Interview: Archbishop Cushley – There Is No Crisis in the Church in Scotland…

Archbishop Cushley - No Crisis in Scotland...

This week’s Catholic Herald carries an interview with Archbishop Leo Cushley (St Andrew’s & Edinburgh) Unfortunately, the interview does not appear to have been published on the Herald website, so no link available – extract below.

The dispatch of someone this eminent to Edinburgh is a measure of just how seriously Pope Francis takes Scotland’s troubles. It is said to be the only appointment in the English-speaking world which he has personally directed.

But Archbishop Cushley dismisses talk of a Catholic crisis in Scotland. “I wouldn’t say that at all.” he insists. “The Church has actually grown in recent years, you know. The fundamentals are good. The preaching of Jesus Christ has not changed. And with a new Pope putting new emphasis on mercy, on openness, on healing, on welcome, it’s a great time to be part of the Church.” (interview ‘We are not in crisis’ – Archbishop Leo Cushley talks to John MacLeod about Cardinal O’Brien, witnessing a papal resignation, the X-Factor and his latest culinary adventure.)

I wonder if  Catholic Truth – or anyone else with serious concerns about the very real crisis in the Church in Scotland (and elsewhere) – will be “welcomed” by the new Archbishop?  Will we get to experience some of that famous “mercy” and “healing” and “openness”?  Why do I doubt it?

But never mind what I think –  what do you think, folks. Is the Archbishop right – is there no crisis, after all, in the Church in Scotland?

30 responses

  1. I didn’t want to make the blog article too long so withheld the following information to post as a comment. Attention, therefore, please…

    I thought I’d test the Archbishop’s claim that there is no crisis in his archdiocese, by paying a visit to his archdiocesan website. I checked out the links given, and selected Useful Websites which, in turn, linked to the Jesuits’ website. I guessed that the Jesuits in Edinburgh would be as industrious in the promotion of error-into-heresy as the Jesuits in Glasgow. I may not always be right but I’m never wrong. The name of Fr Timothy Radcliffe jumped out at me, he of “Soho Masses” fame. I thought I’d better double-check that I hadn’t confused my “Father Timothys” so I quote below from the emailed reply from a friend of mine in England who keeps a close eye on the “Catholic gay” scene down there:

    Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP is DEFINITELY the priest who used to celebrate the dissident Soho Masses on occasions. He openly dissents from Church teaching on a lot of things, but I wouldn’t use the title ‘gay activist’ as I don’t think he specifically campaigns on that issue, I think his dissent is much broader than that. Better to use his own words – see below:-

    In The Tablet of 28 Jan 2006 he wrote:-

    “Let us glance at some touchy issues: sexual ethics, homosexuality and the ordination of women. Christian morality is not mostly about sex, despite the impression given by the media. It is fundamentally about becoming free and happy in God. But if the Church’s teaching about sex becomes radically out of touch with what Catholics live, then there is a problem. Many Catholics are divorced and remarried, or living with partners or practising contraception or are gay. To put it simply: should the Church accommodate her teaching to the experience of our contemporaries or should we stick by our traditional sexual ethics and risk becoming a fortress Church, a small minority out of step with people’s lives? Neither option seems right. In my book, I confess that I do not know the answer.”

    In the same Tablet article he asks the question about homosexual people:- “Are they to be told that they must for ever be celibate?” He answers it by saying “I must confess that I do not know”. On the ordination of women, he asks the question “Is it then true that women cannot be ordained?” and again answers by saying “I confess for a third time that I do not know”

    While Fr Radcliffe doesn’t seem to know an awful lot about Catholic doctrinal and moral teaching, he apparently seems to be clearer on ‘gay’ issues, according to a report on the Catholic World News website dated 6 April 2006, which quoted him as saying the following at a recent event:-

    “I’m afraid I’m an old-fashioned traditional Catholic, and I believe that’s the wrong place to start. We begin by standing by gay people, as they hear the voice of the Lord that summons them to a life of happiness. We accompany them as they wrestle with discovering what this means and how they should walk, and this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to … watching Brokeback Mountain*, reading gay novels, having gay friends, making our beliefs of our hearts and our minds delighting in that being…” (*Brokeback Mountain is a recent Hollywood film about homosexual love between two cowboys)

    Also mentioned on the Jesuit website is The Romero Trust referred to has as its ‘Chair’ none other than Julian Filochowski, who is the civil partner of Martin Pendergast. END.

    Clearly, judging from his own website, there is a huge crisis in the Archdiocese of Edinburgh, and that before we even think about the legacy of Cardinal O’Brien & Co.

