Tuesday, 30 December 2008

WARNING – Deadly Self-Excommunication Virus

With thanks to ARCC Spot Light:

"Self-Excommunication Virus" attack defense

Beware a recently identified virus. Once activated, you have 30 days to live as a Roman Catholic. Other Christians are not affected. Apparently any Roman Catholic who has openly supported women's ordination, stemcell research, homosexual civil rights, even Obama for President, (and others yet to be identified) are susceptible and considered a potentially dangerous carrier.

If Susceptible: (You have supported or sent opinions on these topics)

1. Avoid thinking about these topics.
2. Purge your Deleted and Waste Basket files
3. Do not open materials you might be tempted to respond to as idiotic
4. Never allow the truth as you know it to confuse any issue.

If Already Targeted:

1. IMMEDIATELY purge your intellectual hard drive - there is no known cure.
2. Closing your connection will not stop the automatic excommunication.
3. A Malware Repair kit is available, but the cost is too high.

Long Term Prognosis:

The good news is that the effects of this virus wears off eventually. You will function normally, and in the process learn that most of your fellow Catholics are carriers as well. Fortunately, you will have had an Adam and Eve experience - and now know better the difference between good and evil, - called a "Happy Fault" by St. Thomas.

More about ARCC can be found at

Not Counting the Women and Children

In this Christmas season I have been rereading Megan McKenna's book "Not Counting Women and Children". There is much food for thought in it and some eye and mind-opening insights.

On the Amazon website a customer sums it up thus, "This is a marvel to read. If you have ever wondered about the importance and the role of women within the Bible I thoroughly recommend this book. It is very insightful and scripture based. It is well written and challenged me to reconsider the role of women within scripture. It brings familiar passages out in a brand new light. It is an affirmation that women, and others that are not always counted as important by society, really do have a special place in God's heart."


Saturday, 20 December 2008

Advent - Archbishop Oscar Romero

Advent should admonish us to discover in each brother or sister that we greet, in each friend whose hand we shake, in each beggar who asks for bread, in each worker who wants to use the right to join a union, in each peasant who looks for work in the coffee groves, the face of Christ. Then it would not be possible to rob them, to cheat them, to deny them their rights. They are Christ, and whatever is done to them Christ will take as done to himself. This is what Advent is: Christ living among us.

** Archbishop Oscar Romero ** December 3, 1978

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

From darkness to light

Hello everyone,

As a newcomer to the WAC discussion group I did promise to let you all know my background, my life experience, particularly as it relates to the Church, and my hopes for the future. I apologise in advance for its length, and I have tried to keep it as concise and focussed as possible. However, hopefully, it shouldn't be necessary to repeat this exercise anytime soon. I also apologise to anyone who finds the ruthless baring of one's soul embarrassing in any way. I know some people do. However, I feel it is important that you know where I am coming from if we are going to work together, and I believe that honesty is never a bad thing.

best wishes

Read C's story

Monday, 15 December 2008

Excommunicate the parish

JUST as Mary MacKillop for many years was rejected by the church for daring to question the authority of her bishop, Brisbane's St Mary's church is reflecting the true face of a caring society.

Why shouldn't the Vatican close the Roman Catholic parish of St Mary's and excommunicate its priests?


Alison Cotes -December 03, 2008 - Courier Mail, Australia

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Keep hope in your hearts

Dear WAC workers,

There are so many reasons to be despondent about the state of the world, and the state of the Church today.

I can't offer solutions to the problems we face.

All I can do is share with you my own way of coping, and living my faith.

I don't know most of you, I haven't been involved in the work We Are Church has done over the last few years, but I know some of you feel rather disillusioned with the lack of change, lack of response to the things you have said, in the areas you feel are important.

Perhaps, however, we have been looking for hope and light in the wrong places.

We know, from the Gospels, that the one thing that we are asked to do is love - love God, love each other, love ourselves. For me, that has, over the years, translated itself into service, love through service of those most in need of God's love, most in need of the message that love is there for the giving, there for the asking. I live this out in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the largest lay-led organisation in the church, the largest voluntary organisation in the world meeting the poor where they are. In a quiet way, the SVP has, since its inception over 150 years ago, penetrated 159 countries, with almost 1 million members, carrying out at least 50 million individual loving actions every year (one a week each, it's our rule). Add that to all the other loving actions that individual human beings, people of faith or none, carry out every year, every day, and you have an awful lot of loving, giving us an awful lot of hope. Ignore the headlines, look at what people like you are doing.

