple” was such a good one to unpack, He was only eleven and had the hierarchy enraptured as He showed them His understanding of scripture. He wasn’t opposing but confirming; He,God, bowed to Tradition.

      Introibo ad altare Dei Ad Deum qui laetificate juventutem meam
      Not quite what you are able to do but a sentence that never fails to thrill me.

      • st.joseph says:

        We had to learn all that off by heart at school.
        We didn’t need to read the english.
        It touched our souls.

      • John Nolan says:

        Introibo ad altare Dei. Said by a priest-martyr of the French Revolution as he ascended the scaffold (and in Mass vestments – the Jacobins did not even allow him time to change). Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. Said by me when I served my first Mass at the age of eight. My earliest memories are of the classic Roman Rite – it certainly brought joy to my youth.

      • John Nolan says:

        If you research the actual case on which the rather silly film ‘The Exorcist’ was based, the possessed boy (who knew no Latin) said to the first priest who attempted an exorcism: O sacerdos Christi, tu scis me esse diabolus; cur me derogas?

    • John Candido says:

      ‘…use plenty of Latin – that drives them to apoplexy. What a laugh!

  77. momangelica says:

    I don;t think the above link is working; so as not to miss the relevant item forgive me, but I will paste and copy.

    God’s word trumps popular opinion, archbishop teaches

    ROME, ITALY, March 7 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Bishops should imitate St. Peter as leaders of the Church by following the word of God instead of shifting popular opinion, said Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa.

    “According to Jesus’ words, a leader in the manner of Peter must be solid as a rock, he cannot be fickle, he cannot change with the winds of popularity, he must subject himself to God’s word,” the archbishop said at St. Peter’s tomb on March 7.

    Archbishop Hanus is one of 21 bishops from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas who are beginning their “ad limina apostolurum” (to the threshold of the apostles) visit in Rome.

    The visit kicked off with an early morning Mass on March 7 in St. Peter’s Basilica. Over the next six days they will meet with the Pope and Vatican officials to discuss the health of the Church in each of their dioceses.

    Archbishop Hanus preached about Matthew 16:18, in which Christ proclaimed “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.” He noted how “Jesus assigns the leadership responsibility to Peter only after Peter proclaims his faith in Jesus,” adding that “any leader must begin service by professing faith in Jesus.”

    He also said that the way Peter “did not choose to be a leader” is still the way leadership is given in the Church today. It still comes as “a gift, a call from Christ.”

    In terms of the papacy, “what Jesus entrusted to Peter is entrusted to the successors of Peter – the bishops of Rome – and in our day to Pope Benedict XVI,” he explained. This is because since the days of the early Church “someone had to decide” on matters of faith and morals.

    “According to the meaning of today’s Gospel, that responsibility of ultimate decision was given by Jesus to Peter and his successors.”

    This is why Christians, and particularly Catholics, have always “understood that Peter’s leadership role in the Church is so essential, it is an essential component of the Church,” he said.

    “It is part of what we believe, what we profess in our faith.”

    Like any leadership role in the Church, it is also a ministry based on service, so that “episcopal leadership, papal leadership, is for Christians and particularly for us Catholics a source of appreciation, assurance, guidance, peaceful acceptance.”

    The bishops’ schedule for today also included a meeting with the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. This evening they will be guests of honor at a reception hosted by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

  78. Geordie says:

    John Nolan
    Why do you want to drive people to apoplexy? What’s the point?

  79. John Nolan says:

    Sorry JC, the topic was your own (Quentin presumably had reasons of his own when he allowed you to instigate it) so you can’t complain when you are trounced, as you most certainly have been. When I ask you a direct question you never answer it – all you do is paste a quotation, which never includes the question, and then attach your comments to it. St joseph has a faith which quite frankly puts me to shame, but to you she is a mosquito who needs to be swatted. Your dislike for the Catholic Church and the successor of Peter is undisguised; since the only sources you consult are those you agree with, you are happy to castigate Benedict XVI as a reactionary, whereas those who have actually studied the man know that this is untrue.

    I honestly don’t know what to make of you; you seem to have some sense of humour and even an appreciation of irony which is rare among liberals – but rest assured you will not get an easy ride on this blog as long as I am able to contribute to it.

