The popular view about human suffering is that it makes it more difficult to believe in God. Even Catholics – indeed, even some priests – express themselves at a loss when dealing with death, especially sudden death or the death of a young person. That’s astonishing, and completely contradicts what Catholic believe about the shortness of even the longest life, and the fact that this life is but a preparation for the next.
In any case, there is another aspect to this question. Something, such as the helicopter crash in Glasgow which happened late last night, on the eve of the Feast of St Andrew, our national patron, could be interpreted as God reminding us that He is in charge. God never treats us like puppets. He gave human beings free will, and it was the abuse of that fee will by our first parents which led to disorder in the world, so it is futile to blame God for suffering; instead, we ought to reflect deeply on the truth that in various ways, through all the suffering caused by illness, accidents, disease, natural disasters, and so on, somehow, God makes His presence felt.
It would be interesting to know how many (if any) atheists were standing outside the Clutha pub last night. Did anyone fail to offer a prayer, whether or intercession or gratitude?
St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland, intercede for everyone affected by the helicopter tragedy.
Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick, pray for them.
This is hard work. How am I going to move the Church forward into full blown Modernism with all these traditionalist-leaning Catholics causing such a fuss every time I speak?
We decided to launch a “Pope Francis Latest” thread since there is just so much to discuss almost every time he speaks or writes. We are not being unkind. It is not a case of the pontiff not being media savvy and making unwitting gaffes. No. It’s clear that he knows what he is saying and he means what he says.
Feel free to post updates on this thread. From time to time we will post a particular topic thread but for most of the time, this thread will be home to your thoughts about the utterances and writings of the pontiff, whether good or not so good, heart-warming or heresy.
Click on the photo to read his first Apostolic Exhortation. There are no “off the cuff” remarks in there, made under pressure, but plenty of cause for serious concern.
A very concerned parent passed us a copy of a letter dated 11 November, 2013, which her daughter brought home from her Catholic school.
Read the text below, and click on the picture to visit the “Sexplanations” website.
Then tell us if you think there is ever any excuse to deliver the “safer sex” message to pupils in Catholic schools. Is an outbreak of syphilis a reason to bring in the “sexperts” or is there, categorically, never any excuse for a Catholic headteacher to permit the kind of “information” sessions being carried out in Lanarkshire schools – including Catholic schools.
TEXT OF LETTER GIVEN TO PUPILS TO DELIVER TO PARENTS, INCLUDING PUPILS IN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS…
Cases of Syphilis in Lanarkshire residents
During 2012 and 2013 there has been an increase in the number of cases of syphilis diagnosed in Lanarkshire compared to previous years. The increase has been most marked in young people under the age of 25.
A series of actions have been taken to increase awareness of the increased number of cases of syphilis, to promote prevention of infection and to encourage people to attend the sexual health service for testing. These have included press statements issued to local and national newspapers and other media outlets; the distribution of leaflets through community services and community groups; and promotion of information about the situation using the Lanarkshire sexual health website, Facebook and Twitter. Additional sexual health clinics have been provided to enable testing of people who have responded to the information provided.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. It can be passed on by direct sexual contact and cannot be passed on by casual social contact such as holding hands, hugging, kissing or sharing cutlery.
Why are we contacting parents/guardians of high school pupils about this?
We collect confidential information to allow us to identify characteristics, including age, of those diagnosed with syphilis and any other sexually transmitted infection. Some of the information shows there is syphilis infection present among young people who may be in senior school. It is important to appreciate that 50% of the young people diagnosed with syphilis did not display any symptoms of syphilis infection.
NHS Lanarkshire is taking action to increase understanding among young people of the importance of preventing infection and practising safer sex for those young people who have sex. It is particularly important for young people to attend a sexual health clinic if they have had at risk sex during the last two years.
One of the approaches being used, in addition to t hose listed above, is to provide an information session on syphilis to pupils in S4, S5 and S6 in each school in Lanarkshire.
The majority of young people in S4 to S6 are not sexually active and you may not feel this information is relevant to your child at present. However, NHS Lanarkshire has a responsibility to deliver accurate messages to populations affected by infections such as syphilis in order to reduce the risk of further infection, and to promote testing of people who may have been infected and who would benefit from treatment.
The information sessions will ensure that all young people in these year groups will be aware of: what syphilis is; the long term impact of syphilis infection; and how to get tested for sexually transmitted infection, which is important even if not experiencing symptoms. The session will also convey key messages around risk taking behaviour in regards to sexual health. The session will be short and any disruption to the school curriculum will be kept to a minimum. The information sessions are being organised by NHS Lanarkshire and will be delivered by health and education staff.
