16Mar ACP welcomes bishops’ publication of survey results

The Association of Catholic Priests welcomes the summary, published by the Irish Bishops, of the results of the questionnaire commissioned by the Vatican, and conducted in various dioceses around the country.  We believe it is important, if people are asked for their opinion, that the results be made known.  We note the similarity between the responses published by the bishops and those that came through the version of the survey conducted in our own website, and also the similarity of both with the many results we have now heard from different parts of the world.

We believe that it is now beyond dispute that there is a serious gap, call it a disconnect, between official Church teaching on family, relationships and sexuality, and the beliefs and practice of the Catholic people. This is a serious problem, and it constitutes a big challenge to the whole Church, but especially to the people who will gather for the Synod on the Family scheduled for next October.

It would be very desirable if all of us who care deeply for our Church, lay, clergy and bishops, could come together and search for ways in which this gap or disconnect could be bridged.

ACP Leadership

21 Responses

  1. Shaun

    I think fitting Divine Worship, preaching of the Word of God, and catechesis on the faith and morals of the Church has to be the cornerstone. Otherwise, we admit what Pope John Paul II termed a silent apostasy, but re-jig the Church teachings (if that were possible – it isn’t if the Church is not to fall like a stack of cards) in order to align with the world’s values and beliefs so as to… what exactly? Because people who live the world’s values and beliefs have no need of God. Of course, the Church would not be worth the mud on your shoe if She did that, and therefore other solutions will have to be found (re-discovered), i.e. radical conversion, the pursuit of universal holiness as Vatican II reminded us, and the focus on God in the Blessed Sacrament. I think the Traditional Mass is going to be part of this renewal, as hard a pill as that may be for some to swallow. Of course, we shall see over the next few decades if we are around.

  2. Paschal Kearney

    The initiative to bridge the gap will not come from the hierarchy. It’s when the grassroots – adult thinking Catholics – realise there is ‘another way to be church’ practically lived outin small Christian communities, that the bishops will come to their senses and move to bridge the gap!

  3. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    I really don’t think anyone likes change. The simple set of rules laid out works today as it did before. It’s when you try to tackle the inclinations of the human spirit, you fail. Has the church spent too much time on things that can’t be explained i.e. the human condition? Who is currently rallying against the true ills of society; things that could prevent Christians from realizing their true potential? I would like to tell my young children not to worry about the future because Christians the world over are working on the problems which afflict society and not getting caught up in the small things in life like bridging gaps that humanity has already bridged or getting the Roman Catholic’s human rights policy up to speed with current happenings. We all made much of this “illegal” many years ago in civil society yet it is is still rampant in our religion. What if what the world needs is a Christian religious revolution but we’re so hung up on fine print, that we miss it? Priests act like we have all the time in the world to sort these things out but tops on this list of issues is a sense of urgency.

  4. John

    Jesus said that divorce is not allowable, except for adultary. If that is the correct translation, then infidelity resulting in marriage breakdown is ground for divorce. Discuss!

  5. James Conway

    @1 Shaun.
    You are answering questions people are not asking. You are putting forward solutions to matters which are not problems. Doctrine develops. Read J.H.Newman.

  6. Martin Harran

    Where is this summary available?

  7. Paddy Ferry

    John, @4, I always wondered about that.

  8. Shaun

    Maybe James, maybe not. But Catholics like me are getting very tired of the game-playing which is being orchestrated by clerical egotists in Rome. I dread to think what they are going to do at the synod on the family. It’s actually becoming an embarrassment as well as a fear about the future of the Church.

