More eye-witness testimony on dissent in the Archdiocese of Liverpool

Alan and Angeline have written another post about their experience of dissent in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, seeking to ‘demonstrate some of the connections and persons involved in the institutionalized dissent in Liverpool and how these now link in to ACTA.’ They continue a thread they engaged in with Louis.

Alan and Angeline write:

“Amongst the important points made by the thoughtful comments of Louis is the line: ‘Dissent is firmly established in the diocese, yet it is not seen as dissent, but just another way – the correct way – of being Catholic. Sometimes it feels like there is a schism in all but name’.

We also strongly agree with Louis when he says he is speaking out because Liverpool has reached a ‘critical point’. Our late friend Fr. Mike Williams served as a priest in the Archdiocese for 7 years. He told us that he had heard priests saying it was ‘not Catholic’ to pray the Rosary and referring to lay people who disagreed with the liberal agenda as ‘dissenters’.

In 2002, we were required to attend a marriage preparation day in the Archdiocese of Liverpool. After a morning of relativistic group discussions and a video of a stand-up-comedian speaking about sexuality, the long-term Archdiocesan catechists [moderated comment] led a session on sexuality. [moderated comment] One began by stating that ‘the Church has changed its teachings on sex-outside of marriage, contraception , divorce and homosexual relationships.’

Alan immediately challenged this and asked her to show where this was written down. [moderated comment] One replied:’What I can say, is that there have been certain conversations, in certain places, with certain people’. Alan responded that this was not the way the Church taught as teachings come from Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. [moderated comment] One of the catechists  jumped up and drew an inverted triangle on the flip-chart to represent an inverted hierarchy. He told the group that we had an ‘old-fashioned model of church’ as, ‘since Vatican II, the Church now teaches based on the decisions of the laity.’ (In reality, the entire third chapter of Vatican II’s Constitution Lumen Gentium deals with the theme ‘The Church is Hierarchical’).

Angeline then said that it was disappointing that Jesus Christ had not even been mentioned throughout the whole day.  [moderated comment] One of the catechists chillingly replied ‘You may be comfortable with that name dear, but others here may prefer to speak of a transcendental reality’.

When Alan suggested that the whole programme for the day represented the kind of moral relativism that Pope John Paul II had refuted in Fides et Ratio,  [moderated comment] One of the catechists jumped up, pointed at us, and wrote ‘Challenging’ on the flip-chart and apologized to the other couples that we had ‘spoiled what was meant to be a bit of fun.’ We were not given chance to say anything else and, after a catechist laughed at us with an engaged couple who were already living together, we left the day feeling bullied and deflated.

We handed in a feedback form offering to help on future events but never received any reply! We also wrote a letter with a summary of the day’s content and our treatment to Archbishop Kelly. He responded swiftly with a polite and sympathetic letter, but no concrete action was ever taken. Indeed,  [moderated comment] one of the catechists remained in post for several more years, expressing dissent on homosexuality at church events. With Fr. Tony Slingo, she was also able to lead a day on marriage and family life attended by Archbishop Kelly, Bishop Tom Williams and Bishop Vincent Malone as part of the ‘Listening 2004′ programme.

[moderated comment] When one of the catechists retired and a post for marriage and family catechesis was advertised. Alan now had an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University of Steubenville – with modules included on marriage/family, bio-ethics and catechesis, as well as a BA in Theology from Liverpool Hope University, with the Christ’s and Notre Dame Prize for Highest Final Year Single Hons. He had also worked as a PR/Education Officer giving pro-life talks to students in schools across the Archdiocese and had experience in a Justice and Peace team working with young people from broken families on the streets of Salford.

Alan applied for the job and attended with others for interview before a panel. On the panel was Maureen Knight – Advisor for Faith Formation – a close friend of Fr. Chris Fallon. It will be remembered that Fr. Chris Fallon is the author of the doctoral thesis which Louis has highlighted in relation to priestly formation.

