On September 15th next, in Portlaoise, a meeting of Catholic priests will take place to consider setting up an association of Irish priests. Some of these priests recently met in Athlone and discussed the possibility of encouraging a public voice for Catholic priests in Ireland. For a complete story on their agenda click HERE.
At first I thought it sounded like a good idea, and time will tell, but I was a little dismayed to see the people who are heading it up are all the 'Vatican II spirit' priests, who do not subscribe to the hermeneutics of continuity, but, more often than not, are part and parcel of the hermeneutics of rupture and discontinuity (as referred to by Pope Benedict in a recent communication). For more on the Pope and continuity see HERE
Maybe they will be part of the continuity, I don't know, but from what I've heard in the last number of years, they probably would be better off joining the Protestant community with which they seem to have a lot in common. Some of these priests already have a public voice through newspaper columns and weekly radio slots but it seems that the Holy Spirit cannot get near the programme line up because they cannot go beyond John O'Donohue and John Michael Talbot. John O'Donohue left the priesthood, was living with his partner until his sudden death in 2008. John Michael Talbot was a celibate monk, who got married in 1989.
Unfortunately John O'Donohue got bitten by the celtic spirituality bug and much of his work was on retrieving the earthiness of this same strange spirituality. If you check out google you'll find new-age, and neo-paganism under Celtic spirituality. There is no such thing as 'Christian, celtic spirituality'. There was pre-Christian spirituality, which was pagan, and part of Druidism and there is neo-paganism.
Some of the priests say that Pope John Paul II let them down. He led them to the top of the mountain but nothing happened! They forget that Jesus came down the mountain after the transfiguration, knowing that it was his death and resurrection that would bring about redemption. There can be no resurrection without death. You cannot take a helicopter ride to the top of the mountain and say you've climbed to the summit. There are no shortcuts to the Kingdom. We all have to take up our cross and follow Jesus if we want to be his followers. If not, then they should come clean, tell the world they have a 'wife' or a partner (male or female), do the decent thing, go to the nearest exit and join the communities who share their vision.
P.S. No offence to my Protestant brothers and sisters, it's just recognising the difference and allowing Catholics to be Catholics and Protestants to be Protestants or as Paddy Anglican said until very recently, Anglican!