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.
At school, we were taught to call priests “Father” because they are the father of our souls. They care for our spiritual well-being, and work for our salvation. Easy enough to understand. No problem. Answering the Protestant criticism that the Bible says “call no man on earth your father” was/is also easy – click here to read a very clear explanation of the correct interpretation of that biblical verse.
There are, however, priests who dislike the title, which is purely honorific – that is, it is simply a means of showing respect. It is meaningless in terms of the status, ministry, duties etc of the priest.
When I come across priests who dislike being called “Father” or who fall into the “Call me Joe” category, I simply avoid calling them anything. I cannot bring myself to address them by their Christian names. A deep respect for, and love of, the priesthood is instilled in Catholics and few among us wish to show disrespect for the priesthood, even if we are less than impressed with the aforementioned “Fr Joe” and his ilk.
Lately, however, I’ve been re-considering this – more in terms of writing than speaking. Take Cardinal Marx, for example. Please. Take him. Anywhere. The German cardinal, Reinhard Marx, who is about as Catholic as Sadiq Khan has as much right to a Catholic title denoting honour and respect as Theresa May, if you ask me, which I know you didn’t…
Anyway, what about it. Should Catholics show respect for an individual churchman (by applying honorific titles) simply because he is ordained, no matter how much he abuses his office and betrays Christ by his words and actions? Or, is it acceptable to say “Hi Joe” or to write about “Marx” – what do you think?
The Sunday Telegraph claims the scheme appears in a leaked draft of the government’s new counter-terror proposal. It says that state bureaucrats will “require all faiths to maintain a national register of faith leaders” and that the government will “set out the minimum level of training and checks” registered faith leaders must have.
The plans mark a new level of state intervention in religion and are likely to fuel fears that Christians with traditional beliefs are being slowly criminalised.
All faith leaders who wish to work with the public sector, including schools, universities and hospitals, will have to sign up to the register and undergo government vetting. Given that many priests, imams, rabbis and other figures often have some dealings with the public sector, the register will likely cover the great majority.
The plan has been condemned by the Christian Institute, who said it was “sinister” and “more in keeping with China or North Korea” than a democratic Western society.
A spokesman told Breitbart London: “If the reports are accurate, what the Government is proposing turns the clock back on religious freedom more than 300 years. Not since the days of the notorious Test and Corporation Acts have we seen such a concerted attempt by a British Government to restrict religious practice. We don’t want to go back to those darker days of religious intolerance.”
He added that the proposals would mean a Christian minister would not be allowed to visit a member of his congregation in hospital, nor address a university Christian Union, without having been on a government-approved training scheme.
“It marks a deeply concerning attempt by the State to interfere with religious practice.
“The Government are proposing an Orwellian watch list of Reverends and Rabbis, who are to be told which state values they must espouse before being allowed to speak about their religion.”
There are already fears that the government’s plans to tackle Islamist fundamentalism could lead to traditional Christians being branded “extremists”.
The Durham Free School, a Christian faith school in north east England, was forced to close this year after inspectors branded children “bigots” for not knowing what a Muslim was. The inspection report concluded: “Leaders are failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain. Some students hold discriminatory views of other people who have different faiths, values or beliefs from themselves.”
Breitbart London reported last month that Welsh Minister for Education Huw Lewis wanted to remove Christianity from the country’s state schools. He told the Welsh Assembly: “My contention would be that we rename the [religious education] curriculum and transform it into the religion, philosophy and ethics element of the curriculum – where there is an explicit commitment to allowing children to ponder ideas around ethics and citizenship and what it means to be a citizen of a free country.”
Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education told Breitbart London last month that such a move would be a big mistake: “The British government has a new agenda called ‘British values.’ Nicky Morgan [MP and Secretary of State for Education] has changed the rules on this, and one of the values schools are now obliged to promote is the doctrine of tolerance for all ideas, and accepting the point of view of anyone you might disagree with.