A priest in casual lay clothes was also on the interview panel for the marriage and family post. At the end of the day, Alan was invited to attend again the next day as it transpired that two posts may in fact be available. The next day, Alan joined another group for interview before a new panel which now also included Fr. Tony Slingo. A number of professional people were being interviewed that day. Several hours later, Alan received a telephone call from Fr. John McLoughlin to inform him that the panel had now decided not to appoint anyone to either of the posts. Several years later, Alan met one of the others who attended for interview and that gentleman was convinced that it had been the orthodoxy of the applicants which had precluded them – perhaps this can never be proven objectively.

What we do know with certainty is that Fr. Tony Slingo himself took on the work for some time. A doctor friend of ours suggested that this was a conflict of interests – an interviewer getting the job he had interviewed others for! Our late friend Fr. Mike Willimas told us that, some weeks after the interviews, all the clergy in the Archdiocese received a leaflet from the Pastoral Marriage/Family Dept telling them how to avoid ‘homophobia’. He said that Alan was better off out of it.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool website explains that Maureen O’Brien was eventually appointed to the role of Co-ordinator for Marriage and Family Life in 2009 – and says that she brings to the role ‘her own experience as a single mum.’

In 2005, Maureen wrote a book entitled A Call to My Heart. On pages 48-49, Maureen says that, one morning, she was driving along the M58 motorway when ‘God showed me that I was standing with him in the Heavens’. She continues: ‘God told me: ‘When Jesus was on earth, He (God) was in Heaven and in Jesus at the same time.’ I thought of the Holy Spirit. ‘Oh I see’, I said ‘Three persons in one God.’ ‘No,’ He said. ‘One Spirit in three, not three persons in one.’

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches clearly: ‘The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three Persons, the ‘consubstantial Trinity’.

As Blessed Pope John Paul II discussed in his Theology of the Body, one’s understanding of the Blessed Trinity as an eternal and life-giving communion of persons – a Koinonia – has huge ramifications for one’s conception of marriage as a permanent communion of persons which is open to life. The suggestion in Maureen O’Brien’s seemingly ‘private revelation’ does not appear to speak of communion but of one person playing various roles. That sounds a lot like the ancient Modalist heresy.

In 2010, we were asked, by our then parish priest, to represent the parish on a local PAWG (Pastoral Area Working Group). We took along a copy of Catechesi Tradendae hoping to be able to promote some orthodox catechesis in the deanery – now renamed a pastoral area under the Leaving Safe Harbours Programme.

At the meeting, there was some suggestion that a lay-person could be employed and even subsidized to study for a BA in Theology at Hope University. Alan considered applying as he already had such a degree.

At the follow-up meeting, it rapidly became clear that a retired lady had already been to see Maureen Knight and was now running the PAWG group. This had been achieved without any consultation with the local representatives and yet this was meant to be a local consultation group. We wrote to our parish priest a report of the two meetings. In the report we expressed concern that Hope Univesity should be chosen for anyone being formed for lay work because Alan had encountered anti-Catholic rhetoric in a couple of his courses. For example, an entire module on Judaism attempted to blame the Catholic Church for the Holocaust and tried to plant the idea that this should preclude any claims to absolute truth in the future. Alao, the university now has two tabernacles next to each other – on a shelf in the chapel – one for the Catholics and one for the Anglicans. We never received any written response to either of our reports.

In 2013, Fr. Tony Slingo was involved in the Liverpool ACTA group and has also advertised it in his parish newsletter.

In recent years, there have been a number of official Archdiocesan pastoral days aimed at pastoral care of divorced and remarried Catholics. No-one seems to grasp the nettle and realize that giving incomplete evangelization and marriage catechesis to engaged couples will only lead to more divorce in the future. It is a demonstable fact that couples who cohabit and contracept are several times more likely to divorce. For a Catholic Archdiocese to behave like this is a little like chopping up the carriages of a runaway train to keep feeding the engine. And recently, Catholics in the Archdiocese were asked to send in completed questionnaires to be collated by the same team for the Synod.

