28Jul Another Redemptorist in the firing line! Brendan Butler

The  Redemptorist Order seems to be  in the firing line of the Vatican and  should be proud of such a distinction. After the silencing of two Redemptorist priests,   Gerry Moloney and Tony Flannery here  now Archbishop Bezak,  a  52 year old  Redemptorist  Archbishop of Trnnava, in Slovakia has been personally dismissed by Pope Benedict after refusing to go quietly . He had been only in the job for three years and appears to have upset his very conservative predecessor Archbishop Sokol by investigating alleged financial irregularities in the running of the Archdiocese over the past twenty years of Sokol’s reign. The dismissed Bezak spoke at his last mass saying only that the Vatican had ordered him ‘not to speak to the media about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal ‘.

The culture of silence both on the part of those unjustly punished and those who use such silencing under the vow of religious and priestly  obedience , is a grave stain on our Church . Priests, Religious and and Bishops are silenced and dismissed through processes that are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. When can we ever  expect a whistle blowers’  charter in the catholic Church – I’m afraid we will have to await the ‘final judgement ‘.

Brendan Butler

21 Responses

  1. Alice Merl

    A quick Google check reveals that there is far more to this story than Brendan would have us believe. Of course, we don’t have to take Brendan’s word for it – we do all have access to the wider internet, and thank God for that.

  2. Perry

    You should be on the rooftops like canaries – singing, whistling or yodeling.

    Truth sets free.

    So they abuse you and then threaten you if you speak of it ?

    “Evil flourishes when good men sit back and ‘say’ nothing….”

    I really wish I could even begin to comprehend how silencing people like this is ‘good’.

    Good for what – for whom ?

    It’s not just a ‘grave stain.’

    It’s a ‘grave sin’ surely ?

  3. Sean

    Well thank God the spirit of courage and honesty still reigns among the Redemptorists.
    And while the church ordered him ‘not to speak to the media about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal ‘ I am confident this level of secrecy will soon be a thing of the past….thanks to the social media. Twitter rather than the Gospel may well be what forces the Vatican to proclaim the truth.

  4. Raymond Hickey Bordine

    I can’t help but to notice a pattern with all of these ‘dismissals’ orchestrated by the Vatican. Clerics who advocate for: women in priesthood, married men in priesthood, same-sex marriage, restoring principles of Vatican Council II, transparency in the RCC, primacy of conscience and an emphasis on the love of Jesus as opposed to fear, all bring about the same result: dismissal by the Vatican. As Sr. Patricia Farrell, leader of the LCWR, recently said, “It’s as if you can’t think if you wish to remain a Roman Catholic.” In other words, only the brain-dead need apply!

    The pattern suggests to me a tendency to be more Nazi-like than Christ-like. Any sort of deviance from the magical path of the Magisterium is treated as heresy rather than as pursuit of further truth; any attempt to show compassion and understanding for the marginalized is interpreted as an attack on the hierarchy; all individual freedom of expression is deemed to be unacceptable by the religious leaders. Control and authority by the system and its minions have replaced love and freedom advocated by Jesus, the Christ.

    “He drew a circle that shut me out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in.” Edwin Markham

  5. Mary Cunningham

    The culture of silence, both on the part of those punished and those who use such silencing under the vow of obedience, is indeed a grave indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. Processes that are shrouded in secrecy and third party threats, may be open to charges of psychological manipulation and thought control, resonant of totalitarian states.

    Suppression of the free expression of thought, the mysterious disappearance of writings on certain ‘questionable’ topics is disturbing. Strangely, many of these writings are on that scary topic of sex and gender, the elephant in the room for the Vatican.

    Perhaps the Vatican at the present time could be described as being objectively disordered, with a tendency towards certain intrinsic moral errors.
    The truth in freedom and justice will set us free. Let our modern-day prophets be heard.

    Even upon slaves, both men and women, I will pore out my Spirit and they shall prophecy.” (Acts 2: 16-17)

    Mary Cunningham

  6. Brendan Butler

    In reply to Alice as regards the dismissal of Archbishop Bezak by Pope Benedict it would serve the interests of truth if she has contrary information regarding his dismissal to publish it. There was a Vatican ‘investigation ‘ conducted in the utmost secrecy but as with all such secret trials truth is the first victim. It reinforces the injustice of secrecy surrounding his dismissal as now it is open to anyone to question and impugn Bezak’s integrity not alone as an Archbishop but also as a human person.
    How can the Church proclaim injustices in society when its own credibility as a witness to justice in its own community is suspect .

  7. Amy Ho-Ohn

    “Persecutions are to the works of God what the frosts of winter are to plants. Far from destroying them, they allow them to strike their roots deeper in soil and make them more full of life.”

