Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered.
Part of the Catholic Truth series, Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions…Answered, the above video is the second of our Catholic Conversation videos. Editor answers questions on the current scandals…
Memphis, Tenn., Oct 25, 2018 / 02:53 pm (CNA).- One day after he was removed as head of the Diocese of Memphis, Bishop Martin Holley told CNA that he wants to be transparent about the reasons for his removal.
He says the decision was not about mismanagement, or past allegations of sexual misconduct. Instead, he believes that he was removed at the behest of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former Archbishop of Washington, who influenced or collaborated with apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre to excise him from episcopal ministry.
Bishop Holley says he has nothing to hide.
The bishop was removed by Pope Francis from the diocese Oct. 24, after a June Vatican investigation into Holley’s leadership in the diocese. That investigation was prompted by criticism of Holley’s 2017 decision to reassign up to two-thirds of the 60 active priests in the diocese, and his appointment of a Canadian priest, Fr. Clement Machado, as vicar general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor of the Diocese of Memphis.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told reporters Wednesday that the decision to remove Holley was “about management of the diocese.”
Burke added that concerns about Holley were “not abuse-related.” Holley also told CNA that a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct mentioned in some reports is not the reason for his removal.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Holley told CNA that in 2012, Wuerl was under consideration to be transferred from Washington to a high-level Vatican position, as Vatican Secretary of State. Holley was then an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Washington.
Holley says he was asked by Pope Benedict XVI to provide input on the prospect of appointing Wuerl, and that he offered testimony expressing concern about Wuerl’s fitness for the job.
Wuerl was not appointed to the position, and Holley said that his removal from the Diocese of Memphis is the cardinal’s “revenge” for impeding the appointment. Holley said Wuerl has had “disdain” for him since that time.
“I stood in his way for something he wanted,” Holley said.
Wuerl was appointed by Pope Francis in 2013 as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, before Holley became Bishop of Memphis. The congregation is the office charged with overseeing the ministry of bishops around the world. Wuerl and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago are the sole American members of the congregation.
According to Pastor bonus, the document governing the workings of the Vatican Curia, “the Congregation applies itself to matters relating to the correct exercise of the pastoral function of the bishops, by offering them every kind of assistance. For it is part of its duty to initiate general apostolic visitations where needed, in agreement with the dicasteries concerned and, in the same manner, to evaluate their results and to propose to the Supreme Pontiff the appropriate actions to be taken.”
In response to questions about Holley’s report and Wuerl’s involvement in the apostolic visitation, Wuerl’s spokesman, Ed McFadden, told CNA only that “it would appear that an Apostolic Visitation that took place in the Diocese of Memphis, and the results of that process, may have had some connection to Bishop Holley’s dismissal.”
An official in the Archdiocese of Washington told CNA Holley was not utilized as a close advisor to Wuerl or a member of the cardinal’s inner circle during his time under Wuerl’s leadership, and that his ministry involved overseeing administration in the deaneries of the archdiocese, and performing confirmations. A source close to the case, however, said that Holley had invited Wuerl to speak in the Diocese of Memphis three times during his two years there.
Holley told CNA that the June apostolic visitation to his diocese was unnecessary, and its purpose was unclear. He said he was told the visitation was “merely to assist me in the administration of the diocese. I didn’t need any assistance.” The bishop said that after he was installed as bishop in Memphis, he became aware of the “lack of previous governance that was here.”
“I was putting in order things that were so messed up here,” he said, noting that the diocesan tribunal was dysfunctional, and that other administrative and personnel issues had gone unaddressed by his predecessor.
Holley, who is African-American, said he met resistance because of the “racism of a few priests,” who were motivated to complain about him. One of them, he said, was a long-time associate of Wuerl.
Acknowledging that his predecessor, Bishop Terry Steib, is also African-American, Holley said that “prejudice and racism” began to manifest itself in the diocese when he began to make necessary changes.
Local media reported that several diocesan priests raised concern about Holley after his controversial transfer of priests, and after the diocese announced in January the closure of the Jubilee Catholic Schools Network, a network of schools in economically challenged neighborhoods, established in 1999 by Steib.