If you have any questions that are not answred by the enclosed information leaflet you may wish to visit the Lanarkshire sexual health website Alternatively, you may wish to use the NHS inform helpline by phoning 0800.22.44.88. This helpline is open from 8.00 am to 10pm 7 days a week.
We appreciate that this is a sensitive issue and hope you find this information helpful.
(Signed) Dr Anne McLellan, Lead Sexual Health Clinician, NHS Lanarkshire – and – Dr John Logan, Consultant i n Public Health Medicine, NHS Lanarkshire. END
When he read Pope Francis’s latest assault on the papacy, Petrus submitted the following commentary for discussion. As Editor, speaking on behalf of the Catholic Truth team, I agree with his every word. Do you?
In his first Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis continues his attack on the papacy. This attack began minutes after his election, when he rejected the ermine lined red cape and stole worn by his predecessors. Minutes after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, the Master of Ceremonies offered to the new Pope these garments. “No thank you, Monsignore,” Pope Francis is reported to have replied. “You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!” Along with his continued use of “Bishop of Rome”, Pope Francis very quickly signalled his intent to demean the papacy.
His latest attack takes place just sixteen paragraphs into his latest document. ” Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization”. What exactly does the Pope mean by this? Clearly, he subscribes to the Anglican model of “First Among Equals”.
The Pope goes on to say ” I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization.” So, last week we had a questionnaire asking us what we think of contraception, abortion, divorce and homosexuality, and now the Pope himself is asking for suggestions on the papacy? He goes on to say ” a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.” For me, this is a no brainer. If Jorge Mario Bergoglio disliked the papacy so much, he should never have accepted it. For a man who never tires of telling us how humble he is, it is rather arrogant to say the least for him to try so blatantly to change the papacy to suit himself.
“It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality”. claims Pope Francis. Well, this is the task of the Pope. This is what Pope St. Pius X did when he issued his Encyclical Letter “Pascendi”. It is What Pope Leo XIII did when he issued Rerum Novarum. This “humble” Pope cannot distinguish between true and false humility. His dislike of the papacy, issued under the guise of humility, is, in actual fact, pride. He himself cannot separate the man from the office. When the Pope teaches and commands, he does this because of the office he holds, not because of the man he is. When he wears traditional papal dress, he does this to glorify the office of the Pope, not the man. Pope Francis should never have accepted the papacy.
The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has today announced details of three safeguarding initiatives, which will be launched over the next 12 months. In a letter read out at all of Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes yesterday (24 November, the Feast of Christ the King) the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said:
“We recognise the trauma and pain that survivors of abuse have suffered and we are committed to providing for them both justice and healing.” The Archbishop added that 2013 had been “a test of faith” for Catholics, but the Church was committed to “consolidation of our safeguarding practices, the renewal of trust in our unshakeable commitment to atoning for abuse in the past, guarding against abuse in the present and eliminating abuse in the future, and supporting those who have been harmed.” Archbishop Tartaglia also promised that all the initiatives were being “launched in a spirit of openness and transparency” and in recognition of the fact that “safeguarding is a priority within the Church, and all who work in the Church must realise this.”
The initiatives concerned are:
1. Immediate publication of all Diocesan Safeguarding Audits from 2006-2012, giving a statistical breakdown of reported safeguarding incidents during those years.
2. An external “Review of Safeguarding Protocols and Procedures” which will review the suitability and robustness of safeguarding procedures and the quality and rigour of their implementation nationally. The Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan, CBE, former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and former Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons will direct this.
3. A Statistical Review of all Historic Cases of Abuse from 1947-2005
A full description of each of these processes is given below.
Commenting on his participation in the review process, Dr McLellan said: “I have agreed to chair the review panel which will instigate and complete a review of ‘Awareness and Safety’ in the Catholic Church in Scotland. My appointment is a generous sign of respect not simply for me but for the Church of Scotland; and I am pleased to be able to help the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland in what has been for them a difficult year. But my first concern is not to support the Catholic church: rather it is to seek the best protection of many vulnerable children and adults. In pursuing that aim I will be determined to discover the truth and to make clear recommendations. I am very much encouraged by the independence I will have in selecting the membership of the panel, detailing its remit and deciding on its timescale; and by the assurance I have been given that the Catholic Bishops will accept our recommendations.”
