26Jun Sunday Eucharist is centrally important

Pádraig McCarthy reminds us, and the bishops, that St. John Paul II said "among the many activities of a parish, none is as vital or as community-forming as the Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist".
John Paul also underlined the importance of “ensuring that parish assemblies are not without the necessary ministry of priests”, but according to Padraig 'the Church is not ensuring this.'
Time has run out for action to be taken but we wait, and wait, and wait......

25Jun The Place of Silencing in the Teaching of the Church

Soline Humbert brings to our attention a presentation by Sr Jeannine Gramick from 2000 about a document, relevant to the issue of silencing, that was produced by the Second General Assembly of the 1971 Synod of Bishops. Entitled Justice in the World . . .It says: “The Church recognizes everyone’s right to suitable freedom of expression and thought. This includes the right of everyone to be heard in a spirit of dialogue which preserves a legitimate diversity within the Church” (JW 44).
Soline says 'the importance of this document exceeds the importance of any document produced by a Vatican dicastery because it bears the weight of the world’s bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome. This fact should be noted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF], which has silenced theologians and pastoral workers even after Vatican II. A higher authority than the CDF has validated free expression and public debate on controversial theological issues."

21Jun Stifle debate, stifle church

Tony Flannery has written an article, published in The Irish Times and on his own website, about the attempted stifling of the debate about the ordination of women.

"The efforts made by the Vatican to silence discussion on the ordination of women over the past 50 years have been both unsuccessful and unwise."
"Though Pope Francis has said that this door is closed, his consistent call for open discussion and dialogue, and indeed for open doors, has created a climate where the whole issue of women’s place in the church is now centre stage."
"The effort by the Vatican to stifle debate, often by using methods that should never be part of the Christian community, is doing enormous damage to the church."

21Jun Legitimising what’s unacceptable.

Brendan Hoban in his weekly Western People column reflects on the recent atrocity in Orlando.
Wondering about the influence religion may have in encouraging acts of homophobic violence he writes;
"A Florida bishop, Robert Lynch, lamented the role religion has played in breeding contempt for the LGBT community: ‘Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,’ he wrote ‘attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence."

14Jun Understanding Francis

In seeking to explain Pope Francis, Antonio Spadaro S.J. in Cyber Theology points to 5 traits of the ministry of Francis.
'Francis is a pope who is living his ministry as a ministry of discernment, of ”incomplete thought”…'

14Jun What do we need? Catholic Intellectuals or Cheer Leaders

Brendan Hoban, writing in the Western People, welcomes Archbishop Diarmaid Martin's recent comments about the lack of 'people of intellect who can address the pressing issues of the day' in the church in Ireland and the need for ‘competent lay men and women well educated in their faith’.
Archbishop Martin's comments, read in conjunction with Siobhán Larkin's research http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2016/06/nurturing-the-roots/ ,
point to a definite need in church and is a call for urgent action to address this issue.

13Jun Nurturing the roots

Siobhán Larkin is a Holy Faith Sister who worked in New Zealand; she has lectured in All Hallows and has recently completed her Doctorate.
In this article she kindly shares some of the conclusions that she has drawn from her research.
Her thesis "puts the spot light on work that is being done by many committed lay people and suggests that education of this group in particular is imperative if this strong force within the Catholic Church is to be maintained and expanded."
"the renewal of the Church in Ireland is most likely to begin at grass roots level, and that it is in the renewal of parish life that the sense of belonging to the community of the Church will be revived."
"Official recognition of the place of lay people in ministry roles in Ireland is essential....... At national and diocesan level it is essential that ways of financing the education of adult lay people, particularly those who are undertaking significant roles, is found."

07Jun Clerics still tilting at windmills

Brendan Hoban, in the Western People, considers the case of the politician who was dismissed from the ministry of reader in Cobh.
"If every priest in Ireland was to examine the consciences of everyone who has a ministry in the Church and decide whether or not they tick the one-size-fits-all Catholic box (and act according to the Cobh dictat) it would clear out our parishes in jig-time. We need to jettison that sniffy, arrogant mentality before it does real damage."

03Jun Guilty until proven Innocent 

Sarah Mac Donald writing in this week's Tablet describes the awful ordeal of Fr Tim Hazelwood who had an anonymous false allegation made against him and who then was left to prove his own innocence while feeling totally abandoned by official church and fobbed off by the National Safeguarding Board.
“I was left feeling very alone”, he says. “I had to fight my accuser but I also had to fight the Church, because it didn’t help in any way.”
This article raises very disturbing questions for church authorities in how they deal with anonymous allegations, questions that should prevent them from sleeping easily until they have been fully resolved.
Robert Dore, solicitor, describes the Church’s protocols on anonymous allegations as “wrong” and “wholly inappropriate”.

31May Real reform or window dressing?

John Shea has again written to Pope Francis and to the Council of Cardinals asking for honest dialogue on the issue of the ordination of women.