At the time the school closure was announced, diocesan communications director Vince Higgins told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that “This decision would have had to been made no matter… who was the bishop…The numbers were just coming to bear.”
The schools are scheduled to close after completion of this school year. A diocesan press release said that “the challenge over the years has been funding the costs of operating the schools…Funding for the schools has been provided primarily through a trust funded by very generous donors plus annual fundraising. The trust is nearly depleted and the Catholic Diocese can only fund the schools through the 2018-19 school year.”
Holley was also criticized for his appointment of Machado.
Machado was until 2016 a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a society of priests headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was incardinated, or officially transferred, to the Diocese of Memphis soon after Holley was installed as diocesan bishop.
While priests transferring into a diocese often undergo an experimental period for five years, Machado’s incardination was finalized on Dec. 20, 2016, two months after Holley was installed as diocesan bishop.
“Machado is not and was not the problem,” Holley told CNA. “If I’ve known him for this long, why would I not incardinate him?”
Machado, who claims to have had visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a child, has gained an international reputation as an exorcist and as a speaker. In 2016, however, the Diocese of Corpus Christi issued a warning, indicating that Machado was “conducting exorcisms without the permission of the local ordinary.”
“Fr. Machado has not been given permission by the Most Reverend Wm. Michael Mulvey, Bishop of Corpus Christi, to administer the Rite of Exorcism or to serve as an exorcist,” the statement read. The diocese said it was investigating complaints raised against the priest.
Holley told CNA that he has had a long relationship with Machado, and brought him to the diocese because he needed his assistance. He did not have sufficient personnel to address the administrative needs of the diocese, and he believed Machado could help.
Machado resigned from his positions in the Diocese of Memphis on June 29, shortly after the apostolic visitation to the diocese concluded. In a letter to priests announcing Machado’s resignation, the bishop asked priests to pray “that he may successfully complete his degree in the upcoming academic year, as it will greatly benefit his service to the diocese,” Holley wrote.
But criticism of Machado in the diocese, he said, was motivated by resentment toward the administrative decisions Holley made. He said the priest was tasked with carrying out his controversial decisions, and that made him a subject of criticism.
Allegations of misconduct
After Holley’s resignation was announced, reports emerged that the bishop had been previously accused of sexual misconduct.
In 2009 a former seminarian published a blog post alleging that in 1986, Holley, who was then a deacon, “used all the creepy predator tricks to get me to give in to him sexually,” at Washington, DC’s Theological College. CNA attempted to contact the former seminarian but was unable to reach him.
A senior Church official told CNA that the complaint was forwarded to the apostolic nuncio this summer, and that it might have impacted the Vatican’s decision to remove the bishop.
Holley told CNA that the apostolic nuncio has not raised the issue with him at any time. He told CNA that while he could not comment directly on the allegation, he is concerned the matter is being raised in order to cast aspersions on his character, linking him to bishops recently accused of predatory sexual behavior.
“I am not a part of the lavender [mafia],” he said. “I would never belong to that evil,” he added, referring to allegations of predatory sexual behavior raised against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and other senior Church figures.
He added that he was not particularly close to McCarrick, under whom he served for less than two years as auxiliary bishop. Sources told CNA that it is widely believed in the Archdiocese of Washington that McCarrick opposed Holley’s 2004 appointment as an auxiliary in that diocese, preferring a local candidate.
“I couldn’t help that I was his auxiliary,” he said.
The bishop added while he might have heard that McCarrick had a beach house, he had no knowledge of the prelate’s alleged predatory behavior, much of which is reported to have taken place there.
“I didn’t know anything about McCarrick,” he said. “The poor victims, my gosh.”
Most important, Holley said, in 2009 or 2010 he informed Wuerl, McCarrick, and Bishop Barry Knestout, then another Washington auxiliary bishop, about the seminarian’s allegation. He said he was “completely transparent” with Wuerl about the allegation, and that Wuerl thanked him for reporting it. McCarrick, he said, told him “not to worry about it.”