Dr McLellan added: “Over the remaining weeks of 2013, I hope to turn my attention to these matters so that I can announce the particulars of the review process and structure early in 2014.”
Mgr. Hugh Bradley, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference said:
“The Bishops are delighted that Dr Andrew McLellan has agreed to chair a review of Safeguarding procedures and practice. Dr McLellan is highly respected Church leader, a dedicated public servant and a man of the highest integrity, we look forward to receiving his report and commit ourselves to acting on it.”
Responding to the announcement, the Catholic Church’s new National Coordinator for Safeguarding, Tina Campbell said: “These are incredibly positive and exciting developments, I look forward to working with the Bishops of Scotland, our clergy and the many dedicated people across the country who both implement and support our National Safeguarding policies and procedures in their parish communities. The work of Safeguarding is an important ministry in the Church and it is a privilege to be involved in it.” ENDS
Click on picture to read source of above press release, and then tell us your thoughts on this fraught issue. I’ve been receiving some very unpleasant emails from an alleged victim who thinks I’m “thick” because I told him that the number of abusing clergy is very small (not an excuse, just a fact) and that the majority of these priests appear to be homosexual – men abusing boys.
Well, whether or not I’m “thick” is not the issue. The issue here is, are the bishop dealing sufficiently thoroughly with this scandal of child abuse? Would they not be better to apply the penalties available to them in Canon Law, to dismiss abusing priests, rather than focus on “safeguarding” initiatives? That is, deal head on with the problem priests rather than tinkering at the edges? Surely, children should not have to be protected from abusing priests – surely the priests should not be there in the first place?
But then, I’m a simple gal – what do the more sophisticated minds out there think?
This week’s Tablet (terrible rag) is running an article entitled: Women in the Church: how far can we go? by Fr Peter Day.
He begins (understandably) by quoting the eminently quotable Pope Francis:
“We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the Church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.” (Pope Francis, August 2013)
The rest of the article amounts to a thinly veiled plea for women’s ordination. To read the entire piece, click on the picture.
But, while bloggers are welcome to discuss the reasons for Catholic teaching on that subject, the point of this thread is really to explore the quality of the education – or lack of it – of priests today.
For, apart from repeating the daft feminist propaganda about patriarchy blah blah, Fr Day – absolutely astonishingly – quotes the verse from Galatians trotted out by ignorant “feminists” to make their case:
“There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can neither be slave or freeman, there can be neither male nor female – for you are all one in Christ.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
Listen, any priest who does not know that the above verse from Galatians means that God’s grace is available to everyone, absolutely everyone, and has nothing to do with women’s perceived right to be priests, needs help. Fast.
Legislation to introduce same-sex marriage in Scotland has been approved in principle by parliament, after MSPs voted on it for the first time.
The Scottish government’s Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill passed the first of three parliamentary hurdles by 98 votes to 15 with five abstentions.
Ministers said the move was the right thing to do, but the Church of Scotland and Catholic Church are opposed. Religious and belief bodies would “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages.
Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships, and there has been an indication that the earliest gay marriage ceremonies could take place by the start of 2015, if the legislation is passed.
Click on the Scottish flag to read the rest of the above report.
Then tell us whether, in the cases of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) who either voted in favour of the same-sex marriage legislation or abstained, the Bishops should be enforcing Canon Law, # 915 “…(Those) who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion”.
Given the extent of public debate on this issue and the pronouncements from the Church both nationally and from the Vatican, no MSP can claim ignorance. Catholic MSPs have clearly chosen to vote for this legislation in the full knowledge that they are defying a very serious moral law – God’s moral law (not “the Church’s). For them to go forward, therefore, to receive Communion in their parish churches is a source of huge scandal.
But are the Bishops of Scotland likely to enforce Canon Law? They tend only to point to Canon Law when it serves their own purpose, and falling out with MSPs is unlikely to be on their wish list.
Finally, a word about voting habits. If your MSP voted with the Government today, will you vote for him / her again?
The General Discussion thread will always remain at the top of the page. Links to previous discussion thread appended. New articles, newest first, will appear below…
If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread. Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!
Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.
Parishioners at St John Ogilvie’s Church in High Blantyre, Lanarkshire, reacted with fury and disbelief when they were told just before Mass last night that Father Matthew Despard had been removed from his ministry.
