01Feb The Church: Always in Need of Reform – Book Review

Paul Graham OSA reviews Gabriel Daly's, "The Church: Always in Need of Reform".
He says of it 'I expected to find an intellectual outlook that had become passé, full of the thoughts of an old man unable to accept that the theological frontline has moved on. Quite the contrary, in fact. This book is a distillation of the best of liberal Catholic thought, expressed clearly and with conviction.'

20Jan Dublin Diocese 2030 – Quo vadis?

The Council of Priests of Dublin Diocese commissioned a report by Towers Watson to estimate the number of active Priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin in 2030 and estimate the Mass attendance numbers and number of people presenting for sacraments in 2030.
The report having made this estimate then puts forward some suggested ways of coping with the projected situation. These suggestions are to be discussed by the Council of priests.
How similar is it to projections made by others dioceses?
Are there any new imaginative suggestions as to how the Church in Ireland should respond to the impending virtual disappearance of priests from most communities?

15Dec The Church Always In Need of Reform

Brendan Hoban in his weekly column in 'The Western People' reviews Gabriel Daly's most recent book, 'The Church always in need of Reform'.
"This is a remarkable book in the clarity of its thought and the conviction of the writer. Gabriel Daly’s contribution to theology has been immense but I would suggest that nothing he has written is as important as this book."
" ... a robust and convincing analysis of where we are as a Church, and, if there’s a book I’d recommend for Christmas, this would have to be it."

09Dec Living Positively in the face of Injustice

Tony Flannery, on his own blog, reflects on his experience of the past four years.
"I tell myself I have coped reasonably well....
I think it has also served to strengthen my views on the urgent need for reform in the Church...
I believed the process they (the Vatican) engaged in with me was seriously unjust and abusive...
His (Pope Francis) coming brought a great ray of light and hope for the Church, and lifted my spirits also...
But there are times when the reality of this enormous upheaval in my life hits me, and I feel oppressed by it...
Some of the things that tend to make me angry:
– The total indifference shown by the Irish bishops to the sanctioning of myself and five other Irish priests.
- Bishop Crean’s banning of my invitation to speak in Killeagh ... did hurt me ...
- the opposition to Pope Francis by very senior figures in the Church...

I have great support from my family and close friends, which of course is crucial. There is also a wide body of people who give me encouragement. "

28Nov The Pact of the Catacombs

With the example of the lifestyle of Pope Francis there is renewed interest in many circles in a document known as the 'Pact of the Catacombs'. Can all bishops and all who are in authority positions in church learn from it?

As Vatican Council II drew to a close in 1965, 40 bishops met at night in the Domitilla Catacombs outside Rome. In that holy place of Christian dead they celebrated the Eucharist and signed a document that expressed their personal commitments as bishops to the ideals of the Council under the suggestive title of the Pact of the Catacombs.

It is known that the bishops were led by Archbishop Helder Camara of Recife, Brazil, one of the widely respected 20th century champions of justice and peace.
The pact had some clear objectives;
"We renounce forever the appearance and the substance of wealth, especially in clothing (rich vestments, loud colours)..."
"As far as possible we will entrust the financial and material running of our diocese to a commission of competent lay persons..."
"We do not want to be addressed verbally or in writing with names and titles that express prominence and power (such as Eminence, Excellency, Lordship)..."
"we will try be make ourselves as humanly present and welcoming as possible; and we will show ourselves to be open to all, no matter what their beliefs..."

24Nov The Inquisition by any other name

Fr. P. John Mannion in this article explores the disjunction between the Church’s Canon Law and the teaching of the New Testament.
He does so in the context of the dealings of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly The Inquisition, with Fr. Tony Flannery.
The injustice of those dealings and lack of due process is compounded when some commentators lay charges against Tony Flannery on the basis of what the CDF has done rather than anything he actually said.

21Nov Rigidity kills the Heart

Seamus Ahearne wrote this in response to the post 'De-centralisation and the selection of bishops'.
It deserves its own space and as usual Seamus challenges us in a gentle way to expand our horizons.
"We don’t have to protect God. God is used to our mess. Let’s take hold of the vision from Rome and apply it locally."

20Nov Pope Francis’ Advice for Bishops, Priests and prospective Seminarians

Iacopo Scaramuzzi reports on some off the cuff remarks made by Pope Francis at a Conference sponsored by the Congregation for the Clergy.
He told bishops: “Be present in your dioceses of resign”
To priests he said “It is not normal for a priest to be often sad, nervous, or of a hard character; it is not good, and does no good, neither for the priest nor for his people,”
About those wishing to enter the seminary he said authorities should think twice if the young man “is too confident, rigid and fundamentalist”.

20Nov De-centralisation and the selection of bishops

Robert Mickens in his 'Letter from Rome' on Global Pulse Magazine comments on the stresses and strains that surface when trying to attempt de-centralisation in the church. He says "Reactions to the US bishops’ deliberations this week at their fall meeting suggest that Catholics may have drawn the conclusion, unwittingly, that decentralization may not be all that it’s cracked up to be."
However he adds 'it is going to be a rough and rocky road to healthy decentralization in the Catholic Church. It’s not likely to happen until the synodality that Francis is trying to instill in the Church’s way of living and being also embraces and transforms the way bishops are selected.
Even if a change in the discernment process for choosing our pastors were to be implemented in the next couple of years, it would probably take at least two more generations before we’d get an episcopate that would make decentralized government effective.
Having said that, there are some men in miters – even those with the august rank of cardinal – who should be doing everything as the pope wishes, both in style and emphasis.
And they actually do work for him. They are called apostolic delegates and Vatican officials."

20Nov What Needs Reform in the Church?

Sarah Mac Donald reports in the NCR on a recent talk on "What Needs Reform in the Church?" by Fr. Gabriel Daly who was speaking ahead of the launch of his new book, 'The Church: Always in Need of Reform'