The matter was not raised again, he said.
Wuerl’s spokesman told CNA that “Cardinal Wuerl has no recollection of any conversation with Bishop Holley regarding any allegation from any period of time.”
Knestout’s spokesperson in the Diocese of Richmond told CNA that “Bishop Knestout has no knowledge of such a conversation with Bishop Holley nor did he receive any allegation on this matter.”
McCarrick could not be reached.
Questions remain unanswered about the canonical process by which Holley was removed. While Pope Francis established in 2016 norms by which a bishop can be removed through a Vatican process, it is not clear whether that process was used in Holley’s case, or whether the Congregation for Bishops, on which Wuerl sits, was involved.
Holley told CNA that he had not spoken with Pope Francis before he was relieved of his responsibility.
He said he is not sure what next he will do. He is now 63, the ordinary retirement age for bishops is 75.
“There is evil at work here,” he said. “This is a spiritual battle.” Source – Catholic News Agency
Pope Francis, it seems, is not slow to dismiss a bishop for spurious reasons, if we are to take the above report at face value. And we have examples here in Scotland of priests currently suspended for no good reason – while the real culprits, dissenters and abusers, are left in post to spread their poison. The Pope routinely refuses to accept resignations from bishops who have reached the retirement age of 75 yet he has dismissed a bishop of 63 at, it seems, the behest of the disgraced Cardinal Wuerl. What advice would you offer to Bishop Holley – what could, or should, he do in the face of this injustice?
The Bishops of Honduras are concerned about the serious migration crisis of thousands of Hondurans who are leaving the country. The caravan now has arrived in Mexico, and the US government has announced retaliation and forbidden their entry.
In a statement also sent to Fides News Agency, the Episcopal Conference of Honduras defines the mobilization of so many people a “human tragedy” and expresses pain and concern for the delicate situation created.
“It is a shocking reality, caused by the current situation in our country, which forces a multitude to leave what little it has, venturing without any certainty for the migration route to the United States, with the desire to reach the promised land, the ‘American dream’, which allows them to solve their economic problems and improve their living conditions, for them and their families and, in many cases, to ensure the long-awaited physical security”, reads the document.
The Bishops, therefore, ask the Honduran government to intervene as soon as possible and stop the country’s crisis, a crisis never seen in the history of the Central American nation. “It is the duty of the Honduran State to provide its citizens with the means to satisfy their basic needs, such as decent, stable and well-paid work, health, education and housing, and when these conditions do not exist, people are forced to live in tragedy and many of them hope to undertake a path that leads to development and improvement, finding themselves in the shameful and painful need to leave their families, their friends, their community, their culture, their environment, and their land”, emphasizes the declaration.
“We were deaf to the cries of their rights and blind to see that reality. The news of this caravan is the massive form of thousands of people, mostly young people, who go with the hope of obtaining sufficient resources to transform Honduras”, the text continues.
In conclusion, the Bishops thank the neighboring countries for the reception and the aid provided towards Hondurans, reminding everyone of the Pope’s request: “welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants”.
In the last hours, according to local information, the group of the caravan increases, now there are more than 7 thousand, but also the tension on the border with the United States increases, after the insistent warnings of the American President himself. The caravan of the migrants has also created some social tension in Mexico: a group of Mexicans, in fact, welcomed them by providing them with help, while other Mexicans do not agree with the so-called “arrogance” with which they want to enter the United States. Source – Zenit…
Are the bishops correct in placing the responsibility for the material well-being of its citizens on the Honduran State? And what next, now that these economic migrants are heading for the American border in their thousands: should they be welcomed with open arms (and all those who are likely to follow) – is that Christian charity? Or is the American President right to warn against illegal entry into the U.S.A? Is it uncharitable to enforce immigration laws against poor people seeking a better deal in this world? How do we, as Catholics, know what is right in this situation?
