Irish Bishop: “I am not the slightest bit concerned about making the Church strong again.” Apostasy Writ Large…

Ireland: Homily of Bishop Donal McKeown [pictured right] for Vocations Sunday Mass broadcast by RTÉ
Good Shepherd Sunday 12 May 2019

Every year in Derry Diocese, we have Mass in the local football stadium for all the children who have been confirmed during the course of the year. Last June we had a stand packed with 2,700 children and their teachers – complete with banners, hats, painted T-shirts and lots of music. For my homily, I asked whether they all remembered what the bishop had said. Not surprisingly, the answer was a resounding ‘no’! And then I told them what I remembered from all the Confirmation ceremonies – of all the children who had been photographed with me at their local Confirmation ceremonies, only one had held my hand and then given me a hug afterward. In some ways, she was the smartest child of all of them because she had a big heart and knew how to show it. This, I suggested, is what the Holy Spirit desires for each of us. And then I pointed out that this girl had Down’s Syndrome. Of course, since she was the smartest child there, we invited her down to the front – and the whole crowd stood to cheer her.

There is much discussion about the future of organized Christianity in Ireland. My own take on that is simple. I am not the slightest bit concerned about making the Church strong again. I am interested only in whether we are fit for purpose in bringing Good News to the vast numbers who are in need of mercy and healing. Jesus did not set up the Church to look after itself. The People of God exist only to seek out the lost and to offer them love and healing in Jesus’ name. Jesus was not interested in setting up groups of self-referential followers who would be concerned mainly with providing services for their own dwindling numbers. Pentecost put an end to that notion. Faith means encouraging people to have big hearts and knowing how to show it.

And there is a huge need for big hearts.

It seems increasingly clear that, in such a cultural context, Christ’s disciples are called by the Good Shepherd, not to catch up with everybody else, but to seek out the thousands who pay the price for the fragmentation, uncertainty, suicide and loneliness that seems to benefit some – but infects many with ‘an epidemic of loneliness’[1]. In his own day, Jesus’ eye fell on those who were harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Anything less than that is a betrayal of the mission that Jesus gave his disciples. That needs big hearts.

And how is Church expected to carry out that ministry? It seems to me that there are three areas.

Firstly, Jesus was concerned with building relationships, bridges not walls. One core ministry of God’s people is to build welcoming communities. The Gospels are clear that Jesus went out to lepers, gentiles and public sinners. He told them that the Father loved them where they were – but loved them too much to leave them where they were. Pope Francis calls us to be a Church that is going out from itself and to build up our unity within the Body of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ can never prioritize lifting the drawbridge to keep people away from encountering the Good Shepherd. That needs big hearts.

Secondly, Jesus was also known as the Teacher. He spoke to His followers by proclaiming their dignity and the mercy of the Father. He spoke about sin and forgiveness, right and wrong – and our shared call to be holy as God the Father is holy. Because He was so clear in his teaching, many hated Him. The Church is called to be a place where individuals and groups can grow in uncomfortable faith together, as disciples of the Rabbi from Nazareth. That needs big hearts.

Thirdly, Jesus wanted to make the Father known and loved. One of the Gospels tells us that Jesus gathered disciples to be with Him and to go out (Mk 3:14). The first emphasis was not merely on teaching laws, though Jesus was also clear that, if anyone keeps His words, the Father and Jesus will make their home in that person (Jn 14:23). Those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd follow His ways and not merely their own. The Gospel not only comforts the afflicted but afflicts the comfortable. That needs big hearts.

In a changing Irish Church, some people imagine that lay involvement means laity doing more ‘to help poor Father do all his jobs’. I prefer to see the Good Shepherd model of Church as one where those in leadership roles (be they ordained, consecrated or lay like the great Jean Vanier) – by proclaiming the Word, by the liturgical celebration of the mystery of faith and a prophetic way of life – form the whole people of God for their mission of bringing Good News to every hurting corner of their parish and of the world. That calls for heroism and generosity to a fault. But Jesus’ example called for nothing else. Any changes in Church structure must serve that mission and nothing else.

We face many challenges in making organized Irish Christianity fit for purpose. But on this Sunday, the big-hearted Good Shepherd who has sought us out sends us out. If we expect something different for the Church, perhaps we haven’t really heard today’s Gospel.  [emphases added]  Source

Comment: 

It’s a while since I’ve heard/read this reference to “organised Christianity” – it was a popular euphemism during my days as a student teacher when, clearly, it was a means of diminishing the  importance of Christ’s Church. After all, “organised Christianity” might refer to every group of Christians – from the Salvation Army to the Church of England – working in the field, so to speak.  The “field” of glorified social work, that is, posing as Christianity.  To be honest, I am lost for words to describe my thoughts about this apostate bishop who has no clue as to the nature and purpose of Christ’s Church.  I will close, then, quoting Bishop Schneider [pictured below] who warned those “shepherds of the Church” referring to the fire at Notre Dame, who are, in fact, “spiritual arsonists”. 

