Sunday, 29 July 2012

Some are more than happy but many more grieve.

With thanks to Catholica and John.

There are so many events this year commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Many of them seem to be wakes, lamenting and grieving over the lost opportunity. John Chuchman today endeavours to capture some of the grief in this reflection.
I'm Grieving, You're Grieving, We're Grieving!
Fifty Years ago at Vatican II,
the world's Bishops gave our Church Hope.
They reaffirmed Freedom/Primacy of Conscience.
Today's hierarchy says it must conform to their pronouncements.
We grieve.

A church governed in loving Collegiality was promised;
We've been dealt a Feudal Monarchy.
We grieve.

The Sharing of Power with local Synods of Bishops Representing the People
was foretold.
Power, instead, has been consolidated in the chief hierarch.
We grieve.

Lay Leadership of and in the Church was mandated.
Rather, the laity have been re-delegated to less-than-clergy.
We grieve.

Ecumenism was seen as essential to the future of
Catholicism, Christianity, Religion.
Instead, the walls have been raised.
We grieve.

We all got excited about Renewed Liturgical Practice
honoring local Artists, Musicians, and Traditions.
In a show of power, the hierarchs imposed
new archaic liturgical language and rituals.
We grieve.

The Council launched Intellectual Debate with Respect for Theologians.
With the silencing of hundreds, Dialogue is Dead.
We grieve.

The Church of Vatican II was to Heed the Signs of the Times.
Rather than a Church of and in the twenty-first century,
we're told to revert to the Fifteenth (15th).
We grieve.

The Bishops of the world correctly saw the Church as the People of God.
Instead the Pyramid has been preserved with the people of God the base.
We grieve.

A Deeper Spirituality was promised,
seen as the essential mission of Church.
The corporate hierarchy of today has no clue.
We grieve.

True Biblical Scholarship was encouraged.
Today, Fundamentalism pervades.
We grieve.

Respect for and Protection of Young people
was deemed essential to the Future of Church.
Instead, Young people are abused
with their abusers protected.
We grieve the alienation and loss of the Young.

Liberation Theology was valued.
Rather, It has been undermined, squelched, stifled, silenced.
Latin America grieves.

The promise of a Christ-like Church with Christ-like Leadership
excited us all.
Yet, It is nowhere to be found.
We grieve.
We grieve.
We grieve the loss of all that Church is meant to be.

Love, John Chuchman
Thanks (I think) for reminding me, Matthew Fox
This reflection is also published on John Chuchman's blog.
The background used to support John Chuchman's reflection has been sourced from stock.xchng one of the sources for free images on the net provided by people who voluntarily upload their work for others to share. Daniel Cubillas who is located in Spain provided today's image. A gallery of Daniel's freely available images can be found at: The image used in the headline is sourced from the ex-christian net website:

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Catholic Fundamentalism and a Catholic Christian Response

Our  thanks to John Greenleaf for this analysis.   The full article may be read here

John ends with a biblical reflection.  We would like to begin with it

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28; cf. Mark 10:42-45 and Luke 22:25-27)
Increasingly, Roman Catholic fundamentalism (one need only reflect on many a red-faced outburst from the Cardinal Archbishop of New York) is a form of organized anger in reaction to social and religious change.
Fundamentalists find change emotionally disturbing and dangerous. Cultural, personal, and institutional religious “certitudes” are shaken. Today’s Catholic fundamentalists, like Cardinal Raymond Burke wrapped in his medieval cappa magna  pushing to bring back the Latin liturgy of the Council of Trent, yearn to return to a utopian past or a golden age, purified of “dangerous” contemporary ideas and practices.

Todays Catholic fundamentalists, like supporters of Pope Benedict’s New Evangelization, have aggressively banded together in order to put things right again – according to “orthodox” principles. They want to get things back to “normal”….Or as Bishop Blair said: dialogue is “about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters appreciate and accept church teaching.”

Today’s Catholic fundamentalists are still troubled by:
  1.  the cultural revolution of the 1960s that questioned all institutions and brought profound social, economic and political consequences that continue to this day;
  2. the impact and immense cultural changes generated by the much-needed reforms of Second Vatican Council.
Catholic fundamentalism is becoming a powerful movement in the church to restore uncritically pre-Vatican II structures and attitudes.