Finding no official opportunity to spread the Faith we set up Torch of The Faith in 2008. A key part in this decision was to provide orthodox catechesis on marriage and family; catechesis which is faithful to the permanent tradition of the Faith including the content of Humanae Vitae. A few orthodox priests in the Archdiocese have asked us in to give catechesis to engaged couples and RCIA groups. Amazingly, we even used to get into Cathedral House!”

Alan and Angeline conclude:

“With ACTA now gaining ground in the Archdiocese and bishops failing to reply to the concerns of orthodox lay people, it is very clear that a strong and orthodox bishop is now urgently needed in Liverpool. Countless souls depend in it.”

See also:

The problem of grave dissent among some of the clergy, chaplains and teachers in the Archdiocese of Liverpool

Alan and Angeline’s excellent website:


44 comments to More eye-witness testimony on dissent in the Archdiocese of Liverpool

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick

    They need to be sacked-there was swift action in Portsmouth diocese with music and liturgy.

    Very occasionally the “Admiral Byng” policy does work wonders.

    The British Sandhurst tradition expresses it rather more elegantly and coded but I think the USMC saying sums up how to deal with certain agendas:

    “If you’ve gott’em by the bxlls…their hearts and minds will follow”

  • Bob Hayes

    Many thanks to Alan and Angelina for providing this information, which is a testimony to the shocking decay within the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

  • bishop mark davies is your man.does he know about this heresy in liverpool or has it been kept from him?heretics and dissenters usually fall from within anyway.however action is clearly needed in order to stop this rot!god bless philip johnson.

  • Kieren

    Sadly the same old tired names are mentioned time and time again! I didn’t know Maureen Knight was still around!
    My brother attended a similar marriage preparation course a few years ago, and as a very lapsed Catholic he too found it a waste of time, his wife a Welsh Protestant was disgusted.
    What is the point of doing Catholic marriage preparation if you don’t focus on the “Catholic” bit?
    Let us hope that the late Fr. Michael is praying for his diocese!

  • Desperate Dan

    Makes for some interesting reading . The problem,as I see it,is that this well intentioned and yes, ‘orthodox’ view is typically dualistic in tone . It simply fuels the ‘us and them’ battle’ : it splits the people of God into ‘dissenters and orthodox ‘ etc . I don’t think this kind of argument has any victors .
    Only by each person focusing on the Love of God and realising that the Kingdom of God is within each one of us can we move forward. Many ACTA people are genuinely seeking progress within the Church they love, just as many ‘orthodox’ folk are. Both sides are right; there is only one Way . Richard Rohr cannot be said to be a ‘dissenter’ , but his language can surely unite and move us all on from deadly dualism . Remember Rahner’s call that in the near future the Christian will either be a mystic or nothing …

  • Gary

    I can attest by my lay friends who work in diocesan curia’s up and down the country that this happening across England and Wales, practising Catholics who are passionate about their faith and adhere to the Teaching of Jesus Christ that He left with His Church, are not considered for diocesan jobs. If they are shortlisted, despite their numerous qualifications and experiences, they are passed off as too rigid or black and white when they are interviewed. If they are accepted into the posts by playing clever in the interview then they are soon not considered for promotion or other posts etc….

    Can I ask loyal Catholics to please, please give practical support as much as you can to lay practising Catholics who love Jesus and His Church and work in our diocesan curia’s up and down England and Wales? When I think of the stories I have heard from my friends they are enough to make you cry and say to God “please God help your elect who cry out to you day and night”…. Things are also 10x tougher at the moment for loyal lay Catholics in the Curia, because the people who hate Jesus’ teaching are all coming out from under the woodwork in the Curia’s under Pope Francis, since they all seem to think that ‘he is their man’.