    • John Candido says:

      I am really saddened by your reply. You cannot seem to tolerate another point of view which is quite different to your own. Make no mistake John Nolan; I would rather that you did not leave this blog. You are quite an opponent with undoubted intellectual gifts. It is a shame that your intellect has in some way got in the way of your level of tolerance of others. You seem to view me in apocalyptic terms; as an eternal enemy of Christ, his church, and of Christianity in general. Why don’t you try to see me as a genuine critic of the church that would like to see it develop into a more contemporary and intelligent version of its current self, while simultaneously maintaining some of its Tradition and developing the same Tradition in the light of contemporary scholarship?

    • John N, John C has not been trounced because his basic point about fairness, openness and transparency in the operation of the CDF has not been addressed. All you and St Joseph seem to be able to say is that the church was instituted by Christ and therefore right. The examples chosen by John C might all be people who have had bad or wrong opinions but the basic question is not about them but how justice was administered to them.

      • John Candido says:

        Here here!

      • st.joseph says:

        I dont think that anyone is in a position to know how justice has be admisistered to them, only those in authority
        As the Church ‘was’ instituted by Jesus Christ, She has the responsibilty to correct error as momangelica said in her post.
        We dont know how many times they have been pulled up for their bad or wrong opinions.
        I would expect priests to do the same in their parish in line with the instructions of the Church,not their own opinions either.
        Hence the failure to protect the Truth or truth small t.
        The apostles were arguing amongst themselves, that is why Jesus instituted Peter the head of the Church, he knew in advance who would argue who is the greatest!
        Without order, comes chaos!
        John Candido will argue about his catholocism but he must remember also that to be a member of the Catholic Church, there are obligations that apply to us all, they being the 6 Commandments of the Church.

      • John Nolan says:

        I don’t actually remember saying that. But I will bow to your superior knowledge -)

      • John Nolan says:

        But I did address it, several days ago, and you appeared to take my point. If I thought the Church was not instituted by Christ I would not be a Catholic, but to assume that everyone who claims to speak in her name is ipso facto correct is not something I would ever advocate. But I do believe that “the Church cannot err in what she teaches as to faith or morals, for she is our infallible guide in both”.

      • Vincent says:

        John, I recognise your “infallible guide” from the penny Catechism. So I probably learnt it at the age of 8. I was too young to have understood that this was a simplified answer about principle. Later I was taught the general rules for distinguishing between infallible teachings and authoritative teachings. This prepared me for occasions when I saw the Church revising its teachings. I also learnt that, even though I was a layperson, my witness to what the Church believed as its understanding grew through the work of the Holy Spirit (as Jesus had said would be the case) was valuable. I hope it will continue to be.

        In the topic in question here, you have emphasised that the CDF procedures were not by way of a trial, and should not be judged by that criterion. I suppose much the same could be said of the Inquisition – which was not bound to give me the opportunity to answer charges, or even to know who my accusers were. However if I am a cleric or a theologian whose future and whose reputation is very much in the hands of the sole decision of the CDF, I would rather the justice meeted to me was seen to be done. And I feel that the Church, who has many good things to say of the rights and dignities of human beings, made in the image of God, should give me the very highest standard– not just as good as a secular court but better.

        Leaving aside its formal procedures, the CDF has a widespread reputation for discourtesy, failing to reads texts carefully, and unwillingness to answer pertinent letters. This does not surprise me since many of the local clergy are much the same. Of all the Curia, the CDF is distinguished by its lack of Christianity

      • Peter D. Wilson says:

        “the CDF has a widespread reputation for discourtesy, failing to reads texts carefully, and unwillingness to answer pertinent letters. ” In other words, it’s like management elsewhere.

      • John Candido says:

        Thank God that both Vincent and Geordie are both fully alive through the active and independent use of their minds. Wonderful!

        Peter D. Wilson’s statement that the CDF is the same as any example of secular management is sort of correct, but misses the point that the church should and can be an example to its many doctors who are accused of being unorthodox. It is an incomplete, hurtful, and unjust method of assessing the doctors that does not accord them proper standards of jurisprudence and is attentive to their human dignity. Peter D. Wilson’s comment misses the obvious point that the CDF’s modus operandi is palpably ancient, has conflated the judicial and investigatory/prosecutorial arms, and needs vitally urgent reform.