Here are some clear signs of contemporary Catholic fundamentalism:
  1. Nostalgia for a pre-Vatican II Golden Age, when it is assumed that the church never changed, was then a powerful force in the world, undivided by the post 1960s misguided devotees of the Vatican II values. In fact, we know for certain that the church and its teachings have often changed. Some church statements have been shown to be wrong and were repealed or allowed to lapse.
  2. A highly selective approach to what fundamentalists think pertains to church teaching and belief. Statements about sexual ethics, for instance, are obsessively affirmed. At the same time, papal, conciliar, or episcopal pronouncements on social justice are ignored or considered simply matters for debate.
  3. An exaggerated concern for accidentals, not for the substance of issues, e.g., the Cardinal Burkes stress Latin for the Eucharist, failing to see that this does not pertain at all to the church’s authentic tradition.
  4. Vehemence and intolerance in attacking people like LCWR who are striving to relate the Gospel to the world around them according to the insights and teachings of Vatican II.
  5. An elitist assumption that Catholic fundamentalists have a kind of supernatural authority and the right to pursue and condemn Catholics who disagree with them, especially “radical feminists” and theologians.
  6. A spirituality which overlooks the humanity, compassion, and mercy of Christ and stresses in its place an unbending and punishing taskmaster God.
Remember: Membership in Catholic fundamentalist groups is not a question of logic, but an often sincere, but misguided, search for meaning and belonging.
If we react to Catholic fundamentalists with heated expressions of anger we will only confirm them about the rightness of their beliefs.

Our best witness to the truths of our Catholic beliefs, as they continue to be explored and developed, is our own inner peace built on faith, charity, and concern for justice, especially among the most marginalized.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Call for Action: So why bother? Because the task of reform is worth the effort!

An email discussion has ensued following the meeting of Call for Action on 18 July 2012.

A gentleman who has been an active Catholic wrote, "Please remove my contact details from your database:  I no longer regard myself as a member of the church

He was supported by another who said "I cannot be the only Catholic who is already halfway through the Exit door, and who is pausing, wondering whether it is just possible that Call for Action is the first hint of a new dawn."

Ted, a highly valued supporter of We Are Church (UK), has responded
Please can I ask everyone who finds themselves "halfway through the Exit door" to turn round and come back in.  Over a lifetime of 70 years (so far d.v.) I have learned that the best, in fact only successful way to reform an organisation is from the inside.

Which is why Jesus came first, not to set up a new religion (that was St Paul's job), but to reform Judaism, and to restore it to the religion that Moses founded when he led the Hebrews out of Egypt, in his turn based upon the religion of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph.

To leave (my beloved) Roman Catholic Church and start a new Christian sect would be to create another man-made organised religion, which is bound to have faults that would lead to further schisms.

Instead, I beg you please, to remain in the Church and assist in reforming - or rather restoring - it.  I am a member of We Are Church UK (WAC UK), which is a part of the International Movement We Are Church (IMWAC), dedicated to the reform of the Church in line with the promises and documentation of the Second Vatican Council.  Take a look at our website -

I am also a member of the Executive Committee of Catholics for a Changing Church (CCC) whcih, despite the efforts of some, is still working for the same cause of reforming the Roman Church, and publishes a quarterly newsletter "Renew".  A link to the CCC website will be found on the We Are Church site.

Richard refers to the "feeling of utter helplessness" among the laity of our parishes.  As Catholics, at least we cradle-Catholics, are taught to do as we are told by the parish priest, the bishop and ultimately the Pope.  When we find that what they are teaching is in conflict with our Personal Conscience, we have no "fall-back position".  The ability to decide between these two conflicting concepts has never been included in our learning, even though it is given to us at our confirmation.

WAC UK, CCC and all the other movements are establishing that fall-back position.  My old school was Clapham College (hallo to any Old Xaverians reading this) and our school motto was "Res parvae concordia crescunt" (NB we reformers do still like Latin) which means 'Small things grow by union'.  By uniting your energy and efforts with one or more of these movements, you will contribute to the reform of the Church.

Please don't go away, stay and make your home uncomfortable to those who keep trying to re-arrange the furniture.

In the love of Christ,


Sunday, 15 July 2012

In a sense it is such an obvious question it's a wonder it hasn't been posed more often: what is the objective of the eucharist? That's the question John Chuchman poses for our reflection today: "Do the adorers seek to place God at their own disposition to reassure their identity and strengthen their determination? Or does the Real Presence seek to honor the liturgy where the community celebrates its own power in the name of God?"
What is the objective of Eucharist?