    • tro

      “Things are also 10x tougher at the moment for loyal lay Catholics in the Curia, because the people who hate Jesus’ teaching are all coming out from under the woodwork in the Curia’s under Pope Francis, since they all seem to think that ‘he is their man’.”

      Incredible, isn’t it? Where did they get that crazy idea from?

  • Patrick Fahey

    Heretics are everywhere especially amongst the Bishops!

  • Dear ‘Desperate Dan’

    Thank you for your feedback.

    For years we have tried to be patient and work in a positive and joyful way to impart the Truth without contributing to a them/us situation. We consistently find, though, that those claiming to be liberal generally are not and frequently become very hostile if the objective content of the Faith is taught – no matter how lovingly or calmly.

    If you read closer, you may see that the dualism in this case came from those who rejected objective Truth and – as we clearly stated – even went so far as to reject the Holy Name of Jesus. It is interesting that you do not comment on this.

    On the day in question – and indeed on many days of being bullied by liberals – it was us who were made to feel like the ‘them’ and silenced. This is because the Church is an objective Koinonia – Communion. The Kingdom of God is a gift from God – not something which we can achieve/manufacture on our own or without grace. True unity in the Church is only ever a fruit of unity with the Blessed Trinity. To objectively and knowingly reject the teachings of the Church is the real source of disunity leading to a ‘them/us’ dichotomy.

    Your use of inverted commas for ‘orthodox’ is revealing.

    You say that both are right and that there is only one way. This makes no rational sense when two totally opposed positions are being discussed. In the Sacred Scriptures, we learn that there is indeed only one way: ‘Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6). To reject His teachings in His Church is a rejection of Him.

    Actually Richard Rohr’s Center (sic) for Action and Contemplation was a hub for the radically dissenting Call to Action in New Mexico.

    In Christ
    Alan and Angeline

  • Desperate Dan

    Thanks for your reply. I agree with you on so much! My use of commas for the word orthodox was to distinguish it from Orthodox as in Greek etc…

    I do find Rohr’s perhaps new theology refreshing and appealing , as do many other authentic Christians ….he is admit idly somewhat outside the RC Church now. But I think that is the way forward thru the paradigm shift !
    I don’t actually think groups like ACTA can get anywhere as many of them seem to have their own political churchy agendas.
    You so seem very earnest in your ecclesial concerns ! But in the end isn’t God our Father in control? So great blessings and Peace on you both.

  • Desperate Dan

    Dear Gary

    I mix mainly with so called ‘liberal,Catholic Christians, but I have never met any who openly ‘hate’ Jesus teachings ….

    • Gary

      Dan the hardcore liberal dissenters like to maintain that the so called ‘contentious’ teaching of the Church is made up by a ‘bunch of old men in Rome’, but they do this either to be duplicitous or they are terribly ignorant. The Church is the body of our Lord Jesus, He left His Body with the guidance of His Spirit to lead it into all truth and guard the truth He left it. The doctrines or morals that the liberals disagree with thus are the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they hate the teaching of the ‘Church of Rome’ then they hate Jesus, as Jesus said “if you love me you will obey what I command” and to His apostolic Church ” He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me”. If Catholicism is just a pick and mix religion then it is a pointless and illogical religion.

  • Dear Desperate Dan

    Thanks for this,

    Yes God – as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is always in control. Deo Gratias!

    We are concerned for the Church because She is the Body of Christ being scourged and divided. That means we are concerned for souls – especially those being denied the truth and led into errors which can harm them in this life and the next. We’re concerned for those leading them there too.

    Being outside the RC Church is no place to be to go through anything – especially one’s own death and particular judgement. May you and all of us find the peace of Christ which He alone can give and which passes all understanding.

    May God bless you.

  • ConofChi

    To return, yet again to the the Garabandal Message of 18th. June 1965:-

    As my message of October has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before the cup was filling up, now it is flowing over. Many cardinals many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices and think about the passion of Jesus.”

