Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Serving Tea

I know a woman who did a degree in theology. Following her primary degree, she decided to do a Masters. On obtaining her Masters she announced she was going on mission to Africa, and hoped to be working in a university. When I asked about her work, she replied, "oh, I don't mind if I just get to make the tea, I just would love to be in the university environment."

As it happened the mission was put off for a while and in the meantime she ended up in another country where she went to a Catholic conference. She introduced herself to the organisers and told them about her qualifications and if in any way she could help, she would be delighted. The organisers thanked her and asked her if she wouldn't mind helping out with the teas as they had no one to serve the tea. She left the conference and reported that it was the worst conference she ever went to, not what she had expected at all.

Ambition is a terrible thing. To serve or to lecture, that is the question!

The Moral Journey?

I listened to Dr. Suzanne Mulligan, a lecturer in Moral Theology at The Milltown Institute, Dublin, give a talk at the Knock Shrine Novena last week. The title was 'The Moral Journey':
Here's an extract:
Perhaps something new can be born out of this terrible time we are in. But that is an invitation for all of us to take our part. That leads us to the question of renewal in the Church. In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s a renewal took place in Catholic theology culminating in the Second Vatican Council. Pope John XXIII who called that Council, famously likened it to opening the windows of the Church and letting in the light and the air to refresh an otherwise dark and stuffy place. His vision was of a Church that would be relevant in the rapidly changing world of the 1960s. A Church that could contribute with confidence to the global conversation. In short, he wanted to update the Church. We must face the issues of today's Church with the same courage and determination that Pope John XXIII showed when he called the Council. So, what sort of renewal would I like to see? Well, I believe if we are serious about renewal we must focus on a number of things. And for me, one of the most important is the need to become more welcoming, an inclusive Church. What do I mean by that? What are the implications? What we need to ask, whether, like Jesus, we are a Church that welcomes all people, the sinner as well as the saint. Is there place at our table for the gay couple living together, for the divorced and remarried, for the bad neighbour or the bad parent. Will we welcome the abuser? If we are serious about reconciliation then we need to confront questions such as these. Also renewal must be forward looking. Renewal of structures, attitudes and policies will contribute to the repentance that must take place in our Church at present.

I'd like to ask Dr. Mulligan her own question? What does she mean by that? Does she mean that anyone living an openly gay relationship should be allowed to receive Communion? Does she mean that divorced and remarried couples should be allowed to receive Communion? A bad parent is not on the same par as the two examples above. Where does she get her theology from? A liberal, feminist college?
Call the Vatican visitation help line. God help us!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bah! Humbert!

What's happening?

August 2010: Humbert Summer School has its annual gathering of hacks to discuss politics and culture and the Church. It was set up by John Cooney, a columnist with the Irish Independent newspaper. Cooney has been writing articles in his column about the Catholic Church hierarchy and his dream to erase the current group of bishops and replace them with his 'chosen few' and above all to oust Cardinal Seán Brady. His inside contacts in Rome inform him who should take the seat of Armagh and he writes about it. Groupies?

He belongs to a group of like minded individuals who oppose Church teaching on many issues especially women priests and the way bishops are appointed. They want democracy! This year he has invited from America 'bishop' Bridget Mary Meehan and the keynote speaker was Robert Blair Kaiser who has told Irish Catholics to " Tell bishops to 'get the hell out of our cathedrals."

To understand all of this nonsense you need to understand Irish History and General Humbert. The rebellion of 1798 failed. In a strange sort of way one wonders if the hand of God was in it. Had the French revolutionaries won - where would we be now? We would be a Republic of the French revolution type. We would be 'enlightened ones'. Instead Ireland had to wait more than a hundred and twenty years before freedom of a sort came. First in 1922 and finally in 1937 with the Irish Constitution. It was very pro-Catholic. Why? Because Catholics had suffered persecution by the British for almost 300 years, persecution that tried to wipe out the Catholic Faith in Ireland, persecution of the sort that had never been seen anywhere, not even in China or Japan. The Constitution was drawn up, not to establish a secular Enlightenment ideology that some of the 'rebels' of 1798 had wanted, but a true Republic based on freedom of religion and the protection of Catholic/Christian/religious believers to live in peace and harmony without interference from any tyrannical, imperialistic, foreign rule.

So, it appears that Cooney is fighting the secular 'enlightened' side of the battle and every year he celebrates Humbert's arrival in Killala Bay, Co. Mayo and enlists 'enlightened' generals from overseas to fight his battles. Will someone please tell him that they lost and that the battle is over.

Newstalk interview with Anthony Murphy of Catholic Voice

Friday, August 20, 2010

David Quinn in Our Lady's Shrine, Knock, 2010

You're a man....

I posted an article on Twitter last week called I'M A MAN to which I received a reply from @tomlowe and @fihyde.

Interesting questions. 1) Am I a woman first and a Catholic second? 2) It seems that I have admitted there is such a thing as sexual orientation so this means that heterosexual orientation is not the only biological option. Firstly, I am not my beliefs. I am a woman. I have certain beliefs. My beliefs shape the person that I am. Secondly, yes, of course there is such a thing as sexual orientation, otherwise the world would not be populated, (SEXUAL ORIENTATION: describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to men, women, both genders, neither gender, or another gender - ref. wiki)
Thirdly, re the reference to biology - the scientific study of the natural processes of living things - it seems that the psychologists, scientists and the professionals cannot say exactly what causes sexual orientation but they do say the following:

research suggests that it is by a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences, with biological factors and a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment.