Is it an idolatry
that imagines itself honoring God
when it heaps praises on a wafer
exhibited as an attraction
brandished like a banner?

Do the adorers seek
to place God at their own disposition
to reassure their identity
and strengthen their determination?

Or does the Real Presence
seek to honor the liturgy
where the community celebrates
its own power
in the name of God?

Is the idolatrous reduction of God
to a mute thing
a vainly impotent act?

Why do the bread and wine
take on new meaning
for the community gathered?

Are the bread and wine
Welcomed as Gift
by the community assembled
because people are nourished
and brought together by it?

Perhaps the Bread and Wine
become the manifestation,
not so much of the Presence of God,
but more of the Community
becoming Aware of God
and of itself,
In Search of the face of God.

At the precise moment
of receiving the Sacrament,
the Community still seeks it
and finds nothing more of it
than what its collective consciousness
has been able to secure.

The Real Presence
is displaced from the bread and wine
to the Community.

The Community gathered must move from
Jesus, present in the bread and wine,
to Jesus present in those gathered
whose Eucharistic Action
manifests reality
under sacramental form.

Eucharist is a meal,
the sharing of which,
is a sign of Communion
of those who participate in it.

Though the theology of transubstantiation
has lost its legitimacy among most theologians;
the Real Presence remains,
not as things, bread and wine,
but in and as
the Community,
as the present consciousness
of the collective self.

The bread and Wine
serve as simple perceptible media
for a wholly representational process,
the Collective Awareness of the Community by itself.

The prayer of consecration can be as useless
as the presider saying it
if it does not bring on
Community Awareness of the Real Presence
within the Community.

Love, John Chuchman
This reflection is also published on John Chuchman's blog.
The images used to support today's reflection have been sourced from:, and Christ Our Hope Anglican Church Blog, Dayton, Ohio

Sunday, 8 July 2012

How does ancient Greek medicine impact the Church today?

This is a very short extract from a longer article which is well worth pondering over.

The church teaches woman’s role ties overwhelmingly and primarily to motherhood.  Since she has a uterus, it must be the most defining important part of her.  Since she has a uterus, it should be maximally employed, sort of like maximizing the utilization of a truck’s cargo hold.  Such concepts based on errant secular science in turn fuel the church’s discrimination and marginalization of women.    

These ill-founded gender notions impact more than individual women.  The bishops call the church, i.e., the masses of laypeople, a female, married to male clergy.  They expect the female church to act like women “should” by being submissive as they disseminate their manly seeds of eternal life to fertile gardens.  Inserting the corrected biology into the theological reasoning don’t we arrive at this - since females carry the seeds of life, shouldn’t the female church comprised of laypeople sow the seeds of eternal life?  In turn, doesn’t that make the male clergy’s contribution analogous to fertilizer which disintegrates upon conception?
 Read "How does ancient Greek medicine impact the Church today?

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Rejected by His own.

Thank you to Eclesalia Informativo for this reflection on this Sunday's Gospel

José Antonio Pagola. Translator: José Antonio Arroyo

Jesus is not one of theTemple priests, in charge of looking after the religious duties. Nor is he one of the teachers of the Law, appointed to defend the Torah of Moses. The village people of Galilee see in his healing gestures and fiery words one of the old prophets moved by the Spirit.

Jesus knows that he is going to face a difficult life ahead, with all sorts of conflicts. The religious leaders will confront him. That is what happened to every prophet. What Jesus did not expect, however, was that he would be rejected by his own people, those who had known him from childhood.

The way Jesus was rejected by his own inNazareth would become well known among the early Christians. Three evangelists mention the incident in all its details. Mark says that Jesus arrived in Nazareth accompanied by some of his disciples, surrounded by his fame as a healing prophet. His village neighbours don’t know what to make of it.

When Sabbath arrived, Jesus went, as it was customary, to the village synagogue, “and began to teach”. His neighbours and relatives could hardly believe it. There were all sorts of reactions. They had known Jesus from childhood: He was just another neighbour. Where did he learn such amazing things about the    Kingdom of God? How did he get the power to heal the sick?  Mark simply says: “that everything seemed to scandalize them.” Why?

Those villagers thought they knew everything about Jesus. They knew him since childhood. Instead of accepting him as he is returning to them, they are prejudiced by what they had seen and known years earlier. Such memories about Jesus impede them from realizing the mystery that is Jesush. They refuse to see the saving power of God that Jesus has come to manifest.