After King Henry VIII proclaimed himself supreme head of the Church in England and Wales, a violent wave of anti-Catholic persecution began – and lasted over a century. It started with the executions of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, but didn’t end there. Hundreds were killed between 1535 and 1679; the Church recognized the heroism of 40 martyrs from England and Wales in a canonization ceremony on October 25, 1970. (Later, a separate feast on May 4 was created to recognize the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation.)
The group of 40 martyrs celebrated on October 25 contains a variety of Catholics. The group is composed of “13 priests of the secular clergy, three Benedictines, three Carthusians, one Brigittine, two Franciscans, one Augustinian, 10 Jesuits and seven members of the laity, including three mothers.”
The martyrs were gruesomely tortured before being hanged or killed, but remained steadfast in their faith, refusing to renounce their Catholicism.
Many of the saints were jovial at the prospect of death.
Cuthbert Mayne, a secular priest, replied to a gaoler who came to tell him he would be executed three days later: “I wish I had something valuable to give you, for the good news you bring me…” Edmund Campion, a Jesuit, was so pleased when taken to the place of execution that the people said about him and his companions: “But they’re laughing! He doesn’t care at all about dying…”
One striking story of heroism under extreme torture comes from the martyrdom of a laywoman, Margaret Clitherow.
She was accused “of having sheltered the Jesuits and priests of the secular clergy, traitors to Her Majesty the Queen”; but she retorted: “I have only helped the Queen’s friends” … On Friday March 25th, 1588, at eight o’clock in the morning, Margaret, just thirty-three years old, left Ouse Bridge prison, barefooted, bound for Toll Booth … Her arms were stretched out in the shape of a cross, and her hands tightly bound to two stakes in the ground. The executioners put a sharp stone the size of a fist under her back and placed on her body a large slab onto which weights were gradually loaded up to over 800 pounds. Margaret whispered: “Jesus, have mercy on me.” Her death agony lasted for fifteen minutes, then the moaning ceased, and all was quiet.
Their resolve in the face of certain death is inspiring. They show us that our life on earth is indeed very short and what truly matters is our faithfulness to God. As St. Thomas More famously said: “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”
Here is a list of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, whom we can invoke for their intercession in whatever persecution we may be enduring.
St. John Almond
St. Edmund Arrowsmith
St. Ambrose Barlow
St. John Boste
St. Alexander Briant
St. Edmund Campion
St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Philip Evans
St. Thomas Garnet
St. Edmund Gennings
St. Richard Gwyn
St. John Houghton
St. Philip Howard
St. John Jones
St. John Kemble
St. Luke Kirby
St. Robert Lawrence
St. David Lewis
St. Anne Line
St. John Lloyd
St. Cuthbert Mayne
St. Henry Morse
St. Nicholas Owen
St. John Payne
St. Polydore Plasden
St. John Plessington
St. Richard Reynolds
St. John Rigby
St. John Roberts
St. Alban Roe
St. Ralph Sherwin
St. Robert Southwell
St. John Southworth
St. John Stone
St. John Wall
St. Henry Walpole
St. Margaret Ward
St. Augustine Webster
St. Swithun Wells
St. Eustace White Source
So? Our nearest cousins will be celebrating the Feast of the 40 martyrs of England & Wales on Thursday next, 25 October. So? They suffered and died for the Faith during the Reformation – centuries ago. What – if anything – do they have to teach us, today? We’ve moved on from those days, when people were tortured and killed for their beliefs. We’re ecumenical now, we’re tolerant, we embrace equality and diversity… What on earth do medieval martyrs have to teach us enlightened folk today… Shouldn’t the Feast days of martyrs be removed form the calendar, as a goodwill gesture, in the name of ecumenical progress? Seriously? Or, should that be “satirically”… 😀
The question for discussion really has to be: what is the most important thing the martyrs have to teach us all – north and south of the English border in this modern age? And if you have a particular favourite saint among the 40 martyrs, share that with us…
The Usual Introductory Blurb… Editorial comment injected
All schools should have robust policies that seek to ensure the safety and inclusion of all children.