  9. Lee Cahill

    Thank you, Paschal. Vox ecclesiae vox Christi. Ambrose of Milan is a story..with perhaps more of a lesson than facticity. But “a child shall lead them” is repeated through salvation history…

  10. Con Devree

    James # 5
    What exactly does Newman say re development? In your answer please give references from the Newman Reader site you mentioned before. In relation to Shaun’s point he definitely says the following:

    “Deeply do I feel, ever will I protest, for I can appeal to the ample testimony of history to bear me out, that, in questions of right and wrong, there is nothing really strong in the whole world, nothing decisive and operative, but the voice of him, to whom have been committed the keys of the kingdom and the oversight of Christ’s flock. The voice of Peter is now, as it ever has been, a real authority, infallible when it teaches, prosperous when it commands, ever taking the lead wisely and distinctly in its own province, adding certainty to what is probable, and persuasion to what is certain. Before it speaks, the most saintly may mistake; and after it has spoken, the most gifted must obey.”

    http://www.newmanreader.org/works/miscellaneous/cathedra.html

  11. Firbolg

    Has anyone any practical suggestions on how to reconcile long established Church teaching with the desired dispensations. As far back as 1968 I wondered how the inevitable volte face on Humanae Vitae would ultimately be presented.

  12. Joe O'Leary

    Newman believed deeply in the role of the papacy, and saw it as a stimulus of development, though he was critical of papal performance in the case of Pius IX (not to mention the lapses of Liberius, Vigilius, Honorius, much discussed in the infallibility controversy) The Cathollic idea is now to deeply rooted and so assimilative that development and paradigm shifts can happen more harmoniously than in the early centuries, as mentioned here`”Nor was the development of dogmatic theology, which was then taking place, a silent and spontaneous process. It was wrought out and carried through under the fiercest controversies, and amid the most fearful risks. The Catholic faith was placed in a succession of perils, and rocked to and fro like a vessel at sea. Large portions of Christendom were, one after another, in heresy or in schism; the leading Churches and the most authoritative schools fell from time to time into serious error; three Popes, Liberius, Vigilius, Honorius, have left to posterity the burden of their defence: but these disorders were no interruption to the sustained and steady march of the sacred science from implicit belief to formal statement. The series of ecclesiastical decisions, in which its progress was ever and anon signified, alternate between the one and the other side of the theological dogma especially in question, as if fashioning it into shape by opposite strokes. The controversy began in Apollinaris, who confused or denied the Two Natures in Christ, and was condemned by Pope Damasus. A reaction followed, and Theodore of Mopsuestia suggested by his teaching the doctrine of Two Persons. After Nestorius had brought that heresy into public view, {440} and had incurred in consequence the anathema of the Third Ecumenical Council, the current of controversy again shifted its direction; for Eutyches appeared, maintained the One Nature, and was condemned at Chalcedon. Something however was still wanting to the overthrow of the Nestorian doctrine of Two Persons, and the Fifth Council was formally directed against the writings of Theodore and his party. Then followed the Monothelite heresy, which was a revival of the Eutychian or Monophysite, and was condemned in the Sixth. Lastly, Nestorianism once more showed itself in the Adoptionists of Spain, and gave occasion to the great Council of Frankfort. Any one false step would have thrown the whole theory of the doctrine into irretrievable confusion; but it was as if some one individual and perspicacious intellect, to speak humanly, ruled the theological discussion from first to last. That in the long course of centuries, and in spite of the failure, in points of detail, of the most gifted Fathers and Saints, the Church thus wrought out the one and only consistent theory which can be taken on the great doctrine in dispute, proves how clear, simple, and exact her vision of that doctrine was. But it proves more than this. Is it not utterly incredible, that with this thorough comprehension of so great a mystery, as far as the human mind can know it, she should be at that very time in the commission of the grossest errors in religious worship, and should be hiding the God and Mediator, whose Incarnation she contemplated with so clear an intellect, behind a crowd of idols?”

  13. Kevin Walters

    Lloyd Allan MacPherson @3
    We ALL made much of this “illegal” many years ago in civil society yet it is is still rampant in our religion.
    ————————————————————————-
    Lloyd, can you or any one on the site give me insight into you statement.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  14. Con Devree

    It’s reasonable to say that the current controversies within the Church – sexual ethics, life issues, marital issues are the basis of the appeal here to Newman’s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. I find that Fr Joe O’Leary’s comment helps focus on useful aspects of the Essay – the rootedness of the “Catholic idea,” the assimilative power of the Church,” development, paradigm shifts, and harmony. Thank you.