“This sounds very persuasive, but it is a form of value relativism. Teacher are discussing extremist values on a level plain field with what you might call more reasonable points of view.
“I’ve seen it myself in schools. It is dangerous; it offers children no real moral guidance and can actually serve promote the extremism and lack of community cohesion which the government wants to tackle in the first place.” Source
Blogger Prognosticum suggested that this topic deserves a thread of its own. On the face of it, it does, indeed, seem like a sinister move – potentially a serious threat to religious freedom. Or is this scare-mongering? Is it only to be expected, given the rise of the radicalisation of young Muslims, that the Government would decide that the time has come to monitor all religious leaders? It’s only “national security” at work, we’ve nothing to fear, surely? Why all the cynical faces?
Large crowds attended St Aloysius Church in Glasgow to pay their respects and leave floral tributes to Lanark Primary teacher Maryam Najafian.
Temporary additional seating was needed as the church pews quickly filled up at the funeral.
The 25-year-old had been sledging in a snowy Kelvingrove Park on 18 January when she crashed, suffering fatal head injuries. She was due to marry her partner Andrew Duncan this summer.
Her funeral service was conducted at the Roman Catholic church by Fathers Tim Curtis and Brian Lamb and Imam Sobhani.
Readings were made from both the Bible and the Koran as the service closed while family members, friends and colleagues gave tributes. Source
CHURCH officials have warned that Catholic dioceses and bishops who ignored complaints over alleged sexual abuse by priests will be reported to police for prosecution.
Complaints of clerical sexual abuse stretching back almost 70 years are the subject of a review by the Catholic Church in Scotland, which insists any serious complaint since 1947 must be passed on to the police even if both alleged victim and priest are dead.
Tina Campbell, national safeguarding co-ordinator for the Scottish Catholic Church, said that for the first time the eight dioceses will be made accountable for their handling of clerical sexual abuse and that allegations ignored by previous bishops will be reported by her office to Police Scotland.
She said: “They are having to report if they have actioned or not. If they say, ‘we found something in the file but we haven’t reported it to the police’, they will be questioned about that.
“If there is an allegation and it has not been reported to police it must now be reported.”
The Catholic Church in Scotland is undergoing a two-tiered examination of its handling of clerical sex abuse. The McLellan Commission, led by the Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, is examining the Catholic Church’s current safety provisions and is expected to report early next year.
A second study of historical cases from 1947 to 2007 is now under way with each diocese expected to provide detailed information on: complaints of sexual abuse reported to the police and their outcome; complaints not reported, the reason why and proof that they have now been reported; and, finally, updates on “problem priests” who are not accused of criminal behaviour but have formed inappropriate relationships etc and details of their treatment and support.
The historical review is also being carried out by all religious organisations, including orders of nuns and monks such as at Fort Augustus, now the subject of a police investigation over allegations of rape and sexual abuse of boys.
A source close to the Church said: “There could well be further police investigations as a result of the historical review.”
Once collated by the national safeguarding co-ordinator, the statistics will be analysed by Professor Eddie McKenzie at Strathclyde University before publication. However, the information will be anonymised and the names of abuser priests withheld.
Asked if the Catholic Church was funding professional counselling for the victims of abuser priests, Campbell said she did not know.
She said: “I would say they probably are but I wouldn’t necessarily know. It would be very much dependent on each diocese and what is happening. I wouldn’t be able to say with great certainty of this case or that case.”
Last week, Father Thomas Mullen, a priest in the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, was dismissed by the Vatican over child abuse allegations, despite the Crown deciding not to prosecute due to the time that had elapsed since the alleged offences.
However Alan Draper, a former deputy director of social work, who has advised the Church on abuse issues, was critical of the delays. He said: “It is an indictment it has taken so long. It is still not sufficiently independent, being left to the very people likely to have been involved in the past cover-ups.
“The greater indictment is the failure to support victims and the fact Tina Campbell has no knowledge of what has been done, if anything.
“The bishops should hang their heads in shame.” Source
Do you agree that historic cases of possible neglect by bishops to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against priests should be prosecuted, or does this latest move smack of revenge?