Ed: except those whose parents send them to a Catholic school foolishly expecting them to be protected FROM the “inclusion” baloney, “inclusion & equality” being cover terms for permissive sex “education” – more accurately described as “exploitation”.
Anti bullying, Nurture, Safeguarding and Safe Spaces are all positive aspects of the Equalities and Inclusion work of our schools.
Ed: these would be the “safe spaces” for “gay” pupils, as reported in the Scottish press In 2017
However, there is always more that could be done to ensure that staff feel confident, informed and enabled to put the policies into practice. Therefore, as well as creating resources for use in classroom, materials will be added to this page for use at whole school level and to inform policy and practice relating to the Equality Act and the protected characteristics.
Ed: yet again, we see the so-called Catholic educators showing more concern for the law of the land, than for God’s law. They use the law of the land as an excuse to corrupt children. In fact, no Inspectorate could find against a Catholic school refusing to teach this garbage, because, by defending the right of Catholic schools to teach Catholic Faith and Morals, they are, in the very nature of things, unassailable. By teaching immorality in Catholic schools, all of those responsible, from the Bishops down, are – literally – Hell bent. Millstones and depths of the sea, spring to mind. Check out Matthew 18:6
All of the materials note that the starting point for any work with young people in the area of Equality and Justice is rooted in a vision of what it means to be in relationship with others.
Ed: note, “a vision…” not “God’s plan…”
The materials hosted on this page should be used in conjunction with the existing RSHP/HWB/RERC resources for Relationships and Moral Education – Called to Love (Secondary schools) and God’s Loving Plan (Primary schools)
Extracts from year themes follow – after setting the scene with wish-washy emotionally based thinking in the first two years, the attack of the morality of the young attending Catholic secondary schools gets down to brass tacks…
Put aside differences and starting anew
Rights of the Child
Justice, Respect and Equality
Challenging Prejudice – case study homophobic language and bullying
What is the Equalities Act & why should I know about it? *
Hate Crimes – case study on homophobic, transphobic and biphobic *
Growing up in the 21st Century
Values V Tolerance (I don’t need to agree with you to like, respect or value you?)
Catholic Social Teaching – preference for the poor, protection of the vulnerable
Protected Characteristics – why are they protected, what is the history, how can we remove prejudice
Learning still to be developed:
Modern Studies/ History
What has influenced the law in Britain regarding the protected characteristics.
A historical review of the facts that led to the various changes in law and what that has meant for people within these protected characteristics – women’s rights movement, race relations act , religious hate crimes, stonewall riots, disability rights etc.
Cyber bullying Ends.
Regular readers of this blog will know that the above involvement of the Scottish Catholic Education Service in the corruption of young people using the excuse of Government legislation is not exactly breaking news. We have discussed it before, more than once. What IS new, however, is the likelihood that those ultimately responsible for this corruption of young people will face justice – and not just in the next world. Little by little, we are seeing victims of sexual abuse turning on the perpetrators of their abuse and demanding that heads roll. To date, this has been limited to those who have physically sexually assaulted children and young people, but the day will come when those who have effectively groomed the young will also be called to account. Bishops take note.
The key question for this discussion has to be this: why are the educators so keen to follow the secular laws of so-called equality and inclusion when they are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching – i.e. to God’s moral law? Why not just explain to the Inspectorate that by teaching elementary Christian purity, pupils will learn to live in a healthy manner, in time building stable homes, and, by learning basic Christian charity, they will know how to live by the Gospel imperative to love everyone – even enemies! They will learn NOT to be unkind to people who are different.
* What is purity and why should I know about it?
* Young famous Catholics – case studies: Maria Goretti [ and others…]
What’s wrong with those for challenging headings in a teaching programme for Catholic schools in Scotland?
Father David Marsden SCJ has kindly granted permission for us to publish his powerful Open Letter to the Bishops of the UK on the subject of seminary formation…
Father was forced to resign from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and, two years on, he has now been fired from St. Mary’s College, Oscott (Birmingham, England). Read on to find out why…
Like countless faithful Catholics around the world, I am sure many of you have been shocked and sickened by the recent scandals committed by the former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Further suffering is being inflicted by the silence of other cardinals and bishops who knew about his behavior and said nothing — and indeed continue to say nothing. In light of the explosive report by Archbishop Viganò, it becomes even more apparent that the homosexual cabal operating in the Catholic Church exists at the very highest level and even incriminates Pope Francis himself.