    If Our Lady’s message isn’t heeded then I’m certainly lost for words…..

  • Sacerdos

    Send this evidence to the nuncio Asa soon as you can so that it may be included in the choice for a new archbishop of liverpool …. Whoever he is… God come to his aid!

  • Desperate Dan

    You really should not quote Garabandal as an authority as , you probably know , it has never been finally approved. Bishops will not take laity seriously if they use garabandal etc….

  • BJC

    Alan and Angeline, thanks.

    So much of what you describe sounds similar to Michael Rose’s book “Goodbye, Goodmen”, a survey of seminaries in the US in the 1980′s/90′s. Liberals acting as gatekeepers keeping out the orthodox and labelling them “rigid”, “backward”, “divisive” etc. One assumes the pattern is the same everywhere. What’s really sickening is the liberals putting on the poor mouth that they are the “tolerant” ones, when the reality is that they’ve been going around persecuting everyone they hate and disagree with for the past 40 years. The word hypocrite doesn’t even begin to describe them – and they are nasty about it too as your experience shows.

    • Gary

      I totally concur, especially this point of yours:

      “What’s really sickening is the liberals putting on the poor mouth that they are the “tolerant” ones, when the reality is that they’ve been going around persecuting everyone they hate and disagree with for the past 40 years.”

      So, so, true…

  • Bernadette

    What are bishops thinking of, allowing such things to happen in their Diocese ? I am finding the whole thing frightening and worry for the religion I treasure.

  • Desperate Dan

    This is what happens when you split the church into orthodox and liberals! It just engenders fear ! It’s a load of hype !

  • Dear BJC

    Thanks for your comment.

    Funnily enough I (Alan) was a seminarian at Ushaw in the late 1990′s. I read Goodbye Good Men a few years later and it was a very cathartic experience.

    In some ways Ushaw was not as bad as those in the book.

    In others it was far worse! The same basic pattern prevailed.

    The same people who put pressure on vocations to the priesthood then can be heard today calling for lay-leadership due to the ‘vocations crisis’.

    May God have mercy on us all.

  • Fr. John

    thank you Alan and Angeline for all you are doing. I a a priest from inner city liverpool (but not a priest of the diocese)and have watched in dismay over the last few year as my own lovely, once thriving, home parish has been wrecked by a succession of priests with the liberal agenda. Many good faithful catholics who are dear to me have had their faith, (not to mention their patience and charity) sorely tested by the way things have gone in that diocese. There does seem to be a spirit abroad there which is malevolent and destructive in the extreme. I’m sure true Catholicism will prevail in the end but it will be quite an uphill struggle. God bles you both and all who keep the flame of the true faith burning in that corner of God’s vineyard.

    • Dear Fr. John

      Thank you for your supportive words here and for sharing these comments.

      Indeed, we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to comment and especially those who have encouraged us.

      Let us keep praying for the Archdiocese and that by God’s grace all may merrily meet in Heaven!

      God bless
      Alan and Angeline

  • BJC

    Alan and Angeline

    That’s interesting. I always wondered whether it was just America.

    Anecdotally, I was told by someone I knew from school, who had applied to the Jesuits in the mid 1990′s, that at the interview they had asked him about his attitude to the liturgy. They were asking things like ‘What do you think about the new music?’, “What do think about processions at the offertory?”. At the time he didn’t think anything about it, but now of course it makes sense.

    Please keep up telling us about letter correspondence etc. It’s really interesting to hear how the liberals are corrupting the system and have been doing it for years. No wonder they hate this site.

  • Kieran

    Alan, I was in your year – different diocese – and can confirm most of what you say. Needless to say most of us who were ordained, are trying our best to be faithful to the gospel. I always remember the priest I was on placement with remarking that my pastoral prof was looking for reasons why I shouldn’t be ordained. I’m glad that you are keeping up the good work. Please keep me and the others from your year in Ushaw who were ordained in your prayers.
    May God continue to bless you and your wife.