They were greeted by a weeping Father Despard outside the church shortly before the 4.30pm Mass began, and were ushered inside to hear a statement from Bishop Joseph Toal, Acting Bishop of the Diocese of Motherwell.
Angry scenes broke out among the congregation when Bishop Toal informed them “a penal judicial process” had been instituted against Father Despard as a result of the publication of his book Crisis In The Priesthood, with parishioners demanding answers over the priest’s suspension.
Father Despard, 48, embarked on a collision course with Church authorities when he published his book on Amazon in the wake of the resignation of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who admitted to gay relationships and sexual activity spanning decades.
However, it was later reported the priest would escape sanction after Joseph Devine, the previous Bishop of Motherwell, issued a notice stating that no action would be taken against him.
The controversy has now taken a fresh twist, with the priest in danger of being stripped of his ministry after action was taken against him under canon law.
There were chaotic scenes at the church, with some parishioners walking out in protest over the news before communion could be held while others were left in tears.
One woman who was there said about 150 people attended the service and their reaction to Father Despard’s suspension was “as close to a riot as you could get” inside a place of worship. She said Bishop Toal had to raise his voice and read the statement a second time as his first effort was drowned out by shouts from those sitting in the pews. The Bishop later took Mass.
The eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said: “I have never seen anything like it in a church. People were very upset. There were children in tears. People were shouting at Bishop Toal that there was a crisis in the Church and asking “where’s God in all this?” “Some refused to take Communion from the Bishop and walked out. Father Matthew is very much respected in the parish and he’s been here for about five years. “People back him over his book. It did cause some controversy and the congregation was split over it, but the majority have remained faithful to him.”
Father Despard’s memoir names serving priests and claims senior figures in the Church refused to confront complaints of abuse and bullying. He claims he was the victim of inappropriate approaches as a seminarian and alleges trainee priests who rebuffed the advances of others were bullied.
Of his time as a student at Chesters College, later renamed Scotus College, in Bearsden, in the late 1980s, he wrote: “One or two students tried to kiss me when I was there. I did not know what to make of that, whether they were perhaps testing me.”
Last night, the priest said he could not comment on what had happened at St John Ogilvie’s, and referred calls to his lawyer.
Hugh Neilson, representing Despard, said: “Father Despard is dismayed at today’s events that led to what can only be described as a mass walk-out by so many of his parishioners. “He was humbled and deeply touched by the many supportive and affectionate comments including from those … who stayed after the bishop’s statement.
“He hopes that those in authority may yet reflect on today’s dramatic events that were, in his view, so unnecessary.
“It is a pity that repeated requests for a meeting [over two months] between Bishop Toal and Father Despard’s representatives went completely unheeded.
“The last thing Father Despard wanted was for his disagreements with the Church to attract further publicity or to cause anybody, particularly his parishioners, unnecessary anxiety.” Father William Nolan, of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in East Kilbride, has been appointed parish administrator until the case against Father Despard is concluded.
A spokesman for Bishop Toal said: “Since there is a canonical case in progress at the present time, Bishop Toal felt it was appropriate to remove Father Matthew Despard from Parish Ministry, until the judicial process has run its course. This action does not prejudge the case in any way.” To read article at source, click on photo of Fr Despard.
Next year Pope Francis has called an “Extraordinary Synod” of Bishops from around the world to discuss the Church’s pastoral care for families and the challenges for the Church in responding to changes in family life.
The Holy Father is keen that as many Catholics as possible should have the opportunity to reflect on the issues and have their views and experiences heard by the bishops who will attend next year’s Synod in Rome.
The Archdiocese of Glasgow has prepared a questionnaire based on the Vatican’s own list of questions. Please consider responding.
You do not have to answer all the questions. Please feel free to skip those questions that you do not wish to answer – you can complete as much or as little of the survey as you want.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to this consultation. You are not asked to give your name in the survey, and the results will be collated and analysed before being added to feedback from other Scottish dioceses in the preparation of the final report to be sent to Rome. Source
Click on the picture to read (and respond to) the questionnaire
“Liberals” are quoting Cardinal Newman on “Consulting the Faithful” in an attempt to justify this worldwide survey of Catholic opinion, but we, at Catholic Truth, contend that the Cardinal would definitely NOT approve of consulting the faith-less. Asking dissenters for their views on contraception, cohabitation, same-sex marriage, divorce and remarriage is like asking the proverbial turkey for his views on Christmas.
So, what do you think – will this survey reveal a strong Catholic presence in Scotland – or the very opposite?