“God will not indefinitely and shamelessly be mocked by so many Shepherds of the Church today, through their betrayal of the Faith, their sycophantic serving of the world and their neo-pagan worship of temporal and earthly realities.  To them are addressed these words of Christ, ‘I tell you, unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ (Lk 13:5)  Source

Well?  Which of these two “shepherds of the Church” is speaking the truth, thinkest thou?  Can’t be both of them, as one couldn’t care less about the Church and the other warns of hell-fire for those bishops who couldn’t care less about the Church…   

Ed:  I will send the link to this thread to Bishop McKeown, not that it will make a blind bit of difference – “blind” being the operative word (“..they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14)…   

Priest: Celtic V Rangers V Mass. Oops! 

Pseudonymous Father Justin Thyme, a Glasgow priest, responsible for two parishes in Glasgow,  found himself in a bit of a bind when he realised that the kick-off for the Celtic Vs Rangers game on 31 March, 2019 was at 12 noon. Mass in one of his parishes is at 9 a.m. on Sundays, but in the other… well, that’s at 11 a.m.

You see the problem? Either miss the kick-off, arrive late at the game, or

And that turned out to be the solution. That “or” – Father Thyme  simply arranged for a supply priest to celebrate the Mass for the 4th Sunday in Lent while he, Father Justin, made the supreme sacrifice and toddled off to the Celtic game instead.

But, is it easy to preach the primacy of the Sunday Mass obligation if the priest is able to justify attending a football match instead? Even if, as the defence will go, he’s celebrated either the vigil Mass, or the 9 a.m. Mass, tell that to the parishioners of the 11.a.m. Mass in “parish number 2”.

Not a good look, as they say these days – or as we used to say in the bad old days “doesn’t look good…”

“I’m sure that” – Father Thyme was heard saying solemnly to a friend en route to the game – “Pope Francis would approve.”

There’s no arguing with that, unfortunately…

Scots boy presents Pope Francis with Celtic top.  Click on photo to read more…

Pope Francis: stick with the new Mass… 

Pope Francis, while he says “we must rediscover the reality of the Sacred Liturgy” also warns against “[looking]  back to nostalgic past tendencies or [wishing] to impose them again…”   Loosely translated, this seems to be saying, stick with the new Mass, and don’t hanker after the old…

So, it’s maybe time to remind ourselves of what, precisely, he means by “nostalgic past tendencies” and what precisely, he doesn’t want to “impose again”.  Take the few minutes necessary to watch the short video below and then share your answers to the two questions below…

Questions…

Since the liturgy of the Church is directed to God, to offer Him true worship / adoration, do you think He finds the Novus Ordo Missae acceptable and pleasing – does it achieve that central aim ?

How, in God’s eyes, do you think the Novus Ordo Missae compares to the Traditional Latin Mass (see video below)…

“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” – St. John Chrysostom (Bishop & Doctor of the Church).

Pope Francis Advocates Atheism Over Hypocrisy… But Not “Repentance”?

Pope Francis said “better not to go to church: better to live as an atheist (if you are a hypocrite)…

VATICAN CITY, January 2, 2019 – Pope Francis addressed a crowd of faithful with some jarring remarks during his first Wednesday Audience of 2019. Speaking in the Paul VI Audience Hall, this morning, the pope focused on two recurring themes of his pontificate: hypocritical Christians and the “revolutionary” nature of the Gospel.
“How many times do we see the scandal of those people who go to church and stay there all day or go every day and then live hating others or talking badly about people? This is a scandal – it is better not to go to church: better to live as an atheist,” the pope admonished.   Click here to read more 

Comment:

How many popes in history have advocated living as an atheist rather than being a hypocritical Christian?  You know what I mean.  Aren’t we all hypocrites at some time or another, in some way or another? Why can’t he exhort us all to repentance and point out that we are showing a very bad example to atheists, who might otherwise be attracted to Christ’s Church?  Oops! No need, I forgot, they’re going to Heaven anyway even if they don’t believe in God!  In which case, so are all of us Christian hypocrites whom he exhorts to become atheists.  In which case, in turn, why bother with the Church at all?  

It goes without saying (although I’m about to say it) that we, each of us, should be making every effort to overcome our lack of charity, to stop being hypocrites – and bloggers are invited, sincerely, to offer some practical tips on how to overcome this awful sin of lack of charity (I, for one, will welcome any suggestions with open arms). 

However, giving up the Catholic sacraments-based spiritual battle to conquer our inner selfishness in order to  join the ranks of those who refuse to even acknowledge the existence of God, the first of the four Truths necessary for salvation, is not the answer to our sinfulness and weakness, our hypocrisy…  Is it? 

 

Pentecost Sunday: Vatican Prohibition On Communion in the hand Enforced

Click on photo to view video clip…

On Pentecost Sunday several priests refused to give Holy Communion in the hand in Vatican St Peter’s Basilica. 

They put Holy Communion as it should be on the tongue.
[Ed: except in one case where the choir member refused to accept the priest’s insistence on the tongue, pointing to his cupped hand.]

Twitter-User CatholicSat explained (May 25) that there was an increasing number of abuses over the recent months.

Therefore priests have been reminded again that Communion in the hand is prohibited in the Vatican. 

Comment: 

Should the priest have refused to give in to the choir member who insisted on receiving Communion in the hand?