  • Kieran

    Just wondering if you do days of recollection? Last Advent I invited David Payne to share his testimony, and would like to do something similar during Advent this year. If you are interested I’m sure Deacon Nick to share with you my email address.

  • Desperate Dan

    What is this ? Alan & Kieran…an Ushaw old boys conspiracy…

    Takes aa sorts, liberals, dissenters,too orthodox to be ordained..etc. I was there too in the 60s during Vat2..roll on Grand Day !

    • Kieran

      Hi Dan,
      No conspiracy. I enjoyed my time in Ushaw, but didn’t agree with the direction some of the staff were moving into. I never considered myself a traditionalist and Alan would probably back that up; I tended to concentrate on prayer, theology and football, and tried to avoid being labelled. Don’t get me wrong, no seminary is perfect, just as no seminary is above criticism.
      There were many plus points about Ushaw in my day, but there were also negative ones,
      Sadly I am unable to attend Grand Day, but maybe will travel up to visit after Easter.

  • Desperate Dan

    Takes all sorts ….

  • Desperate Dan


    I do wonder about all this ‘praying for the srchdiocese ‘ business! Of course we pray for all the people of God in all our diocese s….But surely its more important that each and every baptised Christian become free of controlling systems, free of parish and diocesan structures and move on to be mature people of faith, so that individuals can become true children of God.
    We all need to become people of deep prayer , mystics indeed . Then the diocese, parish, catechesis etc will look after themselves. I am just trying to promote a different emphasis. ‘Praying for the diocese’ means the wrong direction for me. God wants us to grow up as his spiritual children and become true to ourselves. To be real, enlightened, to wake up from this churchy coma .
    When I look around me at a typical Sunday mass, I wonder how many people really are participating and believing? I don’t judge , but I just wonder why there are so few then at the weekday masses, why is this . Is there something missing in our teaching about Faith ?
    I am not a ‘liberal’ by the way. I am a radical orthodox authentic traditionalist follower of Jesus Christ. An ordained priest, working with the poor in a psychiatric hospital . I love the Mass, lectio divina , meditation, the Church, pilgrimaging to the great Marian shrines, and the Emerging Church, and of course Fr Richard Rohr’s stuff. There has to be a paradigm shift , It is happening whether we like it or not .

  • Dear Desperate Dan

    Thank you for your comment.

    If you are a Catholic priest, you’ll recall the ecclesiological concept of Christus Totus which expresss the profound mystery that Christ and His Church make up the whole Christ. (See for example CCC 795).

    The Hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church, which has been handed down to us in Sacred Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium, and is clearly expressed in Chapter 3 of the Vatican II Constitution, Lumen Gentium, is central to the very essence/nature of the Catholic Church. In light of the Incarnation, Christ has founded a Church on His Apostles – the Pope and Bishops in communion with him and their successors – which has divine and human dimensions.

    The Holy Spirit working through this hierarchy, when faithfully guarding and handing on the Sacred Deposit of Faith, does not restrict but liberates the Catholic faithful to live the new life in Christ.

    In light of fallen human nature, any attempt at removing this structure and replacing it with merely human concerns closes us in on our culture-bound – and concupiscent – ideas. This naturally leads to the ‘controlling systems’ which you purport to be against. We see this all around us today where orthodox Catholics find themsleves bullied, harassed, and marginalized. Worse than that, we see it when Jesus Christ is badly treated in His Sacraments.

    If mysticism is not guided by the Scripture/Tradition/Magisterium- whose duty is to test the spirits – it can so easily be deceptive because of the world,flesh and devil. Deep prayer thus needs to be Trinitarian and Christocentric. Without this, all we really have to give are our own limited and fallen selves. But when raised in Christ through His grace, this gift is healed, transformed and transfigured by Christ and has the potential to become an infinite gift.