    As Newman says “all great ideas are found, as time goes on, to involve much which was not seen at first to belong to them,” so also Fr O’Leary’s own comment.

    But central to all the said aspects, and inferred somewhat in Fr O’Leary’s Newman quotation, is the prayer for Church unity prior to the sign of peace at Mass: “look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church.” (Church in this case understood as the Mystical Body of Christ, communion of saints et al).

    In the midst of the current lack of harmony within, and contrary cultural influences without, while the anxious and protracted controversies hang “like some terrible disease upon the faith of the Church,” it seems best to rely on that faith of the prayer, on that “one individual and perspicacious intellect … [to rule] the theological discussion from first to last.” “In spite of the failure, in points of detail, of the most gifted … [and not so gifted] modern minds … the Church… [will wring out] … the one and only consistent theory which can be taken on the … [questions] in dispute” … and prove how clear, simple, and exact her vision of those disputes is. She will display ultimately, in spirit and in truth, “the absence of corruption in the system of doctrine and worship into which she has developed.”

    This is of course “so great a mystery” to some of those on all sides who have earnestly proclaimed “their possession of reformed truth, and have rejected what they called the corruptions of Catholicism.”

    Newman counsels not to wrap oneself “round in the associations of years past, nor determine that to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an idol of cherished anticipations” of change or paradigm shifts.

    (All quotations taken from “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine.”)

  15. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Kevin, @13 – imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, with an intention to destroy all or in part of a religion, is considered genocide. I’m not saying that the ultimate intention of the Roman Catholic Church is self destruction. What I’m saying is that the UN Charter feels that this behavior may be a sign of one group trying to destroy another and really has no provision for self imposed measures although one might see “the laity” and “the clergy” as two separate groups and the measure imposed as affecting the health of both. Per UN website, when the Convention was drafted, it was already foreseen that it would apply not only to then existing forms of genocide, but also “to any method that might be evolved in the future with a view to destroying the physical existence of a group”. Also, assuming you and I are both workers and receive a paycheck for completing our duties, employers are no longer able to hire/fire us based on our sexual preference or our gender. It’s been like this for a while Kevin.

  16. John

    Can we say that developments in theology and biblical scholarship were not achieved solely by the Catholic Church or by the Vatican? And that where there was progress in one era, there was obscurantism in another.

  17. Kevin Walters

    Lloyd Allan MacPherson@15
    Thank, thank you of your comment.
    From your post@3
    What if what the world needs is a Christian religious revolution but we’re so hung up on fine print, that we miss it? Priests act like we have all the time in the world to sort these things out but tops on this list of issues is a sense of urgency.
    ——————————————————–
    Yes Lloyd, we do need a revolution against a dishonest church that has shamelessly only cared for its own worldly image of goodness and in failing to serve the Truth has permitted the flock to be devoured.
    We need true (honest) Bishops who will lead from the front with integrity and courage ordaining honest men and woman who are committed to the living Word of God, ordained to carry (give) the true bread of life and in bearing witness to the Truth, act as a lynch pin in a chain, holding the flock together, working in the paddy field, on the tea plantation in the office, factories, , by the Lake side where ever mankind journeys