But there is something more. Should they accept him as a prophet, then they would have to be ready to listen to God’s message as delivered by Jesus. And that would create problems for them. They have their own synagogue, their own sacred books and traditions. They had not had any problems with their religion so far. New ophetic messages might disturb the traditional peace of the village.

Christians have always held different images and ideas about Jesus. Not all these images coincide with what those who knew Him personally saw. All of us form our own ideas about Jesus. Such ideas give rise to different ways of living our faith. If our idea/image of Jesus is poor, distorted or incomplete, our faith will be similarly unreal and distracting.

Why are we so disinterested in knowing the real Jesus? Why are we sometimes scandalized by His human traits and similarities with us? Why do we resist believing that God became incarnate as a Prophet? Are we afraid that such faith would imply profound changes in our Church?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

An alternative view

Sam Kennedy has sent this to us.

After hearing various things about this group i decided to check out your website. I am not impressed in the slightest. Your outspoken support for women in the priesthood is disgraceful, women are important within the church and have been since its beginnings but they are not to be ordained as priests. This is exactly the type of liberal nonsense that the church does not need at this time. Countless doctors of the church and renowned theologians have affirmed that only men are to be ordained as priests. These are theologically rooted decisions, not an act of supremacy over women. The infallible church is to be acknowledged as "the pillar of truth" by all catholics, to oppose and ridicule the church as you are doing on this site is simply wrong.

Please stop abusing our church. You are a source of embarassment to catholicism and I have heard your names mentioned to support many athiest arguments.

If liberalism takes over the church, our tradition and most of the things that set us apart from false religion will be lost. The beauty of the latin mass, the respect of our superiors as successors of the apostles etc etc..


Jesus Christ be Praised.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

What do we believe to be right?

Thank you, Ted, for your reflection

Over the past month, I have given much thought to my own, personal feelings towards Pope Benedict. I am now confessing to you, the People of God, that I have been sinful in my own eyes and according to my interpretation of Jesus' words :"If you call any man 'thou fool', it is as if you commit murder".

I have come to believe that Pope Benedict is acting in accordance with his personal conscience, and since we are demanding the right to obey our own personal consciences, then we must surely, equally demand such a right for His Holiness.

I have to accept that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and that She had a reason to select him. I acknowledge that many of us do not respond to our vocation from God, and go off on our own path instead of that chosen for us. I do not know if Pope Benedict is failing to respond to the vocation he was given in his holy office, or if he is indeed doing God's will. I certainly know that it is not for me to judge him ("Judge not that ye be not judged"). I do believe that there are things happening in the Vatican (and at the Vatican Bank) that are not right, but the rest of the world (secular and ecclesiastical) knows this.

So, I have come to accept that Pope Benedict believes that he is doing what he perceives to be right. In such a case, I do not believe that we can make demands of him, since this will merely cause him to defend his position, and, after all, he is an acknowledged professor of theology and I am not.

What we can do is put forward what we believe - after due consideration, prayer and meditation - to be the right way forward for the Church, and attempt to persuade those in authority of the rightness of our arguments. At our press conference, we should set out our beliefs, including our belief that we have the right to be heard, and call upon His Holiness the Pope to enter into full and equal dialogue with us on resolving any differences.

What do we believe to be right?

We believe that God created and loves all humankind equally, and that Jesus died for all (not many) so that we may be reconciled with His Father, if we so choose. (I also believe that other religions are used by the Holy Spirit to achieve this same reconciliation, but I do not know if any of you, my dear brethren, believe this, so I exclude it from my argument for the time being.)

We believe that all men and women are equal before God, whatever their beliefs, their sexual orientation, their choice of lifestyle.

We believe that those who have married but then divorced, or been divorced, and remarried are also equal.

And, since all mankind is equal, every individual man or woman is entitled to take part in all the sacraments of the Church, including the Holy Eucharist and the taking of Holy Orders, whether as a Religious Brother or Sister, as a Permanent Deacon or as a Priest (and from there into the Bishopric and Hierarchy).

We believe that, since all men and women are equal, the voices of the laity - the People of God - should be heard equally with the voices of the clergy and hierarchy in the councils and decision-making of the Church.

These are our honest beliefs, and we do not want merely to be told that His Holiness does not agree with us so we must accept his diktat. We want him to explain why he disagrees with us, and we want him to listen to our arguments and give them as much consideration, prayer and meditation as we have given them.