    Clearly there has been something missing about the teaching of the Faith in recent decades – rather than ‘teaching about Faith’ as you posit. What has been missed out in a great many places is the fullness of Doctrine, Liturgy, Moral Life and Christian Prayer. Pope Benedict XVI stated this in 2002 when launching out on the Compendiu to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    As we mentioned before, Fr. Richard Rohr’s centre in New Mexico has been a hub for the radically dissenting American group Call to Action.

    In Christ
    Alan and Angeline

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Alan and Angeline: Congratulations on your very sound comment. It is really great to have your contribution. I was concerned at Desperate Dan’s proposal but felt quite inadequate in knowing how to respond which you have done brilliantly. Sometimes we know that something is wrong but do not know how to respond and one can then so easily fall into bluster.

  • Nicholas

    Thanks for your comment and encouragement.

    Funnily enough, you and others here often contribute spot-on points when we have not felt up to the task! That shows it is grace working and catching up the various gifts of people to build up the Body of Christ.

    ‘Just noticed that our comment above might over-emphasize hierarchy in trying to defend it. That will be avoided by also including a reference to Chapter 4 of Lumen Gentium – which takes up and develops the theme of the Laity. And of course, Blessed Pope John Paul II contributed further development in Christifideles Laici.

    Some people try and force a false dichotomy between the Hierarchy and the gifts of the laity. We would concede that there may at times be a creative tension as spirits and gifts are discerned – but never an opposition if all are faithful to the Magisterium.

    Here we see the need for obedience, prayer, time, patience, and discernment. Not always easy things to practice, but essential.

    God bless.

  • Dominic MacCarthy

    My parish priest mentioned this expose of dissent within the Archdiocese to me. He said it was saddening but hardly unexpected. He said he stopped advertising certain diocesan groups / events, and didn’t encourage parishioners to go to them, because you never knew what sort of rubbish they would be exposed to. He said he’s often heard of teachers either being pushed out, or failing to gain appointments, because they were judged “too Catholic.”

    He said that there are good and orthodox priests within the Archdiocese but they tend to be sidelined, and that the wrong people are in control of various archdiocesan departments. He also hinted that there was something of a “lavender mafia” problem, cough, cough. There are favourite venues for a circle of the clergy in Liverpool and Manchester, apparently.

    Pity the next Archbishop. He will need to be both saint and martyr, and will be a leading candidate for a heart attack in the first two years ….

  • Desperate Dan

    Dear Angeline, Alan, Nicholas,
    I will take my leave now from this site, thank you for the exchange. I am a little sad as I realise that there are deep divisions within the Church of Christ . We do seem to speak a different language and come from different ‘worlds’….why is that . I mean I am a loyal, obedient orthodox believing Roman Catholic Christian and yet … know the rest, I won’t labour it . I am somewhat intrigued by Nickolas comment about ‘my proposal’ .? !
    My only proposal would be perhaps for your ‘protect the pope’ camp to take a serious look at fr Richard Rohr’s daily meditations and don’t judge him re ACTA New Mexico etc….and for you to try and see my point of view….and I will try and see your point of view , pray for each other etc..
    I so often think (speaking as a psychiatric/mental Heath Ecumenical Chaplain) that our differences are more psychological and to do with different personality traits than actual spiritual . I just know when I converse with Medjugorje and garabandal enthusiasts that there is something pathalogical in there there. Then I see that genuine dialogue is nigh impossible , which is sad. ACTA people are the same basically as Tridentine Latin mass enthusiasts…neither camp will change the church. That’s why I do believe in a more Loving, Christ-Centred approach to our view of God . A good and wise friend of mine , a true mystic, reckons the differences are all about how we see God . And how many false gods do we worship.
    Pax et Bonum.

    Dan not so Desperate .

  • Dear Dan

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on the article.

    I think we are all rather sad that there are deep divisions in the Church. We can clearly agree on that. It would appear we differ as to the source of those divisions.

