18May ‘The Catholic Church has at most 10 years to adapt’

<p>Writing in the Irish Times Mark Patrick Hederman suggests that there is little time left for the Catholic Church in Ireland to adapt to the realities of life as it is now lived before being reduced to a tiny irrelevant minority.</p>

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/the-catholic-church-has-at-most-10-years-to-adapt-1.3084834

 

 

10 Responses

  1. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Nice article. The Pope inverted the pyramid to provide a work-around for the Revised Code of Canon Law. I saw this as him handing over the keys to the Church for a time, so that ideas could bubble to the surface. The problem now is that without a “governing body” accepting proposals and a format developed for this, silence and bewilderment could potentially be in the forefront during the most important time in our lives.

    Building bridges is a very important responsibility; this is what the Pope wants and here is how it is delivered to the end user. This algorithm is out there. There is a huge possibility to span the divide between today and tomorrow and an ever materializing opportunity to do so. It reappears daily.

    I’ll ask again: where is this Church of the inverted pyramid we’ve been promised? Are there any takers out there because there are those who have a great deal to give to this Church.

    A great thanks to Fr. Hederman for the Nova Scotia shout-out – ;).

  2. Anne

    Thank You Fr.Hederman for that refreshing article. I listened to an interview you gave on the radio recently also and I thought if only there were more people like you in the Church.
    I read somewhere once that some cultures recognise that in the human family there are men , women, feminine men and masculine women. As you say we all have a bit of both.

  3. JohnM

    The news today that the Christian Brothers are selling off a school playing field, leaving “their” students with no playing field suggests again that the vision has been lost. The Sisters of Charity trying to leverage their ownership of a site worth a few millions of maybe tens of millions so as to get ownership of a new hospital which will be funded by the taxpayer was another poor example. An excellent example from recent news is of course Fr Sullivan SJ who was a genuine man of God.

  4. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Anne @ 2, I live alongside a 10,000+ year old North American Aboriginal culture (The Mi’kmaq) who have used the term “two-spirit” to describe their gender, sexual, and spiritual identity since time immemorial.

  5. Mary Vallely

    The canon to which Mark Patrick Hederman refers is Canon 129 which rules that no lay person can exercise the ” power of governance” in the church. I’m going to quote from Brian Lennon’s (SJ) excellent book, “Can I Stay In the Catholic Church” ( Columba Press 2012) where he mentions Canon 129:-
    “If we change it clericalism will decline and accountability could be improved. If lay people begin to exercise a degree of authority this could open the doors to changes in the role of women in the church.”
    Why can’t we work towards getting this changed??
    I wholeheartedly agree with MPH’s views in this article particularly about the need to open up our minds, hearts and ears to recognise the Holy Spirit in each one of us and to cast aside age old prejudicial notions about gender. I also believe that we have to learn to accept criticism without continually going on the defensive. Criticism and dissension can be positive forces for good. We don’t progress unless we allow their healthy outlet.
    We reflect the love of Christ by learning to live together in harmony and by showing that we respect each other and the planet that we share. The vision of a ‘synodal church’ in which there is ‘free and open debate and consultation’ is surely the model we need to embrace if we want to work towards achieving this harmony?

  6. JohnM

    One might comment also on the forthcoming synod on the family. It is of course laudable and perhaps even necessary. Potentially more revolutionary for the catholic church might be a synod on community. Such a synod could really challenge the hierarchies and challenge the pretence that the the catholic church is in any sense a real community, or set of communities or that it actually promotes community.

  7. Rory Connor

    One quote from Fr. Hederman’s article in the Irish Times
    The suggestion that because there are two forms of the one species, male and female, our culture must be either matriarchy or patriarchy, that either the women must dominate the men or vice versa, is simply to transfer the worst features of the culture of the past onto all culture of the future. A balance between two such tendencies should be achieved and maintained, even if this has never been done before.

    I find the idea that such a balance has never before been achieved in human history extraordinary. Even more extraordinary is the idea that modern culture is on the brink of achieving it. Of the 28 member states of the EU, I think Ireland is the only one that has a fertility rate sufficient to replace the population. And this is likely to be a throwback to the past rather than a sign of hope for the future. A recent article in Forbes magazine entitled “Death Spiral Demographics” had a subheading “Europe: Homeland of Demographic Decline” and included the observation that “the population of the EU is expected to peak by 2050 and then gradually decline, suggesting a dim future for that body even if it holds together.” Naturally the Catholic Church in Ireland should respond to this situation in some way – but by doing what? ENDORSING a culture of contraception, divorce, abortion and euthanasia?

    The basic requirements for any society are the ability to maintain internal order and defend itself against external attack. An army and a police force comprised mainly of young men is needed to do this. No “balance between the sexes” can exist if the EU states cannot supply the basics for survival.

    I suspect that a future historian chronicling the Decline and Fall of the West will depict Humanae Vitae as a brave but doomed attempt to prevent a society from abolishing itself!