      • John Candido says:

        My apologies for neglecting the word ‘not’ in, ‘It is an incomplete, hurtful, and unjust method of assessing the doctors that does not accord them proper standards of jurisprudence and is NOT attentive to their human dignity.’

  80. John Nolan says:

    Make no mistake, JC, I tolerate all points of view, however extreme, because they are precisely that; but I maintain the right to criticize them. I am not in the slightest bit interested in your beliefs; as GK Chesterton put it: “For your God, or dream, or devil, you must answer, not to me.” I will, however, stand up for the Holy Roman Church against her manifest enemies, including so-called scientists who seem to have bamboozled you.

  81. Geordie says:

    St Joseph
    Forgive me but I don’t understand your ‘mea culpa’ reply. All I asked was why does John Nolan wants to drive people to apoplexy. I would like him to reply. It seems very unChristian to me even if he is right in what he says.

  82. John Nolan says:

    John Candido

    ‘modus operandi’. Second declension masculine noun, nominative case, followed by a gerund in the genitive case. I suspect you have been swotting up on the quiet.

    • John Candido says:

      I am not interested in Latin I am afraid.

      • John Candido says:

        I am far more interested in serious, considered, intellectual, and relevant posts dealing with the subject matter of ‘The Church and the Rule of Law’.

      • John Nolan says:

        Actually you are not interested in anything that might contradict your pre-conceived notions.

      • John Candido says:

        Of course we have probably ‘done’ this topic and will probably not see quality replies again. I hope that I can be proven wrong. You are incorrect John Nolan. I want to see relevant replies regardless of whether or not I agree with them. Whether they are of my own persuasion or not; I would like to read them. In reading them and trying to rebut them or agree with them, can lead me to unexpected ideas that I might not have thought of before. Other people’s writing that agrees with me or not, provides me with a stimulus to creative thinking. That’s why I want to read opposing and agreeable points of view that are relevant, rational, informative, and produced through effort.

  83. st.joseph says:

    John Candido.
    ‘The Church and the Rule of Law- The first rule is obedience.! The second one is not to publically
    disagree with it, when one has been given a reason for the Churches teachings.
    Thirdly if one breaks it, to go and confess. 4th – last and not least, pray for the grace of understanding , so that your soul can rest in the peace of Christ and His Church.
    The Lord understands the difficulty of those who just ‘dont get it’!

    • John Candido says:

      This sounds like a gulag!

    • st.joseph says:

      P.S.
      John Candido.
      There is a 5th and that is write to the Holy Father, and explain your difficulty-then he may offer Holy Mass for you.
      It may help with your thoughts.

      • st.joseph says:

        There is a 6th ,study the CCC ,that we as catholics did when it came out.Or read all the Documents, they are all on the web.
        Then write to the Holy Father.
        These are genuine information to your seeking of knowledge, and not in any way meaning to be offensive.
        We all have to know our faith and what it teaches. The first book I bought for my children when it came out (because I knew at the time they wouldn’t buy it themselves, thats what mothers do.
        I hope this is helpful to you.!

      • John Candido says:

        Thank you most sincerely st.joseph for your helpful suggestions.

  84. John Candido says:

    I am afraid some participants on this blog have a modus operandi that involves blindness to what is actually going on in the church, out of an excessively fierce loyalty to Rome. To look the other way is not in the best long-term interests of the church, or in the best interests of any of its members.
    To abdicate the need to think for yourself is comforting because there is no effort that you have to expend. Freedom has responsibility. To hand one’s freedom over to another authority and place one’s mind in a vegetative state, is the height of irresponsibility. All of this does not or need not deny that the church has an ordinary magisterium, which is informed and balanced by the doctors of the church and scientific and other academic matters, which are the preserve of the laity. Part of being fully alive is the freedom and desire to think for oneself, and participate in ecclesiastical affairs as members of the laity.

    • John Nolan says:

      I see where you’re coming from, but you’re still wrong. Faith is a supernatural gift of God, not just one opinion among many.

      • John Candido says:

        I think you are conflating faith with one’s personal theological position. There are three valid, broad, and well known theological perspectives within Catholic Christianity, which are equally valid and legitimate. They are liberalism, a moderate position, and conservatism. Faith is one thing, and one’s theological position is another. They are distinctly different entities.