    – St. Alphonsus

  8. Soline Humbert

    There were many who thought the church could/would never recognise a woman doctor of the church.And yes, it took several centuries,until 1969, but now there are 3 and there will be a fourth one (Hildegard of Bingen) in October.Some day women’s God given vocations to the ordained ministries will be equally recognised. After all “With God nothing is impossible” first applied to a woman!The Spirit blows where S/He wills….

  9. Henry

    Dear Mr. Butler,

    The Catholic Church has good reason sometimes to discipline its clergy in the same manner as principals have to discipline teachers, employees or pupils in school.

  10. Sean (Derry)

    Sorry to burst your bubble Soline but God is not a ‘she’, unless of course you know different and can enlighten the rest of us.

  11. Raymond Hickey Bordine

    To Sean from Derry: nor is God a He! I think Soline, when using the She/He in reference to God, was trying to indicate it is impossible to say what God is. I think we all make a mistake, the RCC particularly, when we try to define ‘God’ and place the concept into some sort of category. From where I stand, the only thing that is certain is ‘God is Love’. Everything else is MYSTERY.

    In her excellent book, “The History of God”, the first thing the author writes is that ‘we must begin by saying that when it comes to God, we don’t know what we are talking about.’ That is, in my opinion, a much more authentic approach than to try and dogmatically and doctrinally state what must be believed. When we begin to concretize myths, we miss the whole point of the story.

    As the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, wrote: “Acknowledged ignorance and hopeful insecurity are two angels guarding our way.” The only thing ‘certain’ is a closed mind. God bless.

  12. Ann Lardeur

    God is actually a category of one. The Trinity is Father, Son and Spirit, but as God is not He, just God. The Holy Spirit is actually the one Person who has changed gender! The Spirit hovering over the waters in Ruarch in Hebrew and is a feminine word ‘wind/breath’. Gender changed when translated into Greek – pneuma; also wind/breath and spirit. Final gender change comes upon translation into Latin where the word in masculine …… and of course then into English, keeping the masculine, He and Him. There is therefore justification for refering to the Holy Spirit as SHE.
    As I read it Soline refers to the Spirit as S/He not God. Sorry, Sean of Derry, if this bursts your bubble.

  13. Soline Humbert

    Sean,I actually wrote S/He for the Holy Spirit.In Hebrew it’s feminine: Ruah.And in my language of origin,French,The Blessed Trinity is also feminine: La Sainte Trinité… The Godhead is Mystery beyond gender.

  14. Sean (Derry)

    The Catholic Church has never referred to the Holy Spirit as “She” when speaking of the person of the Holy Spirit so be very careful of this subtle ‘new-agey’ trend. The Church has in fact always referred to the Holy Spirit as ‘He’.
    The Nicene Creed also confirms this when we say:
    “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    With the Father and the Son, ‘HE’ is worshiped and glorified.”
    I have yet to meet anyone who suggests that God or the Holy Spirit is or might be female that does not have an alternative agenda.

    Going a little off track, but on the same theme as introducing doubt or falsehood into the Faith, a priest, on Sunday past, in Donegal (where I was on holiday), enlightened us all by declaring that it was NOT an angel who appeared to and fed Elijah, but it was in fact simply a kind passer-by.
    Poor old confused Elijah, can’t tell the difference between an angel from heaven and a human. Well done Father for giving your own false interpretation of the Bible to those 300 approx Catholics who made the effort to attend Mass. Another opportunity wasted to feed the people with proper truth. Of course this same priest couldn’t bring himself to say to use that dreaded word ‘men’ when if came time to say ‘for us ‘men’ and for our salvation..’

  15. Pól Ó Duibhir

    Surely the current references to SHE are simply pointing out that HE is not appropriate either. Since when did spirits have gender?
    HE was the default usage, reflecting the societal values of the time. SHE is challenging these values.
    All seems very straightforward to me.

  16. Ann Lardeur

    Sean – read my post @ 12 on language. The creed recited at Nicea having started with “We believe” ends simply with “And in the Holy Spirit”. It was in greek and uses the neuter pneuma. The expansion came with the 150 Fathers at Constantinople 1 in 381. Again in Greek and again using pneuma. The translation is “And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding forth from the Father, co-worshiped and co-glorified with the Father and Son, the one who spoke through the prophets; …..”
    (Translation from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Ed. Norman Tanner S.J. 2 vols complete with imprimatur and nihil obstat.)
    The Nicene Creed you quote is from translation into latin where, as I explained in post 12, gender changed to masuline. There is nothing new age or trendy about this – it is rooted in the history of language and the history of the Church.
    As Jesus spoke Aramaic he would have used ‘Spirit’ in the femine and then she. Unfortunately we only have New Testament in Greek, which is already a translation of Jesus’s native language. By the way, my M.Th. is in New Testament Christology and Patristics!