I hope and pray that the action of the Holy Spirit is now beginning to purify the hierarchy by exposing the evil committed by homosexual clergy around the world. I feel it is my duty to now inform you and faithful Catholics that the homosexual collective within the hierarchy which enabled McCarrick to function in an unobstructed manner is still alive and well today in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Towards the end of May 2018, I was dismissed from my post as formation tutor at St. Mary’s College, Oscott by the rector, Canon David Oakley. The reason for this was that I recommended that an openly gay seminarian discontinue the program of formation. Clearly, as an openly gay man, there was no hope of him being ordained. David Oakely informed me that his bishop was “adamant” that his student was staying in formation and that this was not how he and a number of bishops interpreted the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
In light of the McCarrick scandal and the Viganò report, it has become very clear that cardinals, bishops and senior clergy from around the world are still openly dissenting against the Church’s teaching that prohibits the entrance into seminary formation of men with a homosexual orientation. This is the root cause of the most pressing scandal of our times. In fact, it is destroying the priesthood from within.
Apparently, the policy in Oscott appears to be if a candidate is not “acting out” his homosexual tendencies at the moment or behaving in an inappropriately “camp” way, then he is free to follow the formation program and move towards holy orders. The rector will not dismiss a candidate from the seminary who admits to being “gay” out of fear that his bishop will not agree with his decision. The problem, therefore, quietly continues.
This approach is clearly ignoring the Church’s teaching on this vital issue, yet for some strange reason, bishops are still not being made accountable for disregarding this important instruction. Whilst the teaching is clear, the practice in so many dioceses is deeply compromised. Can I make a huge plea that something be done about this widespread abuse?
I can also state that two of the spiritual directors in the seminary are very compromised on the issue of homosexuality — one individual admitting to me his own gender identity is very confused and the other openly stated that homosexual priests are a good idea as they are better able to minister effectively to homosexual Catholics! Neither would adhere to Church’s teaching and acknowledge that a key part of their role as spiritual contained the “duty to dissuade (a homosexual person) in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”
I am writing to you all with a petition to act and take the necessary steps to reform the three remaining seminaries in England. The orthodox and heterosexual seminarians deserve a seminary free from a gay subculture and free from academic and formation staff who are homosexual themselves.
For the sake of brevity, I will summarise my findings from the year I spent working in the seminary:
1. The problem begins at St. Luke’s Institute in Manchester where a number of seminarians are asked to undergo a psychological assessment as part of the selection policy. The director of the institute, Fr. Gerard Fieldhouse-Byrne, has some very strange views on homosexuality himself and seems happy to admit homosexual men into the formation program. This is a problem that the bishop of Salford needs to address.
2. Canon David Oakley is prepared to admit homosexual men into his seminary and will not dismiss them unless their public conduct becomes unsavory. He is a compromised and cowardly man who is not prepared to make a stand and disagree with the bishops on the issue of homosexuality.
3. A number of bishops from England and Wales are happy to admit seminarians who are openly gay into the formation program and proceed towards ordination. The bishop of Menevia is one such example.
4. One of the spiritual directors at Oscott Seminary has admitted to being sexually attracted to young men. It is highly inappropriate that such an individual hold such a post. The rector is aware of this fact but seems unable to confront this individual. He even noted that the friends who accompany this individual for holidays each year are also homosexual. Another of the spiritual directors in the seminary thinks that homosexual priests are a great idea as they can minister to the gay Catholic community.
5. The archbishop of Birmingham and the archbishop of Westminster have both been informed of these issues and seem to prefer to ignore them. Why do we continue to have such passive and feeble-hearted clerics in such high places of leadership in the Church? Why are they afraid to speak out on topics such as homosexuality in the clergy and the toxic gender ideology sweeping through our schools?