This is not happy, clappy, cuddly spirituality. This is down there, in the dirt, practical help - giving food, material goods, financial support, practical advice, looking after the elderly, orphans, victims of disaster, the lonely, the addicted, the homeless. It happens here in in the seaside town where I live and in thousands of other towns and parishes all over the world, literally, even in war zones, in the former communist bloc, in the Australian desert and the cold of Alaska, you will find Vincentians and all those who give of their time, their resources and themselves for their neighbour. Never mind the pomp and circumstance of the clerics, the carping of traditionalists or the constant, miserable criticism of the anti-religious secularists. This is where Christ is present, and he is never miserable.

I am not suggesting that you all go out and join the SVP. Nor am I suggesting that we should give up and stop campaigning for the justice we know is missing in our Church and in our world. But the poor are always with us, and so is injustice, and so is human frailty and error. I suggest we continue to write, and speak out and witness to the truth. But I also suggest we experience the joy of the Spirit in our lives by living the Gospel of love daily, as I am sure you all do, adopting a rule of life for ourselves, offering our own pain for the world, in a very traditional Catholic way.

Use Matt. 19:21, and 25:31, for reflection, and especially James, 1: 2-3, 1:17, and above all 2:14-17. Show the begrudgers that the open, loving, liberal-minded, generous love of Jesus is alive and active in the world, in all you say and do, above all do, act, love.

My prayers, good wishes and love to you all,

Rebellion in the ranks?

T shares with us how his community reacted when instructions rather than catechesis was handed down from the Bishop. The Bishop was acting in good faith, seeking only to lend dignity to the celebration of the Mass. However, instead of entering into dialogue with the community in order to bring about change he just issued an instruction. This is a story of a community who were prepared to fight back.

"Some months back the Bishop's office decided to teach us how to read, and how to compose our bidding prayers. We had been doing this for years and everyone was happy about the way it was done.

The instruction about reading was straightforward, just read the bits in red in the standard Lectionary, not the peripheral bits, so that "The first reading is taken from the First Book of Samuel" becomes "from the first book of Samuel", and the Response to the psalm is simply read out loud with no introduction, the congregation repeat and then read the first verse etc.

No doubt everyone else is doing the same, or will do when their Bishop gets round to issuing his instructions.

We were also told to show more respect to the altar. You need to know that we gather for Mass in a chapel in which consecrated hosts are not normally reserved. We have never been in the practice of genuflecting to the empty tabernacle. Now Readers and Special Ministers are required to execute an almost Japanese bow of respect to the altar.

Next we were reminded that one need only bless oneself with holy water from the stoop on entering the church. This is symbolic of washing off the dirt from the outside world, so we should not wash off the sanctity of the church before we go back out.

Then came the Bidding prayers. It has always been our custom to include a Hail Mary or Hail Holy Queen at the end of the Bidding prayers, and I personally have always included a reference to England as Mary's dowry.

We were given strict instructions that such Marian practices were to stop. Not out of any disrespect to the BVM, but so as not to detract from the Mass.

There was no explanation and no attempt to hear how we felt about the changes. Most of us could not see why any change had to take place when we had asked Our Lady to join her prayers with ours for years.

We have about nine regular Ministers of the Word, and eight weeks after the ban, the Hail Mary was back. Our PP had reminded each reader in the first round of readings not to include it, but he wasn't happy with enforcing this instruction, and seemed to be glad when we just went back to our old ways.

A very small triumph, I know, but it made us comfortable with our prayers, and that is the reason that we all go to Mass in our parish, not because Mother Church tells us to, but because it is an opportunity to join with friends and family and like-minded folk in an act of worship that we all enjoy.

For much the same reason, we have a sung Mass on the first Sunday of each month, with all the major public prayers being sung in Latin. This is the choice of the community. My gift is not the ministry of music but we have a magnificent choir who do full justice to the wonderful acoustics. To be present at this Mass is a joy for all generations.

The average age of the congregation, and the average level of education among us, are such that most of us have fond memories of the Tridentine mass, and get an extra buzz out of the use of Latin."

Judith writes

My hope for We Are Church is that we can speak about moderate Catholicism.

We need to ferment a faith that is relevant to the 21st century. A belief system that bring joy to the heart and drives away fear.

The important thing, to my mind, is to be part of a community that cares about me. A community to which I can contribute, not in money alone. A community that welcomes the gifts and talents that God has given me.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Faith and Action

My Catholic faith inspires me to do my best to treat others as I would like them to treat me, to love tenderly, act justly and walk humbly with my God. In this I follow the teaching of Jesus Christ and the exhortation given to the Prophet Micah.

The We Are Church movement in the Catholic Church is full of similarly minded people who are deeply committed to the Catholic Christian tradition. They want nothing more than the emergence of a healthy community of faith that respects the dignity and worth of all its members, welcomes all unconditionally and acts with care for others and authenticity.