    “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest”.
    Also
    “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  18. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Kevin @ 17,
    This protectionism is normal among massive corporations. I can’t call the RCC a corporation, but its worldly structure mirrors the corporate identity and for its leadership to want to protect its image is human nature. I call it the “…not my child?” reaction. The flock in my opinion has not been devoured. It’s been scattered in a terrain that the shepherd of old is not nimble enough to navigate. People today are as they were of old – drops of water, flowing where the tide takes us. We still get the greatest satisfaction helping the less fortunate and nothing satisfies us more. This is the harvest that you speak of which is so plentiful that at no other time in history has there been more opportunity to reap it. Disparity in the world creates this. Imagine as adults, you were given the opportunity to rid the world of this disparity within a year. You have every resource available to you to do so. Would you decide to personally plant one seed or would you call on the whole world for greater action? The Roman Catholic Church doesn’t need a revolution against itself, it needs labourers willing to navigate in areas where the flock resides and for this to happen, the Church as a whole needs a complete “reset” and an “upgrade” which is currently in progress. Once this happens, the RCC community can address some of the more taxing issues currently at stake but we can’t tackle these things as a disjointed group. All people, believers and non-believers will be called to action but certainly will be led by a unified Roman Catholic Church who is willing to address the changes needed to carry forth a revolution of such epic proportions.

  19. Kevin Walters

    Lloyd Allan MacPherson@18
    This protectionism is normal among massive corporations. I can’t call the RCC a corporation, but its worldly structure mirrors the corporate identity and for its leadership to want to protect its image is human nature. I call it the “…not my child?” reaction
    ————————————————————————————-
    Yes Lloyd this is is human nature that is the whole point, we need an honest church that can step above human nature and be trusted by all of mankind. The Catholic Church should not mirror any worldly organization but our Fathers heavenly kingdom as defined by his Son Jesus Christ. It may be a worldly structure but it is made up of many good men and women who have given their lives freely (Unpaid) in service to Jesus Christ, they serve Him in their hearts and their physical works manifest their love of God. The leadership of the Church has betrayed them and many ordinary Catholics because they wanted to portray a worldly image of goodness and they the leadership, when their deception was uncovered showed no blush of shame and even now are still in denial and with arrogance continue to ride roughshod over those they were meant to serve. Their behaviour is far worse than any badly managed large worldly organization as our Christian identity as Roman Catholics has been severely damaged, moral authority has been handed over to civil institutions, as now our leaders have to go cap in hand and give account to civil authorities (The shame of it!). Denying all guilt they fail to see that mankind and many Christians hold them the Bishops and Papacy in contempt, all because they will not step down from their thrones and cast forth their as yet unearned crowns of virtue, in humility before our Father in heaven. Rather than shown True Contrition they are prepared to let the vultures circle above a dying corpse that has lost the will to embrace The Holy Spirit.
    Lloyd true Christians today and always are not like drops of water flowing where the tide takes them quite the opposite, they may be at the mercy of the elements as we all are but living water dwells in truthful hearts and been true (Honest) to ourselves in the light of the Holy Spirit we know (sense) where we are going, as it wells up within us leading us on into eternal life.
    Yes there is satisfaction in helping others but nothing compares with seeing Truth/love blossom in another as they are freed within their own spirit from the oppression of evil, whatever its face..
    I agree with you, the church does not need a revolution against itself but rather one within itself.
    You say, the Church as a whole needs a complete “reset” and an “upgrade” which is currently in progress. I see little progress as without the unifying force of Truth any endeavour that comes from the leadership will be built on sand but yes it does need to “reset” in reclaiming the moral authority that it has lost and “upgrade” its Bishops with men who serve the Truth above all else and ordain men and women with sound Christian values who are prepared to go out into the world courageously and as an EXAMPLE to lead the flock from the front, bearing witness to Christ our King and then I believe, we will see a revolution of epic proportion.
    kevin your brother
    In Christ.

  20. Máire Mulcahy

    Where can I find the Bishops’ summary of responses to the Vatican questionnaire? Thank you – Máire Mulcahy

  21. Association of Catholic Priests

    Very short summary by the Irish bishops can be found at

    http://www.catholicbishops.ie/2014/03/13/statement-irish-catholic-bishops-conference-questionnaire-synod-family/

    The German bishops gave a much fuller outline of responses
    http://www.dbk.de/fileadmin/redaktion/diverse_downloads/presse_2014/2014-012b-ENG-Fragebogen-Die-patoralen-Herausforderungen-der-Familie.pdf


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