  85. Quentin says:

    There have been occasional queries about contributions which have appeared in odd places. I suspect that this comes about when a contribution is part of the reply to an earlier contribution. It then automatically appears under the original contribution and former replies to that contribution. And this may be some pages back.
    Thus Vincent, at March 10th 6:18, which probably needs a response.

    • st.joseph says:

      Vincent.
      To reply to your comment March 10th 6.18.
      ‘You say the CDF has a widespread reputation for discourtesy, failing to read texts carefully and unwillingness to answer pertinent letters’

      Where do you find this information,I would like to read it, as I believe without the evidence, this creates gossip and scandal.
      As far as I am concerned ,they are a little slow in dealing with matters of disobedience!
      Thank God now ,it is beginning to keep hold of the situation- in the past the old saying was relevant ‘given an inch they will take a foot, given a foot thay will take a yard and so on.
      The example can be seen clearly with the disobedience of the Dominican priest (ex) Matthew Fox..People were brainwashed.The liberals loved it!
      His Order let him carry on regardless of his ‘teachings’ his books and his meetings ,especially in my Diocese was scandalous, which my Bishop then did nothing!
      It was only when he was cashered out of his Order by Cardinal Ratzinger
      He is now an Anglican. Thank God for Cardinal Ratzinger

      One needs to be at his meetings to know the real him, and the femenists and nuns who were his followers.
      No wonder we have no vocations.
      .

      • st.joseph says:

        P.S.
        And plenty of priests too at his meetings.
        They were there the same as my husband and I, so maybe they reported him to Rome.
        I will give them the benefit of the doubt, But my husband and I did not ‘clapp’ at his comments!!!

      • Vincent says:

        St.Joseph, you ask me for this because you are concerned about scandal. It was because of scandal that I made only a very brief reference just to prevent people from getting the wrong idea. However as you challenge me, I set out some relevant remarks from a book review by Michael Walsh. It was published in The Tablet which I realise is a periodical disliked by at least one contributor. However Michael Walsh is, or was, chief librarian at Heythrop College, University of London. He is one of the best informed Catholics I know – and one of the most loyal to the Church. It would I think be legally unwise to suggest that he was giving anything other than his well-informed view. And, in fact, the day to day behaviour of the CDF is generally well known.

        This was published in 2001. Some may hope that matters have improved since then although the Morris case suggests otherwise. However the head of the CDF in 2001 is still around. We call him Holy Father.

        “…there are issues of human rights involved – the right to be heard, the right to know one’s accusers, the right not to have the same individuals as prosecutor and judge…most striking to me, however, as I read these stories was the plain and simple discourtesy displayed by the CDF. The books which are under censure are not properly read; letters go unanswered; those accused are rarely approached personally, but through their superiors…There is in Rome a small group of people of a particular theological persuasion who are able through the CDF to enforce their view of theological truth on the Catholic Church…The CDF is doing great harm to the Church.”

      • John Candido says:

        Magnificent! Here here!

  86. John Nolan says:

    Vincent, 10 March 6:18

    Yes, it needs a response, since the thrust of your agument is by no means wrong. In a normal court of judicature it is people who are on trial, through their actions and not their ideas, although the way things are going in our so-called democracies might cause me to revise that opinion before long. All the CDF can do is to to reprobate ideas and opinions which after investigation are found not to be consonant with the doctrine of the Church, and unless we are going to have a doctrinal free-for-all, as in the CofE, I can’t see any alternative to the Congregation. Kung was promptly found another chair by the Catholic university at which he taught, and pointedly refused the olive branch offered him by his erstwhile colleague Benedict XVI; Boff was dealt with by his own Order, the Franciscans, and subseqently left the priesthood. The fact that JP II handed over the investigation of clerical sexual delicts to the CDF, which is really not part of its remit, can be accounted for by the fact that the only one he trusted to deal with the matter was Cardinal Ratzinger, who promptly did so, after having read all the files, although he has received precious little credit for it.

