Monday, 18 June 2012

Learn from the past!

Last Saturday I went to the National Theatre in London to see a performance of Antigone by Sophocles, translated by Don Taylor.   I could not avoid seeing the relevance to the current situation we face in the Church today.   The whole play is a warning to those who place themselves and political power over their duty to 'love and serve God' and to "act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God" (Micah 6).

The following line thrown at King Creon by his son, Haemon, is a warning to us all in the Catholic Church,
When the State becomes one man it ceases to be a State!
 For 'State' read 'Church', 'Community', 'Society' ...

In an article in Spiegel On Line International Fiona Ehlers, Alexander Smoltczyk and Peter Wensierski write,
A "reform of the Curia" is probably a contradiction in terms. Its hierarchical, essentially medieval organizational model is incompatible with modern management. The Vatican is an anachronistic, albeit surprisingly tenacious system, in which pecking orders and an absurd penchant for secrecy and intrigue prevail. "The only important thing is proximity to the monarch," says a member of a cardinal's staff. Rome works like an absolutist court, one in which decisions are made by people whispering things into the others' ears rather than by committees. "There are many vain people here, people in sharp competition with one another," the staff member adds.
Like Antigone it is time for men and women who love their Church and their faith to stand up for the Constitutions and Decrees of Vatican II before tragedy strikes the Body of Christ.    Get a group together in your parish to read and reflect upon them.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Is Church reform possible any longer?

It is a very sad day for our community of faith when someone who has a wide knowledge of the Church and contact with theologians, commentators and pastors around the world is compelled to write the following.

"I am honestly totally skeptical that reform is possible within the Catholic Church any longer.
The chief impediment is the forces in the psyches of the small element in society who need certitude in their lives more than they need their breakfast each day.
What is happening in the Catholic Church at the moment bears this out more and more with each passing week. No one can communicate with these people, they are certain they alone can read the mind of Almighty God, and if anyone dares to take them on it is something to be likened to Jesus himself taking on the scribes and pharisees. In the end you simply cannot win.
Is that not what the essential message Jesus was trying to communicate in all his missives about dealing with the pharisaical element in society?"
Brian Coyne, editor and publisher of Catholica

 It is time for all Catholics who want an institution that respects the views of those who took part in the last General Council of the Church (Vatican II) to stand up and speak out for dialogue over issues that are sucking the life and health out of our Church.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Real food or just imagined food?

Elizabeth has called our attention to a news-story this week which had the headline, "Benedict reaches out to the divorced and remarried" " telling them to make a Spiritual Communion and bear their suffering.

She asks why no-one had seen this notion as a clever solution to the world's starving, to tell them to imagine they are eating and all will be well etc etc!

What would Jesus say and do? 

The origin of the news story can be found in  Pope Benedict's address on 2nd June 2012 to the 7th. World Meeting of Families in Milan in a question and answer session.

" THE ARAUJO FAMILY (a Brazilian family from Porto Alegre)

 MARIA MARTA: Holy Father, in our country, just as in the rest of the world, marriage breakdowns are continually increasing. My name is Maria Marta and this is Manoel Angelo. We have been married for 34 years and we are now grandparents. As a doctor and a family psychotherapist, we meet a great many families and we notice that couples in difficulties are finding it harder and harder to forgive and to accept forgiveness. We often encounter the desire and the will to establish a new partnership, something lasting, for the benefit of the children born from this second union.

 MANOEL ANGELO: Some of these remarried couples would like to be reconciled with the Church, but when they see that they are refused the sacraments they are greatly discouraged. They feel excluded, marked by a judgement against which no appeal is possible. These sufferings cause deep hurt to those involved. Their wounds also afflict the world and they become our wounds, the wounds of the whole human race. Holy Father we know that the Church cares deeply about these situations and these people. What can we say to them and what signs of hope can we offer them?

 THE HOLY FATHER: Dear friends, thank you for your very important work as family psychotherapists. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering people. Indeed the problem of divorced and remarried persons is one of the great sufferings of today’s Church. And we do not have simple solutions. Their suffering is great and yet we can only help parishes and individuals to assist these people to bear the pain of divorce. I would say, obviously, that prevention is very important, so that those who fall in love are helped from the very beginning to make a deep and mature commitment. Then accompaniment during married life is needed, so that families are never left on their own but are truly accompanied on their journey. As regards these people - as you have said - the Church loves them, but it is important they should see and feel this love. I see here a great task for a parish, a Catholic community, to do whatever is possible to help them to feel loved and accepted, to feel that they are not “excluded” even though they cannot receive absolution or the Eucharist; they should see that, in this state too, they are fully a part of the Church. Perhaps, even if it is not possible to receive absolution in Confession, they can nevertheless have ongoing contact with a priest, with a spiritual guide. This is very important, so that they see that they are accompanied and guided. Then it is also very important that they truly realize they are participating in the Eucharist if they enter into a real communion with the Body of Christ. Even without “corporal” reception of the sacrament, they can be spiritually united to Christ in his Body. Bringing them to understand this is important: so that they find a way to live the life of faith based upon the Word of God and the communion of the Church, and that they come to see their suffering as a gift to the Church, because it helps others by defending the stability of love and marriage. They need to realize that this suffering is not just a physical or psychological pain, but something that is experienced within the Church community for the sake of the great values of our faith. I am convinced that their suffering, if truly accepted from within, is a gift to the Church. They need to know this, to realize that this is their way of serving the Church, that they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment."

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury's video on The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Speaking in a short film produced by Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the significance of the 60 year reign ‘in which nationally and internationally so much has shifted’.