And is there any link between the bishops’ neglect to proclaim the Catholic Faith and discipline dissenters, and their (alleged) neglect in sexual abuse cases? I think there is – what do you think?
To read the source of the following article, click on the image. All emphases in the original.
A Father Vincent Fitzpatrick, of whom I am totally unfamiliar, has penned a piece for the American Life League that castigates all that great swath of bishops in this country who, for more than 40 years, have refused to enforce Canon 915 by denying the Blessed Sacrament to sinful pro-abort politicians. According to Fr. Fitzpatrick, enforcement of Canon 915 is not just a duty, it is not an option, it is so mandatory that failing to do so is gravely sinful.
Fr. Fitzpatrick (I add emphasis): Here is the text of Canon 915: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, O’Malley, and Wuerl.
All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely, that denial of Communion is a penalty.
Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.
So? What is the import of this fact?
It means that denial of Communion is not an option that MAY be chosen. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915, for the simple reason that the action Canon 915 forbids is ALWAYS gravely sinful.
It needs to be emphasized that Canon 915 is NOT a canon that may be “applied” or “not applied.” Canon 915 can only be obeyed or disobeyed. And disobeying Canon 915 is always gravely sinful.
Canon 915 exists precisely because giving Communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” is always gravely sinful. Doing so is always to give grave scandal, and to participate knowingly in a sacrilegious act.
Let that sink in. Always gravely sinful.
In terms perhaps more familiar to the laity: To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the most outspoken of those bishops who refuse to obey Canon 915, but all of them are on record, as he is, as endorsing the commission of MORTAL SINS by their priests and other ministers of Communion. Cardinal Wuerl has even punished those who have obeyed Canon 915.
Of course, this is something he has no right to do, because no bishop has the authority to command anyone to commit a mortal sin!
I believe he is absolutely correct in this. Canon Law is Canon Law, and Canon 915 is crystal clear. For a prelate to so fail in duty that he abrogates a very significant portion of Canon Law is objectively mortally sinful if only from the standpoint of the massive scandal it causes alone. But add to that fact the reality that the Blessed Sacrament is thus received unworthily, and you add sacrilege and blasphemy on top of the grave scandal. It seems a pretty clear cut case of objective mortal sin, to me.
Unless one wants to argue that our prelates are so badly formed they are ignorant of the nature of the Blessed Sacrament, scandal, sacrilege, and all the rest. One might actually have an argument there, which is a scandal of the first rank in its own right.
But really, these men have been corrected so often on this matter, from above and below (including the relegating of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction to enforce Canon 915 by Cardinal McCarrick to the memory hole), that claiming ignorance is to extend a charitable appreciation of the matter beyond the breaking point.
One more point from Fr. Fitzpatrick:
It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used as a political weapon.
Absolutely true. And the reception of Communion is being used as a political weapon—by pro-abortion politicians. As long as they are permitted to receive Communion, the bishop (e.g., Cardinal Wuerl) endorses their claim to be “ardent Catholics” whose promotion of abortion is NO SIN.
Again, I totally agree. There is no question in my mind that it is the pro-abort sinners and their episcopal enablers who are politicizing the Blessed Sacrament. They are also committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past.
One sad fact is that the article lists Fr. Fitzpatrick as a retired priest. Of course, no active priest could write a missive like this because they would be cashiered instantly. Source
We’ve had this discussion before, of course, regarding the negligence of priests and bishops who refuse to enforce Canon 915. However, since the “chestnut” moral issues persistently present themselves as a challenge to the clergy and hierarchy, seemingly intent on keeping their heads buried firmly in the sand, it might be useful to give the subject another airing. Is Fr Fitzpatrick right in his claim that “pro-abort sinners and [the bishops] who enable them, are committing sins more severe than even the worst heretics of the past”? And what about “To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.” – who are they… those (apart from pro-abortion Catholics) “delineated in Canon 915”?
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!
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