    Only now, the crisis just got worse with a newly appointed archbishop who is part of the problem and not, as we’d fondly hoped, part of the solution.

    The first rule in dealing with any problem, any crisis, as any drunk will tell you, is admitting that there IS a problem/crisis and identifying its root causes.

    Seems like we’ll have to wait for Archbishop Cushley’s successor before we can hope for the first step on the road to recovery for St Andrew’s & Edinburgh.

    • I’d say it’s a matter of great concern that the new archbishops doesn’t think there’s a crisis in the archdiocese, but if he’s OK with Fr Timothy Radcliffe influencing his people, then it’s no wonder he thinks the Cardinal O’Brien scandal isn’t evidence of a crisis. Homosexuality was at the root of the O’Brien scandal so you’d think the new archbishop would want to cut out that particular influence, not advertise it.

      • Margaret Mary

        I completely agree – it is, indeed, a matter of huge concern that the new archbishop thinks there is no crisis in the Church, and the fact that he’s quite at ease with Fr Radcliffe lecturing on Catholic premises on his watch, is very worrying indeed. Shows you what a spell in the Vatican can do for a priest’s faith. Nothing.

        I had the following message by email from an English reader earlier this evening, after he’d taken a look at this thread:

        “…– to be honest – Fr Radcliffe needs his own thread. He does so much damage to the Church in the UK and further . . . our bishops love him and he is universally admired and respected – and is such a dissenter. Catholic World Report ran a brilliant article about him years ago, called ‘The False Prophet’.”

        It is very clear now that the new archbishop is not going to make the difference we’d hoped. He’s in exactly the same modernist mould as his predecessor and brother bishops. False prophets are welcomed – big time.

        Poor old Edinburgh. Bad enough being on the shivery cold east coast, but now the hoped for sunny spell – ecclesiastically speaking – has turned to dark clouds with the threat of heavy rain.

        I knew watching those weather forecasts would pay off eventually!

    • cbucket,

      The trouble with that theory is that the crisis is only officially denied in Edinburgh. Pope John Paul II explicitly stated that the Church is in crisis in Veritatis Splendor # 5. And elsewhere he famously spoke of the “silent apostasy” engulfing us.

      It’s less and less silent now, though, with dissenters openly announcing their heretical beliefs and today news broke of an Anglican vicar who proclaimed his atheism: he believes in the nice bits about Christianity but does not believe in a supernatural being – work that one out, since the “nicest bit” about Christianity is that God became man, suffered and died in order to save us from Hell. How long before we hear of an openly atheistic Catholic priest – in Edinburgh, no less?

      Frankly, any priest who would invite Fr Timothy Radcliffe to address an audience of Catholics, has to have atheistic tendencies. I’ll put it no stronger than that for now. Once our Edinburgh brothers and sisters (or as the PC clergy say, “sisters and brothers”) respond to my pearls of wisdom here, I’ll possibly revise that statement somewhat. One waits and one sees…

      • “The trouble with that theory is that the crisis is only officially denied in Edinburgh.”

        … but that is assuming that all the Bishops are united (which I don’t believe they are). If there is a civil war going on it is quite possible that the Bishops on the bad side would react in precisely this way and try and cover up the chaos for as long as possible.

        • CBucket,

          I doubt very much if there is much (if any) of a civil war going on within the Bishops Conference of Scotland. They appear to be very united in their embrace of ecumenism, inter-faith dialogue, liturgical “creativity” and the rest. If there are bishops “on the good side” and other bishops on the “bad side” I can’t tell the difference. Can you?

  2. As a Catholic living in the Edinburgh archdiocese, one thing that puzzled, and irritated me, was the new archbishop’s declaration that he would be merciful. Merciful? To whom? Surely not to us pew Catholics, the laity – support is what we need, not mercy. To our errant Cardinal? He is gone. So who is in need of mercy in the archdiocese of Edinburgh? Perhaps it’s better not to ask.

    And now we’re told there isn’t a crisis. Has mercy now been dispensed? Pull the other one.

    • pewcatholic,

      Good point. All this talk of “mercy” is driving me crackers. You’d think they’d discovered the word. And as you say, who are they talking about .. who needs “mercy” these days? Everybody’s going to heaven, the dissenters are going to be canonised (some before they die the way things are going) and those previously understood to be heretics and schismatics now have so much to teach us. Even people from Edinburgh can be saved these days. Gimme strength.

    • Pew Catholic,

      The archbishop’s assurance of “mercy” reminds me of the pointless apologies from Pope John Paul II for historical events that had nothing to do with him. What’s the point of apologising for something centuries after it happened? The same goes for this offer of mercy to unnamed people. I’m afraid I question the sincerity of this sort of thing.