    • John Candido says:

      ‘In a normal court of judicature it is people who are on trial, through their actions and not their ideas…’

      This is a sideshow with a hall of mirrors! Why? Because any doctor who is dilated (accused) is on trial for his/her action of publishing a book or journal article that has come to the attention of the CDF.

  87. John Nolan says:

    All the same, it is the opinion which is condemned, not the person advancing it. The penalties under canon law are only efficacious if the recipient believes them to be; as a commentator remarked earlier, Jack Mahoney would only be amused by any sanctions imposed by the CDF. And his own Order, the Society of Jesus, ceased to enforce any discipline years ago.

    • John Candido says:

      There is a far greater cost to a delated individual that has been found guilty of unorthodoxy. The price can be dismissal from his/her University post, with their reputations impugned, their human dignity very severely bruised, and be in internal exile as has happened to many individuals of integrity, for example Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ.

      Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s exile lasted for most of his life. To quote from chapter 2 of Dr. Paul Collin’s book, ‘From Inquisition to Freedom’, 2001, published by Simon & Schuster, Sydney Australia,

      ‘Both the Holy Office and the Jesuit Generalate had files on Teilhard’s views, especially on original sin, from as early as 1924. He was never able to publish his most creative work in his own lifetime and, right at the moment when he was admitted to the Legion d’Honneur (June 1947) by the French government, the Holy Office told the Jesuit General, John Baptist Janssens, that his work might well be put on the Index. He spent the last years of his life in ‘exile’ in New York, where he died as is buried (Collins, P. …, 2001: page 32).

      It is a travesty of justice that such people of integrity and intelligence, who have dedicated their lives to academic research in the service of the church and the world, be treated in such an abhorrent manner. It is a scandal!

      • st.joseph says:

        JC.
        Dont worry your head about all these things.
        They will be all written down in the book of numbers, Good and bad alike.
        No one will be missed out.
        Where the bad works will be forgotten and the good retained!.
        Make no mistake about that!

      • John Candido says:

        I would rather do something about them this side of Heaven. Doing nothing is just what I was talking about above on the 11th March 2012 at 3:05am. Thank you.

  88. Peter D. Wilson says:

    To John Candido on March 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm – I did not intend my comparision of the CDF with secular management to flatter either party; quite the reverse.

  89. John Nolan says:

    JC, what do you mean by a doctor? I can assure you that all the recognized Doctors of the Church are entirely orthodox. If, however, you mean a medical practitioner, please say so. Not for the first time, I am completely baffled as to what you’re going on about.

  90. John Nolan says:

    JC, I presume when you say ‘dilate’ you mean ‘delate’.

    • John Candido says:

      My apologies about the misspelling! You are right for once!

      Concerning the description ‘doctor’, it means academics that inevitably have a doctorate in theology, history, or philosophy. It has nothing to do with ‘The Doctors of the Church’, which usually refers to some iconic, historical Catholic notary.

  91. st.joseph says:

    Vincent.
    Thank you for you reply.
    Yes we all know about the ‘Smoke in the Vatican
    We have all read the books
    Michael Walsh, Malachi Martin, Michael Rose, Donna Steichen, .Fr John O Conner etc, to name a few.

    But however to take things out of context , when you speak about the CDF and its discipline with Fr Mahoney, Bishop Morris, and all those other liberals who need to be brought into line with Church authority is mudding the waters.
    and not the issue with the Church and the Rule of Law.

    We all can make comments abou

    • st.joseph says:

      P.S. To finish the sentence ‘
      ‘about things in the past’
      Thats is why it is being put right now! We ought to be in favour of that dont you think? And not agreeing with more liberals.

      • st.joseph says:

        JC.
        The very reason we are behind the Church’s teachings and defending the Pro Life movements,. Anti Abortion Campaigns, Family Life. Catholic Catechesis taught properly in our schools Proper teachings of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Proper devotion to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.,also the Saints. Proper Reverance at Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of Calvary(not a party)etc etc etc.
        All through the misinterepation of The Second Vatican Council.
        Are you with us on all this or against us? Or with the Liberals who are out not to only change the Church-but destroy.?
        Because Satan is trying his best- but won’t succeed Confusion is his weapon.
        And so many are today.
        We have not only to battle with him but against his angels And they appear ‘angels of Light
        Jesus said to His Apostles ‘Be on your guard, unfortunately many are not!!

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