30May Who would want to be a bishop?

With a seeming hiccup holding up the production line of new bishops, {five appointments in the waiting line}, Brendan Hoban asks in his weekly column "who would want to be a bishop? "
A little tongue in cheek he suggests " a few of us might even at this late hour be prepared, for the good of the Church and reluctantly, of course, to accept high office though in advanced years, .... So if the nuncio is really, really stuck, I have a few in mind who would loosen things up a bit."

27May Soul Friend

With genuine concern being expressed in varied quarters about the toll on the mental and physical health of priests due to increasing workloads and expectations Brian Fahy's article is timely.
"A soul friend is someone you can go to regularly and share your spiritual feelings and condition with them, trusting them to hold your confidence and to listen in a positive and constructive manner, and who will offer guidance and advice as needed. This habit of having a soul friend puts us all on the level playing field. You are no longer regarded as a suitable case for treatment. You are a fellow traveller on life’s journey and your soul is never neglected."

26May The Practice of Mercy v The CDF

John O Connell, retired parish priest of Bray, recalls a run in some years ago with the CDF. Their heavy hand has been felt for many years by teachers and pastors alike but now more and more people are no longer willing to submit to their secretive ways and suffer in silence. There are probably many more stories of their attempted suppression of pastoral practices.

22May All that He made is good

Fr. John Mannion in “Doctrine and Life” (Dominican publication) January, 2016 wrote about the dilemma that Gays present to the church.
The traditional response was, he said, "fed by a historical separation .... between scientific advancement and Thomistic moral theology."
"The current theory explaining the biology of sexuality ... has two complementary dimensions, one evolutionary, the other statistical."
Outlining this theory, he states, that it "explains the major sexual phenomena currently the focus of controversy in most societies".
"In medical circles, the curtain has irrevocably set on those who think that homosexuality is an illness which can be cured with psychological treatment."
John concludes that "We live in a country which still calls itself Christian but where the level of scholarship needed to bridge the gap between modern man and a heritage of thousands of years is often conspicuous by its absence."

17May Summary of Pope Francis’ “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia):

Pat Rogers provides a summary of Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation, 'The Joy of Love'. Pat says his intention is "to provide the main thrust, and some of the key phrases, of this most encouraging papal teaching on family life today. I feel that this inspirational text has not yet been widely publicised or read here in Ireland."

15May Priestless Church Buildings

What to do with church buildings when there are no priests is an issue that will face most parishes in the immediate future, despite the fact that church authorities soldier on as though no drastic changes are on the horizon.
Alan McGill puts forward a suggestion on how these buildings can be utilised 'by predominantly or entirely lay communities so as to continue to be oases of prayer and pastoral care'.
Alan McGill works fulltime as Director of Faith Formation and Liturgy at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the city-center of Atlanta. He is a native of Dublin.

12May Ordaining Women to the Diaconate: a small step forward?

Various news services are reporting remarks by Pope Francis that appear to indicate his willingness to formally study the possibility of the ordination of women to the diaconate.

10May Curial reform must include reform of CDF processes

America magazine and the National Catholic Reporter remind CDF and Vatican officials that the issue of the injustice of CDF procedures isn’t just going to disappear because they choose to ignore it.

Neither will the issue be disappeared by Vatican officials practising a basic lack of courtesy and good manners in refusing to read or acknowledge a letter sent to them about such a grave issue.
Did they learn nothing of the damage done to individuals and to church in the recent past by their ignoring issues of justice and people’s rights?

01May When is a catholic not a ‘real’ catholic?

Brendan Hoban, writing in the Western People, takes issue with those who would 'adjudicate infallibly' on who was catholic enough to have identified themselves as catholic in the recent census.
'Usually this rigid definition of what constitutes a Catholic ... comes not from agnostic or atheistic sources but from very conservative, ultra-traditional Catholics who are impatient with what they regard as any perceived diminution in Catholicism. Usually liberal media .. tend to be more amenable to those who fail to reach the ideal, apart obviously from Catholics, for whom a new and worrying intolerance is developing.'

30Apr Priests who Marry; Defection or New Direction?

Brian Eyre, writing from Brazil, raises the issue of a chronic shortage of priests in many places and a possible short term solution by inviting back to public ministry those who were debarred from it because they no longer wished to live a celibate life.
Brian also asks why official Vatican documents still refer to priests who have married as 'defections'; "why use language like this that is mean, small-minded and very hurtful?'"
We can only join with Brian in querying the use of such uncharitable language. With such an attitude still prevalent in curial circles in Rome is it any wonder the 'Year of Mercy' has failed to find traction among people?