These are not only facts but shocking allegations against the present life of the seminary in Birmingham. Action needs to be taken to address the homosexual culture in the Church’s hierarchy. Scandals like those of Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Keith O’Brien are just waiting to happen. The normal, heterosexual students in Oscott demand that the homosexual clique in the seminary be dismissed and that the homosexual or bisexual staff members be dismissed also.
I was fired from the college for striving to uphold the Church’s teaching on homosexuality which is a grave injustice to me personally. It is extraordinary to think that I was asked by the rector to make a public oath of fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church at the beginning of the academic year. It is my fidelity to that oath that has cost me my job and deprived the seminarians of the only qualified formator in the seminary.
In the summer of 2016, I was forced to resign from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth because they were ordaining openly homosexual men to the priesthood, and two years later I have been fired from St. Mary’s College, Oscott for stating that homosexual men are not to be admitted to seminary formation and priesthood.
We are surely living through dark times for the Catholic Church. Are there any good bishops left who are brave enough to begin the wholesale reform of the priesthood that is so badly needed?
With every blessing in Christ,
Father David Marsden, S.C.J.
Former Formation Tutor
Catholic Truth warmly commends Father Marsden for his excellent letter to the Bishops. We pray that some, at least, actively respond to it.
What do you think… will any Bishops (even one) – pay heed?
Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Jesuits, said in an interview Monday that Pope Francis consciously calls himself the Bishop of Rome, instead of using grander titles.
“Very frequently we forget that the pope is not the chief of the Church, he’s the Bishop of Rome,” Fr. Sosa told EWTN in an interview Oct. 15.
“As the bishop of Rome, he has another service to do to the Church, that is, to try to [bring about] the communion of the whole Church.”
By convoking the youth synod, taking place in Rome Oct. 3-28, Francis is exercising his role as pope by bringing together a group “of his own peers” to make a “contribution to the communion of the whole Church,” Sosa said.
“Fr. Sosa is certainly correct to say that the pope is the Bishop of Rome, but it would be a mistake to infer from that title that the Holy Father is merely ‘first among equals,’” Chad Pecknold, Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, told CNA.
Pecknold told CNA that popes often and correctly speak of their “brother bishops,” but that the Petrine office is unique.
The pope “holds an office of supreme authority over every bishop in communion with him, and of course over the faithful too. It isn’t a charism of dominance but of paternal care – the popes traditionally use the title ‘servant of the servants of God.’”
Sosa said that because Pope Francis feels each bishop is responsible for his local church, this synod, in which Church leaders come together to discuss and decide church affairs, is an expression of dialogue and communion between all of the bishops.
Pecknold agreed that the world’s bishops are each truly invested with the authority to govern, teach, and minister to their own dioceses. But a bishop’s ministry must always be done in union with the pope, who, he said, “is the visible center of communion for the universal Church.”
“The worldwide college of bishops exists in what the Church calls ‘hierarchical communion’ with each other and with the head, the pope. When the we talk about authority of the college of bishops to teach or lead, the Church is always careful to emphasize that this is only possible in union with the pope, who is the head of the college,” Pecknold explained.
In his interview, Sosa also explained that the collaborative work of the synod is a work of discernment, something he said was very important to Pope Francis. The Jesuit superior said that although the concept of discernment is a key feature of Jesuit spirituality, the act of listening to the Spirit has been a part of the Church’s for a long time.
“Discernment is the way that this communion [of the universal Church] can be made and how the Church will find the structure to reflect a Church that is open to that synodality,” Sosa continued.
“Because the Church is supposed to be governed not by men but by the Spirit. So [the Synod of Bishops] is not a kind of parliament, where you have to have a majority or minority, but we all together try to listen to the Spirit. And that’s what discernment teaches us to do.”
In comments to journalists Oct. 16, Cardinal Louis Sako I, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, echoed this point: “The synod is not a political parliament, is a synod of fathers, teachers,” he said. “What can we give, what can we offer the young, the faithful?”