    In terms of a point of view, we have not tried to set down our personal points of view, but that of the Jesus Christ speaking through His Catholic Church and handed on from Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

    We do not judge the person of Fr. Richard Rohr. Only God can do that for any of us and we must of course all pray for God to give us the grace to follow Him and to receive a merciful judgement from Him.

    In his younger days Fr. Rohr helped Bob and Penny Lord to find peace with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church again after the tragic death of their son. They do say in their own life stories that they went separate ways some time later.

    As Catholics we have to make moral judgements over acts/writings and so forth for the sake of souls. We could never recommend Fr. Rohr’s writings promoting, for example, the Enneagram. (This is discussed by the Pontifical document Jesus Christ – the Bearer of the Water of Life). Also, it is important to warn people not to be involved with Call to Action in New Mexico – or anywhere else – as they are the source of the kind of disunity you lament here. For example, Call to Action are known to promote homosexual relationships and goddess worship among other things.

    The question of how we see God and various psychological backgrounds can of course be involved in how we respond to God. But, it would not reveal to us Who God is in His Being. The 1st Vatican Council taught that, by the light of human reason, we can come to know that God exists. However, to know Who He is, as the Blessed Trinity, we need Divine Revelation. And as Catholics, we believe that we receive this through the Catholic Church by Christ’s own authority.

    We realize that you are speaking generally, but do be assured that we are not Medjugorje enthusiasts. By God’s grace, we have devotion to Our Lady and believe the Church approved apparitions such as Fatima/Quito/Lourdes/Knock/Guadalupe.

    As we noted in an earlier comment, it would defy natural reason to say that those dissenting from the Magisterium were all in the same Way – as you then described it.

    We agree entirely that the answer to true unity is a loving, Christo-centric approach leading us into the union of the Blessed Trinity. Let us not confuse acceptance of false points of view or even of sin – as opposed to sinners – as being loving though. Charity includes warning people when they are in spiritual danger.

    May Jesus Christ lead us all to His saving peace.

    • Wake up England

      The Revd Deparate Dan,

      I think it is misleading to portray a spectrum of intolerance within the Church where one extreme is ACTA and the other is what you call “Tridentine Latin mass entusiasts” (sic).

      The Tridentine Mass was, from The council of Trent until the late 1960s, utterly Catholic and orthodox. No-one can argue to the contrary.

      Attachment to this “Extraordinary Form” of Mass is entirely permissible; and as you know, Bishops are required, once again, to make this Mass available to groups who want it. It is the Mass of, inter alia, the English Martyrs.

      ACTA on the other hand, has never been orthodox. Nor has it hundreds of years’ worth of constant presence within the Church. Nor has it produced any saints. Given ACTA’s rejection of authority (evinced by encouraging a return to the former English translation of The Mass) and its support of women being ordained to the priesthood, many people regard it as a highly damaging influence within the church. Damaging to Unity, and damaging to legitimate authority. But no-one in their right mind, surely, could say that the Tridentine Mass is similarly damaging; to do so would directly contradict The Pope and the Pope Emeritus by calling the Older form of Mass an undesirable influence; it is, after all, The Sacrifice of Calvary.

      You attempt, in your post above, to give the subtle idea that ACTA and Tridentine Mass supporters are both unhelpfully extreme; but this is not true or fair of many Catholics who feel affection – and perhaps preference- the wholly legitimate and Extraordinary form of Mass.

      The form of Mass which IS now TOTALLY forbidden is the 1970s translation which has now been superseded by the latest translation; and this, forbidden, form is what ACTA is trying to “bring back”.

      A comparison to the society of St Pius 10th might have better served as your exemplar, rather than trying clumsily to “smear” the many loyal Catholics who have devotion to The form of Mass so dear to the Saints.

  • Desperate Dan

    Thank you Alan. Godbless.

  • Dan

    Thank you. May God give you every blessing in Christ for you and your work.

  • Desperate Dan

    You are right Wake up England , apologies.
    Have a Joyous Lent!

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