      • Editor,
        Ignoring your sideswipe at us in the east 🙂 and taking it as given that all of us, in every diocese, are in need of God’s mercy, I’d still like to know why Edinburgh archdiocese, now our eminent sinner is gone, is singled out for merciful treatment, especially if it’s now official that there is no crisis in the Church.

        Actually, I always enjoy it when a Pope feels he has to apologise. Maybe that’s bad of me, and I do need some of that mercy after all. 🙂

        • pewcatholic,

          You’re asking the wrong person – they don’t tell me anything about who is in need of mercy. Best to contact Catherine Deveney…

          And it’s annoying that Edinburgh has all the “eminent sinners” – could I be one of those on behalf of Glasgow, or do I need to be content just to be an “inferior” sinner?

          PS are you trying to post more smiley faces than moi? Won’t work…
          🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

            • Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, is my motto! Being non-ecumenical hasn’t exactly seen me climb the ladder of ecclesiastical success, has it? Time to try something new and since it’s not that long since the Pope said we could learn from the Pentecostals, that’s as good a place as any to begin my “conversion” 🙂

          • Editor, you’ve been to Edinburgh many times so you should know that we are the more eminent sinners. Speaking of which, isn’t it time you came to annoy us, sorry I mean visit us again?

            • Actually, Vianney, I’m just this minute back from Edinburgh! I was invited to wine and dine with friends there and stayed overnight but I’ve been hearing that your congregation is now full of young people so I’ll need to get there asap to improve my image further – being seen at Mass in a church full of youngsters…well, how good is that for one’s image? 🙂

              • Editor, as long as you are young at heart that’s all that matters. Did the Edinburgh polis know you were staying overnight?

                • Vianney,

                  Not sure about the polis, but the staff at Jenner’s knew I was staying overnight, so they cleared the Ladies Department of all those mere tourists to let me have free rein!

                  And all you Americans pay heed: I had my first American breakfast ever in Edinburgh yesterday morning – pancakes with maple syrup and strips of bacon. I thought it delicious at the beginning but by the end was thinking: “Why would anybody eat this for breakfast?” If there’s an American in the house, would you supply the answer, please and thank you!

                  Off topic, I know but, what the heck! If a gal can’t go off topic once in a while, to speak about pancakes and maple syrup, to what, as the posh folk say, is the world coming?

                  • Editor, talking about Americans and Jenners, one of our older members worked in Jenners and she said that one day an American lady asked her “excuse me ma’am, does Mary Queen of Scots come here to do her shopping?” You couldn’t make it up!

                    • Vianney,

                      That reminds me of an occasion when I lived in Aberdeen. I had some visitors staying for a week or so and took them for a drive on the Sunday to Crathie Church at Balmoral to see members of the Royal Family arrive for their service. When they arrived (Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana and a few others) an American behind me asked anyone who was listening: “Do they come here every Sunday?”

                      And I thought I had no sense of direction (geographically speaking!) You just have to laugh!

                      Still, to make a weak nod in the direction of the topic, I’ve got more sense of direction than Archbishop Cushley – even I know there’s a crisis in the Church, including in Edinburgh: big time!

      • One of the things that annoys me is this apologising for things that happened hundreds of years ago. How can people alive today apologise for things their ancestors done? John Paul II was always saying sorry to this lot and that lot for some supposed grievance but nobody ever apologises to Catholics for all we have endured down through the centuries.

  3. Madame Editor

    Could you set up a “Delete” or an “Edit” facility for us on this side of the fence please?

    I suppose it isn’t remotely possible 🙄 ?


  4. I had a scout round the archdiocese website and it’s really the church in microcosm. I almost laughed out look to see the adult education stuff on there

    When you think what’s being taught and not being taught in Catholic schools, adult formation is a joke. What can they be building on?

    I can’t believe anyone here is really surprised to find out what Archbishop Leo thinks about “the crisis”. Since he’s supposed to be the pope’s personal choice, he is obviously not going to be “obsessing” about the crisis! It’s just more of the same, just what informed Catholics expected.

    • Nicky,

      “When you think what’s being taught and not being taught in Catholic schools, adult formation is a joke. What can they be building on?”

      Sand 🙂

  5. I found this article about a Cardinal Rodriguez who writes the most amazing things about Vatican II. No wonder Archbishop Cushley doesn’t see any crisis in the Scottish Church if this is the way the hierarchy is thinking:

    “The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue. Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person.”

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