The Synod of Bishops, which was established by Pope St. Paul VI following Vatican Council II, was created to continue the collaborative effects of the council fathers.
The Code of Canon Law defines it as a work of “collaborative assistance” to the pope’s ministry, and stresses that it exists to “foster unity” among the bishops, including with the pope. It also states that the synod is itself a creation of papal authority, deriving its legitimacy not from the bishops attending but from the pope who called them to the session. Whether a synod session’s conclusions are deliberative or consultative is explicitly up to the pope, who decides how much of his own authority to delegate to it.
In this sense, Pecknold told CNA, it functions nothing like a parliament.
“Parliaments are political, legislative bodies,” he said.
“The Synod of Bishops exists to foster unity and to give the pope the benefit of their counsel. In that sense, their job isn’t to pass this resolution or block that one – it is to work together to advise the pope as best they can, and that is a work of communion and service, not confrontation.” Source
Pope Francis DID emphasise, right from the beginning, from his words on election delivered from the Vatican balcony, that he was Bishop of Rome… He has, it seems, sought to play down his papal role. So, the question has to be… does it matter? Shouldn’t we applaud his humility in shying away from all things Petrine?
Pope Francis has canonized Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Oscar Romero and five other saints.
This morning in St. Peter’s Square, before a crowd of about 70,000 people, Pope Francis presided over Holy Mass for the canonization of the saints while the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment is underway in the Vatican, Oct. 3-28, 2018.
He also proclaimed canonized saints Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nunzio Sulprizio. To read entire report click here
Then click here to read a thoroughly documented commentary on “The Canonization Crisis” published on The Remnant website.
I’d forgotten all about these canonisations until a fellow parishioner reminded me this morning after Mass. We were talking about the widespread scandals of recent weeks and months, and she added that it was going to be all downhill from today. I asked her “why today?” She then reminded me that Pope Paul VI (pictured below with the six Protestant ministers whom he invited to help him create a new Mass, one that would be acceptable to our – increasingly – separated Protestant brothers and sisters), is now being rewarded for this scandal by “canonisation”. Along with Archbishop Romero, advocate for the poor. I’m no expert on the life and times of Archbishop Oscar Romero, so this article is interesting – especially in its conclusion.
From left: A. Raymond George (Methodist), Ronald Jaspar (Anglican),
Massey Shepherd (Episcopalian),
Friedrich Künneth (Lutheran),
Eugene Brand (Lutheran),
Max Thurian (Ecumenical community of Taize).
I NEVER refer to “Saint” John Paul II or “Saint” John XXIII. Nor will I acknowledge “Saint Paul VI”. Will you?
The following extracts are from a letter from St Edward’s Press Ltd received this morning, offering special rates for readers who order the book Brussels Laid Bare by end of November. The offer has come too late to include in our November newsletter, but bloggers may wish to take advantage of it…
From St Edward’s Press…
In view of the recent events in Westminster and Mrs May’s Chequers [proposal], we are running an autumn offer which may be of interest to you.
It concerns Marta Andreasen’s Brussels Laid Bare – a book that tells the inside, and chilling, story of what happened to the EU’s chief accountant when she tried to expose a 200 million euros fraud in the EU’s accounts. We are offering this book at £2 off its cover price (£10 instead of £12 by post – it’s been selling so well we’ve recently had to order an extra print run.)
If you place your order by the end of November, we’ll also send you our two popular booklets for free: 101 Reasons Why We Should Leave The EU (2018 edition) and also Brexit Choices, a layman’s guide to Brexit and what the various options mean, including a Canada style agreement with the EU, as is currently in the news.
This offer is not available to the general public and so is not available on our website at this price. So, if you would like to take advantage, please phone one of the following numbers and process credit card details that way:
Telephone: 01793 762417 (this business if run from home and so this line is not always answered). An alternative number which is manned during office hours is 01752 334950 – they will take messages for us to return your call.
If you prefer, you can write to Hugh Williams, St Edward’s Press, 20 Barra Close, Highworth, Wiltshire, SN6 7HX, UK OR email firstname.lastname@example.org