  8. Rory Connor

    Writing in the Irish Times Mark Patrick Hederman suggests that there is little time left for the Catholic Church in Ireland to adapt to the realities of life as it is now lived before being reduced to a tiny irrelevant minority.”

    Yes indeed “the realities of life as it is now lived”. A few years ago an Irish Independent review of the Paul Williams book “Badfellas” contained the following observation:
    Before this new era of the gun [from 1970], serious crime had been almost unknown in Ireland, and former Justice Minister Des O’Malley recalled being a young barrister in the Limerick of the 1960s when, at sittings of the Circuit Court, the county registrar would present the judge with a pair of white gloves.

    This he said was no signify that there was no indictable crime to be dealt with, and he added: I don’t think there were white gloves in the Limerick of the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s or that there will ever be again”.

    Of course Des O’Malley was perfectly correct. An article in the Sunday Tribune in January 2006 stated that the previous 12 months had been the bloodiest in the peacetime history of the State with a total of 60 people killed, being the highest number since the ending of the Civil War. The article highlighted the role of criminal gangs, the increase in the drugs trade and the increased accessibility of firearms. However, 41 of the 60 killings in had no connection to organised crime, highlighting a growing problem of excessive violence in Ireland. “Many of the young men who were killed [in 2005] died from injuries sustained during late-night alcohol-fuelled fights.” This situation is continuing. The authorities brought a crime wave in Limerick under control by swamping the city with Gardai but this is not possible for the whole country.

    Catholic clergy often have to deal with the causes and the consequences of this savage violence. The whole tenor of Fr Hederman’s article is to suggest that the Church should adapt itself to the type of secular mores that produced this tragedy. As he writes in the Irish Times “the world was hit by a cultural tsunami in the 20th century.” Nobody could disagree with that. And certainly the Church has to adapt itself to deal with the consequences of this cultural tsunami. But why on earth should we see it as a positive development for either society or the Catholic Church?

    Does Fr. Hederman really have no objection to the philosophy of radical individualism and anti-clericalism that permeates modern Ireland? Should the Church just accept it all as “the realities of life as it is now lived”?

  9. Michelle Housewife

    Rory Connor highlights the choice:- choose your church and what it teaches or go elsewhere. The tide of radical individualism and anti-clericalism shows itself in an increase in disorder. Drug crime, gangs, prostitution, bombings, fraud, robbery, lies, infidelity even the wildness of the latest US president epitomises a self-centred culture. All kinds of selfishness and we have to live with it, die with it, grieve. As Ireland, indeed Western Europe has got richer its need for religion has declined because conformity, goodness and God are old hat, boring. The rich don’t need God. In the spirit of Martin Luther we spend our time pointing out each other’s faults and failings. Our inadequacy, hypocrisy, sinfulness are sticks to beat the church. Instead of digging in and putting it right in the spirit of the Council of Trent we try to bring the whole thing down. I love our church. She is flawed, She fails. She tries. She has striven to follow Christ and seek God and heaven no matter the cost. And she has succeeded at points. I have to say as a woman I have only felt valued by our church. It teaches we are created eternal souls, we are temples of Christ in the image and likeness of God. His will must come above our will. In the past I found it hard to believe. Living a secular life was too hard, no rest and it ended in death. I wanted to believe in better. I came back. Yes! I am old hat, retro. I am pro-clerical, pro-Church, pro-purity, pro-chastity, pro-joy. Where there is wrongdoing it must be stopped. In the meantime can we stand back and appreciate what we have been part and love the Catholic Church? When the late Martin McGuinness passed the British press could not forgive. I could. Here was a man who was identified with a terrorist organisation because of what he believed but he turned to peace. Seeing his coffin as he died an Irish statesman showed he died in peace. A peace preached by our old-hat religion. And he was buried in it by some hierarchical retro celibate priest. I want to be buried the same way in the hope of rising again into a perfect world that is no democracy. No people rule there only God. It is heaven. Mark Patrick Hederman wants to stop writing books and start working with those at the bottom of society. They have moved with the times and they are victims of the times.

  10. Joe O'Leary

    “Rory Connor highlights the choice:- choose your church and what it teaches or go elsewhere. The tide of radical individualism and anti-clericalism shows itself in an increase in disorder. Drug crime, gangs, prostitution, bombings, fraud, robbery, lies, infidelity even the wildness of the latest US president epitomises a self-centred culture. All kinds of selfishness and we have to live with it, die with it, grieve. As Ireland, indeed Western Europe has got richer its need for religion has declined because conformity, goodness and God are old hat, boring. The rich don’t need God. In the spirit of Martin Luther we spend our time pointing out each other’s faults and failings. Our inadequacy, hypocrisy, sinfulness are sticks to beat the church. Instead of digging in and putting it right in the spirit of the Council of Trent we try to bring the whole thing down.”

    Martin Luther is the villain? Trent is our salvation? Democracy will be abolished in the Kingdom of God?


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