29Sep CDF, Edinburgh, Kasper, and the local Church.

I had a call from a TV Studio in Belfast asking me to take part in a discussion on the question of divorced and remarried receiving Communion. That discussion was due to take place on Sunday morning. I couldn’t be there. I was then asked how such questions affect people in the parish here in Finglas. My reply was: it doesn’t ever come up. It is a non-issue. People have sufficient chaos in their lives not to be troubled with such unreal questions. It is too unimportant and possibly very academic. Such issues arise from a misunderstanding of what Eucharist is. I think Pope Francis would incline that way. Cardinal Kasper would tend that way too.

I believe a book has appeared with a cluster of cardinals who would differ. That book is edited by an Augustinian Bob Dodaro. I am not sure what they are up to. I find the Book rather pretentious even in the title: ‘Remaining in the truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church.’ (I need to be careful as I haven’t read all of the book!) Some see the Book as an attempt to get at Kasper or even Pope Francis or it might be just an attempt to open up the discussion at the Synod.

We had a Meeting with the parents of the First Communion & Confirmation children last week. The Parish Team wrote a letter and said something like this: First Communion is a wonderful time in the parish and in the school. The children love the preparation and the occasion. They do a brilliant job. The Confirmation year is a great year in the class room and on the day. But none of the children ever appear afterwards. And more importantly – none of the parents are church-going (same applies with Baptism or Weddings). What does it all mean? Is there a disconnect between such a Celebration and the Home? Do we trivialise the Sacred? Where is God to be found? What is Prayer?

Around half of the parents turned up. We opened up the chat with the blessing words from the Baptism: ‘You are first teachers of the child in the ways of life, love and faith; may you be the best of teachers.’ It was a gentle discussion. Many didn’t have the time to go to church; they felt too tired on a Sunday morning. Pray? Several pray in a few words at night with the children. One man said – that ‘if we don’t begin to come; when we need the Church; it won’t be there.’ One spoke of the clerical abuse. One spoke of the birth of her child and what a moment of mystery and prayer it was. Everyone wanted Communion ……. Confirmation.

On the following days, one lady came back. She was ashamed of herself. She wanted to say that she was too lazy to come; she wanted to disagree with the girl who spoke of abuse and saw it as only an excuse. She had gone home and had one of the deepest discussions her family ever had together. She never knew that her husband was so religious even after twenty years together. Another was upset that everyone hadn’t come….

Issues of admission to Communion never came up; if people come to Church, they see it as right to receive Communion. Isn’t that what the Eucharist is??

And then I hear that Leo Cushley (Edinburgh) has asked the Newman Society to un-invite Tina Beattie who was due to speak at St Catherine’s convent in Edinburgh. He was very annoyed that he was told about this speaking engagement by the CDF. (I had a life in Edinburgh. I know that convent.) I know too of Tina and her theological ability. I feel so embarrassed that such nonsense (banning and silencing) is still going on. Robust discussion is essential in our faith. Anselm said: ‘Theology is faith seeking understanding.’ Why didn’t Leo have the guts and the gumption to say to the CDF – ‘this is none of your business; I am delighted that serious reflection and discussion is going on. ‘ ( I thought the local church matters.)

In conclusion, if any of us are listening to the Christ of the Gospels in recent times – we would get something of these message: The Table is open. All comers are welcome. The outsiders are the insiders. The unlikely ones are the most acceptable ones. Never shut doors. Open hearts and open minds and open imaginations.

Leo and CDF – stop the nonsense. Bob and Co – I hope you are facing real issues in remaining ‘in the truth of Jesus Christ.’ I wonder would Bob, Leo, CDF like to join the parents, here in Finglas or elsewhere in a chat about God.

Seamus Ahearne osa.

3 Responses

  1. Eddie Finnegan

    Seamus, maybe what Leo Cushley (Edinburgh) should have been embarrassed about was that he presides over a diocese where spies and informers feel confident enough to have Tina banned from the Newman Society by the CDF. What would John Henry make of it? As Macbeth said: “There’s not a one of them but in his house (or parish) I keep a servant fee’d.”

  2. Chris McDonnell

    I posted this on the Tablet website just after the news broke.

    How sad that once again the CDF is imposing a limitation on academic discourse. It is only through honest and open debate that a pilgrim church can evangelise in a secular society.

    Will we be following the instruction given to the Sisters leadership group in the US that they submit names of speakers to their meetings for prior approval? I sincerely hope that this is not the case.

    The loss of such honesty would be a matter of regret. Asking questions in good faith and seeking answers in accordance with the Gospels is a responsibility that falls on all of us. Professor Tina Beattie deserves our support.

  3. Michael Paul Burns

    Regarding the censorship the CDF are so good at, have they been comparing notes with the Chinese government, I wonder? (cf the current Hong Kong democracy demos)- which one is taking the lead? Too many similarities for it to be purely coincidental….


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