28Sep The dangers of bishops being disconnected from society

We carry an extract from an exchange between Justice McClellan, Chief Commissioner Australian Royal Commission on Sex abuse of children, and retired Bishop of Parramatta, Bede Heather.
This exchange shows the dangers of bishops being disconnected from society and living at a remove from the lives of the people they minister to. Would they be elected by their community?

28Sep Association of Catholic Priests and the Papal Nuncio

Kevin Hegarty writing recently in the Mayo News about the refusal of the Papal Nuncio to meet the ACP touched on the Nuncio's role in 'creating' bishops and its implications for the future of church in Ireland.

27Sep The priests of Mexico, bleeding with their flock

Since 1990, 52 priests have been killed, according to a report by Mexico's Catholic Multimedia Centre.
Harry Farley writes in Christian Today about the recent murders of three priests in Mexico and quotes Roberto Blancharte, a scholar at the Colegio de Mexico, as saying that "there was a deep divide between the Church's hierarchy who tend to live in luxury and mix with corrupt politicians, and its clergy, who rub shoulders with the country's poorest"
Farley says 'The belief church leaders have cowed to pressure is widespread among parishes and the silence over murdered priests only fuels this perception. "When a priest gets killed, it should be a rallying cry," said David Shirk, director of the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego is quoted . "We should know his name. He should be a martyr."

24Sep Four Part Harmony of Gospel moments: There is hope.

Seamus Ahearne sees hope in the world and people about him, in the 40th anniversary celebration of priesthood, in each person's 'magnificat'.
"magnificat?’
Mary (Our lady) thanked God – by saying ‘He that is mighty has done great things for me; holy is his name.’
Seamus challenges us; "(we) are searching for words and whispers of God always. And God is always talking and always letting us know something new if we listen. It is an exciting life; a frustrating life and an infuriating life but wonderful, which means of course full of wonder. God is forever a teasing, taunting, torment. Is there a better life? Is there a more fulfilling life? For some of us – it is the right one. Why has God been so good to you and to us? Give us your magnficat. Don’t give us a weary God or shout about problems. There is always more."

21Sep Church faces ‘huge wake up call’

Noel Baker reports in the Irish Examiner on the The Irish Examiner / ICMSA Farming Poll that brought to light the latest views and opinions on religion and the priesthood among the farming community.
Taken among what is regarded as a very traditional group (69% of the respondents said they attended Mass every week), 82% of respondents agreed that priests should be allowed to marry.
Regarding the ordination of women 70% of those aged 34 and under supported such a move, but a higher percentage of older farmers backed the idea of women priests, from 75% of those aged over 65, to 87% of those aged 55 to 64. While 82% of men supported the idea of women priests, 76% of women were in favour.

Sean McDonagh commented “The most interesting thing is here are lay people and people of faith seeing that the present rules are not functioning and want to see a change to allow it to function better,”

The survey certainly shows a hierarchy with views at total odds with the laity.

Archbishop Brown, Papal Nuncio, said "allowing serving priests to marry or allowing women priests would not be following the Catholic tradition."

20Sep Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality

Following the release of 'The ethics of using contraceptives' by the Wijngaards Institute another group of academics has released their own statement affirming Humanae Vitae during a press conference at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Dialogue and debate can only be good and informative.

16Sep The ethics of using contraceptives

In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Humanae Vitae: On the Regulation of Birth,” the Wijngaards Institute gathered an interdisciplinary task force of experts to re-assess the ethics of using contraception.
That have issued a statement presenting a summary of their work.
They openly declare "Our goal is to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse their stance against so called “artificial” contraceptives. To this end, we will make the Statement’s findings known to Catholic church officials and opinion leaders (e.g. bishops, priests, religious sisters, management and medical staff of Catholic health care facilities, Catholic social workers, journalists, etc.), as well as ordinary Catholics."

15Sep The making of bishops

Joshua J. McElwee reports in the National Catholic Reporter that the recent meeting of the Council of Cardinals discussed the role of Nuncios in the appointment of bishops. It seems the Council of Cardinals previously discussed the selection of bishops around the world in their meeting held last April.
Are they talking to anyone other than themselves about how bishops are chosen and appointed?

08Sep Church Collusion in Calumny

Tim Hazlewood asks "What is the official Church policy concerning anonymous allegations?" Despite repeated attempts in the past to get an answer to this question Tim says "I failed to secure a tangible answer. All I got was vagueness." But in a recent meeting he was told "that the policy is to inform the relevant authorities following an anonymous allegation against a priest. There it was at last in no uncertain terms. No ambiguity this time." But as he asks, "what are the implications?"

07Sep Lessons to be Learned

Brendan Hoban writing in the Western People wonders if any lessons have been learned from the Maynooth debacle.