Call to Action dissent group meetings in Westminster, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Brentwood dioceses

The priest-led dissent group Call to Action has held or is planning to hold meetings in the dioceses of Westminster, Birmingham, Nottingham and Brentwood during November and December.

Call to Action is the initiative of seven English priests who published a letter in The Tablet in June 2012 protesting about the Church’s teaching on sexuality, and married priests, expressing opposition to the new translation of the Mass and antagonism towards the Holy See. For example, regarding the Church’s moral teaching about sexuality they use the code words ‘listening to the lived reality of people’ to indicate that the Church should change its teaching on contraception, divorce and homosexuality:

‘The bishops speak of “fostering and encouraging a culture of dialogue and solidarity” but, in reality, there is little opportunity or forum for this and there seems a reluctance to listen to the people whose lived reality is so often at odds with the teaching of the institutional Church. This is especially true in reading the signs of the times; i.e. matters of developing a theology of sexuality rooted in the actual experiences of the faithful and developing an understanding of the relationships between evolution and religion. The sensus fidelium seems forgotten.’

The homosexual activist Terence Wheldon of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council is a prominent contributor to the Call to Action website.

Here’s a summary of the recent activity of the Call to Action dissent group:

Westminster

Fr Joe Ryan led a meeting at St. John Vianney’s Church on the 30th November. Fr Ryan is one of the original priests who signed the letter in The Tablet. The meeting took the letter as the starting point for their discussions.

Brentwood

Tony Castle and Roy Smith led a meeting at St Thomas of Canterbury Church on the 1st December. Tony Castle is a Primary schools inspector and teaches on Brentwood’s CCRS programme for teachers.

Nottingham

A meeting was held at Our Lady of Mercy, Melbourne, Derbyshire on 17th November

Birmingham

The Jesuits are hosting a meeting of Call to Action on the 9th December at Manresa House. The organisers admit being inspired by other groups of dissenting priests around the world, ‘“Groups of priests around the world are calling for action. We are lay Catholics who share their concerns.’ This is clearly a reference to the Austrian Priests Initiative, and their Call to Disobedience, and the Irish Association of Catholic Priests.

Protect the Pope comment: These Call to Action meetings in English Dioceses express their objectives in terms of dialogue and discussion, but the original letter and their invited speakers make clear that their true objective is to promote ideas and causes that dissent from the Magisterium of the Church.

It is disgraceful that some priests, parishes and religious orders in England and Wales are leading and supporting a dissent movement at any time, but especially during the Year of Faith called for by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Call to Action movement in England has all the appearance of fomenting open defiance to the Holy Father.

http://www.acalltoaction.org.uk/forum

72 comments to Call to Action dissent group meetings in Westminster, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Brentwood dioceses

  • George Gregory

    You say, “It is disgraceful that some priests, parishes and religious orders in England and Wales are leading and supporting a dissent movement”

    It is disgraceful that the Bishop’s of these places have not stopped these meetings on premises belonging to the Church and presumably not disciplined the Tablet letter writing priests who are encouraging dissent. The appearance is they support dissent.

    • “and presumably not disciplined the Tablet letter writing priests who are encouraging dissent”

      How?

      I think you have to put this in perspective and try see it from a bishop’s point of view. Now I’m not a bishop but you dont have to be to realise there is a massive labour shortage in the RCC with respect to priests. Many of them are so elderly they are more concerned with dodging coffins than dodging the wrath of their local bishop. Indeed the biggest problem facing the Church today is not that punter numbers are declining but that the number of priests is declining even faster. Many priests are doubling up two or even three parishes. In this atmosphere of labour under-supply it’s not easy for local bishops to go all hard line. There has been some effort in recent years to get more vocations but not nearly enough. For years the church relied on young people being “called” by the Holy Spirit alone to the priesthood with the result that they listened for voices in their head and heard one telling them to go down the pub instead.

  • Asrajit

    I think it is always worth politely asking the bishops if these meetings have their approval and, if not, why not say something to avoid confusion.

  • “Developing a theology of sexuality rooted in the actual experiences of the faithful”

    If that isn’t relativism I don’t know what is. And when will people stop thinking that “sensum fidelium” means “majority rule”.

  • Andrzej

    “and developing an understanding of the relationships between evolution and religion”

    Catholics don’t have an issue with evolution – sure, it’s interesting theologically – but my guess is that the people wanting to talk about this relationship know as much about Catholic teaching as Richard Dawkins does. In other words, if they list “the relationships between evolution and religion” as an example of how the “institutional Church” is as odds with the rest of society, then that just tell you something about the intellectual level of these people.

    • Pedro

      “Catholics don’t have an issue with evolution”

      If my understanding of Catholic theology is wanting then I’d be happy for you to correct it. I quite distinctly remember being told that animals didn’t have souls and humans did. Has the Catholic Church invented animal or partial souls since then?