It is a fact that some people have different sexual orientations to others. Of course that's true. But what I found interesting from the article 'I'm a man' is the distinction the young man makes between having a particular sexual orientation and being a man.

The article is to do with a young, Catholic professional who recently came out as a homosexual to friends and family.
The young man says:
I don’t believe that “gay” is a valid category, the way “male” and “female” are. I used to think being gay meant being a different kind of person altogether—like a third gender. These days I think that it’s something I have, not something I am.....The best way to sum it up is something a very good priest once said to me in confession. He said, “You’re not a homosexual. You’re a man..

If you take the meaning of ORIENTATION as: the particular preferences, tendencies, beliefs or opinions that a person has, then your understanding of sexuality is very different to the meaning of being of a certain sexual orientation.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Church will survive

Here's a letter published on the the Irish Times website. It is in response to an article by Mary Raftery.

It is a dark period for the Church, but I'm sure the Church will survive and grow into the future and continue to offer support and spiritual guidance to the billions of people who follow the teachings of Christ. There seems to be a confusion in the manner that many "outsiders" condemn the Church in that they cannot seem to separate the Church which teaches Christ's message of the Gospel and a particular group of individuals who have brought shame and corruption to the institutions of the Catholic Church.
Child abuse is not specific to the Church, although to listen to some of the condemnation from outside forces with their own particular agendas, you would think that this was an issue specific to this organisation. Some irrational and emotional fringe commentators have even called for the Church to be abolished. Of course there was denial, of course there was cover up. There was abuse in State run institutions here yet no one is calling for the state to be abolished. Particular aetheist groups are jumping on the bandwagon in outright condemnation of the Church.
It's up to the Church to sort out it's own internal affairs. After all, there was a reticence on the part of the civil authorities to get involved in this matter at the time and to bring criminal prosecutions. If there are criminal actions to be taken against individuals they should be taken without hesitation. That's up to the authorities.
"International criminal conspiracy". I don't think so. Church authorities just wanted to turn a blind eye. Most of the civilian population here wanted to turn a blind eye also. We're all knowledgeable after the fact. Some seem to be all knowing in their opinions. Hindsight is a great thing.
I'm not part of the Church, but I can see a great resurgence in this Religion in the future once it has cleansed itself from those who carried out these acts of corruption.
"Black hole". Aetheism and capitalism has carried society into a black hole. Spiritual belief will be the shining light that guides people back, and the Church with it's many pure believers will be a strong spiritual force once again.
The Church has survived over 2,000 years through many dark periods, but through many dark periods in human evolution the Church has been a light of guidance to many, many people.
Today, 10:38:59

The 80 year old woman from Cork

Things are bad in Ireland when an 80 year old woman calls on all catholics to boycott Mass on the 26th September, as a protest against the Church re the Murphy report and the treatment of women. It's not the call to protest that's bad, but asking people to stay away from Mass, a day of obligation, where we are obliged to attend Mass and the amount of press coverage given to it that is quite mad. People have lost all sense of reason in this country. The Church, as a rule, has never had women priests in 2,000 years of history, so why use the scandals to promote the equality agenda which is politically motivated. Does this little old woman think for one minute that a woman priest would be less likely to cause scandal in the Church. She forgets it was a woman, Eve, who tempted her male companion, to sin. What was the sin? Disobedience. The evil one, the serpent, obviously knew he couldn't tempt the man, but he knew a woman could! So there we have it. The fall from grace began with a woman. But all was not lost. The restoration of grace came about through no less than a woman, who was totally obedient to God, and said a full 'yes' to His will for her in her life. This obedience brought into the world the Light of the world for our salvation.

When women stop trying to be men and be true women, they will have great peace and fulfillment in being women. I want to publish a letter I found in the Irish Times today on this subject. Says more than I can say:
Madam, – When I lived in Northern Ireland I helped the charity Parity to prosecute the then British government in the European Court of Human Rights for discrimination against men in the way the state pension was paid to women five years earlier than to men.

Although we won the case, 10 years on the change has still not yet been implemented and to this day men in Northern Ireland continue to be routinely discriminated against. When we won the right to equal access for men to free travel, the BBC covered the story by interviewing women only and presenting it as a backward step for women.

My complaint to it about unfairness was rejected on the grounds that “only women were affected by the change”. There were of course other aspects of discrimination against men which we overturned, in terms of gender-biased prescription charges, winter fuel payments, widowers’ benefit, etc, but the media has been strangely unwilling to publicise them.

There is continuing discrimination against men in this country: for instance virtually all workplace deaths involve men, as women continue to be under-represented in the most dangerous jobs, but every year the HSA fails to mention this in its report, and the media fails to make it an issue. There are many other examples.

Eithne Reid O’Doherty (August 12th) needs to understand that political representation is about recognising, respecting and delivering the needs of all your constituents, not just those of the her gender. Equality is for everyone, not just for women. – Yours, etc,


Ard Haven,


The new priests' association

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!