  17. Sean (Derry)

    Ann, when it comes to resolving such a matter, the correct thing to do is to look to the Catholic Church as the true source of truth and not the individual or private interpretations of individuals, of which I include myself. Therefore lets look at what the Church teaches. The Holy See’s Liturgiam Authenticam (issued in English on May 7, 2001) declared: “In referring to almighty God or the individual persons of the most Holy Trinity, the truth of tradition as well as the established gender usage of each respective language are to be maintained” (#31-a).
    As I mentioned in my previous post the established gender is and has always been male and the Catechism calls the Holy Spirit “He” and “Him”.
    In 1997, the Holy See issued its Norms for the Translation of Biblical Text for Use in the Liturgy, saying: “In fidelity to the inspired Word of God…. [and] in keeping with the Church’s tradition, the feminine and neuter pronouns are not to be used to refer to the person of the Holy Spirit” (4/3 and 4/4).
    However, it is the tradition to refer to ‘Holy mother Church’, as stated in the same document, ‘the use of the feminine pronoun, rather than the neuter, is to be maintained in referring to the Church.’

    Just because some individuals may wish to go ‘all-inclusive’ does not mean that it is correct. In fact I’m sure that most of these new ‘trendy’ issues that appear on this site have already been discussed and resolved over the centuries. Maybe not resolved to the satisfaction of certain individuals but certainly resolved by the One true Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  18. Jo O'Sullivan

    Unless two separate priests, in two different parts of Donegal, spoke of the “angel” perhaps being a passing stranger (and he DID say “perhaps”), then you and I attended the same Mass in my beloved home town last Sunday, Seán. Wow! What are the chances! I hope you love that beautiful place as much as I do.
    And it’s also quite revelatory how two different people can hear exactly the same words but react so differently to them.
    I loved how the priest spoke as he didn’t trot out the usual predictable, retelling of the words of the readings that so many priests seem to feel the need to do. He humanised the story – he made it become an event like one that can happen to any one of us any day in that “angels” appear in our lives all the time.
    Why is it so important to you that the “angel” in the story has to be a heavenly creature (whatever they may look like!) who revealed him/her-self( are angels male or female, Seán? Does it matter?) somehow to feed Elijah?

    And I wouldn’t worry about the congregation. The people of Donegal are well capable of hearing and understanding things for themselves. Those who wish to understand angels as separate heavenly bodies will continue to do so, and some others may, like me, have left the church after Mass deciding that we’ll look out for angels in our own lives and maybe even try to be angels for other people as we go along!

  19. Ann Lardeur

    Sean – you miss the point which actually fits in with your quote “tradition as well as the gender usage of each language are to be maintained”. The Roman Church uses latin therefore he for spirit and translations therefrom. The Catholic Church is wider than the latin, Roman Rite Church, as I am sure you are aware. In languages where Spirit is feminine it is she. The translation I quoted uses ‘one’ to avoid the neuter ‘it’; the Holy Spirit being a person cannot be an it.

    I would love to know why Rome does not take greater notice of the original greek documents rather than stick to latin versions. e.g. rose AGAIN in Creed comes from Hilary’s translation of the simple rose.

    Of course, Rome would rather have an image of the Trinity as two men and a bird, than have a feminine element. That would be just too dangerous. Oh dear, I have just realised that the change from female in Hebrew, neuter and Greek and finally male in Latin has made the Holy Spirit transgender and we cannot have that can we.

  20. Ann Lardeur

    Further thoughts on complication of language – particularly Sean on feminine Mother Church. If Church is bride of Christ is he marrying a/his mother? If Church is Body of Christ, does Christ has a female body?

    Rome seeks to control language because language conveys ideas. Reverting to the Creed of Nicea – original text is that “He became human” anthropos not aner/man male. If emphasis is on being human, and the Word being flesh the argument that only men can represent Christ at the altar is undermined.

    One classic example of man being inserted into text is the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John’s Gospel. John uses particples a great deal; the word man or even human does not appear. The greek reads something like ‘unless being born again no entering the kingdom of God’. Much of the New Testament and the writings of the early church fathers can be legitimately translated in inclusive language because of the use of anthropos not aner.

  21. Joe O'Leary

    Grammatical gender does not have direct relevance to sexual gender. When the French call the victim of Calvary “elle” they are not projecting a female image of Christ. Pneuma in Greek is grammatically neuter, and if asked which sexual gender best fits the Spirit I would say “it” rather than “he” or “she”. The Spirit is “the breath” or “the finger of God”.

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