      Answer me this, did Neanderthals have souls? They weren’t direct ancestors of all modern humans, but they shared almost all of our characteristics, including burying their dead.

      What about more ancient, likely more direct, ancestors, did they have souls?

      I’m genuinely curious?

      • Eric

        “Answer me this, did Neanderthals have souls? They weren’t direct ancestors of all modern humans”

        Not completely true. About 4% of our DNA comes from that species. There was some interbreeding of some sort in the past. At least that is our current best guess.

        But the only honest answer to your question about souls is that we don’t know.

        • Pedro

          “Not completely true. About 4% of our DNA comes from that species.”

          Yes, although IIRC that only includes Europeans, which is why I said “all” modern humans.

      • Damian

        WRT evolution I would suggest that most Catholics are mostly concerned with the fact that we are here, and what we should do whilst here rather than how we got here.

        • Pedro

          Damian, yes, that’s normally the kind of reply I get. It strikes me as rather evasive. I can’t help but conclude that the Catholic church avoids this question because all the potential answers are problematic.

          Nevertheless, I’m still happy to be set right on this.

          • Eric

            It IS evasive, but that is because we honestly don’t know the answer. Just as a biologist can’t pinpoint to the day the event when a species evolved from an ancestor. There is no dishonor in honest ignorance.

          • Damian

            Secular society in placing knowledge above morality is uncomfortable/afraid of any notion of Mystery, whereas faithful Catholics do not have such qualms.

          • Pedro

            Eric, my point is not that you don’t know the answer but that you don’t seem to realise the implications of the answer. See my reply to Theresa below.

          • Pedro

            “Secular society in placing knowledge above morality is uncomfortable/afraid of any notion of Mystery, whereas faithful Catholics do not have such qualms.”

            Damian, this has nothing to do with morality and there’s no mystery involved. Either souls evolved or there was a generation of children with souls born to parents without souls. The Catholic Church knows that both options are indefensible without either contradicting its current teaching or championing the obviously absurd.

      • Pedro,

        The difference between human and non-human animals is that humans have a rational soul. As the soul of an animal is simply the form of its body, any animal has a soul; it simply is not a rational soul in the case of non-human animals.

        (Here I am using the standard Aristotelian terminology of form and matter that the Church uses in its teaching on this matter).

        As to when in the evolutionary chain the first animal was endowed with a rational soul, this would not be a simple matter to tell simply from the behaviour or habits of the animal or even from its DNA. One might instead be looking for the point at which the first animal came to be that was aware of his relationship to God.

    • Teresa

      “Catholics don’t have an issue with evolution”

      …I can find at least one issue – a huge theological issue – what happens to the church’s teaching on the fall and redemption?

      • Pedro

        *Exactly* Theresa. You’ve got the point that all the others above seem to be missing. The whole point of Christianity is the need for redemption through Christ. There can only be need for redemption if there was a fall and the fallen need souls in order for those souls to be redeemed.

        If evolution is true then either souls also evolved in parallel (completely contrary to Catholic teaching) or there was a first generation of humans endowed by God with a soul (which is pretty much what the Church teaches). Their parents, despite being anatomically, intellectually and culturally identical, would have no soul and would have no relationship with God, which is preposterous.

        Fundamentalists who reject the theory of evolution at least have the courage to recognise this problem. The Catholic Church, which is rightly proud of its record in sciences such as astronomy (the Vatican Observatory, for example, is highly respected in the scientific community) completely ignores this elephant in the room.

        • “Their parents, despite being anatomically, intellectually and culturally identical, would have no soul and would have no relationship with God, which is preposterous.”

          This is the point at which your reasoning breaks down. The point about (some) theories of evolution is that at certain points in the unraveling of providence, an offspring of a parent is not “identical” to their parents in the ways you suggest. There are no major theological obstructions to the idea that at some point in time, the material conjunction of particular gametes from particular (non-rational) parents became amenable to the reception of a rational soul.

          • Eric

            ..exactly. The soul comes from God. You can have a gradual evolution of the body and mind and yet still reach a spefic genration where God decides that you are “ready” to receive a soul.

          • Pedro

            What? Are you and Eric seriously suggesting that there was some definite dividing line: generation X = no soul, generation X+1 = soul? So the parents who loved their children, brought them up, may well have been cared for by them in their old age, died, their loss mourned by their children: they just vanished into nothingness, while the children suddenly had a relationship with God, that immediately went wrong, despite the fact that there was almost no difference in the moral choices faced between them and their parents?

            I mean seriously? That’s what you think happened?

          • Dear Pedro,

            “What? Are you and Eric seriously suggesting that there was some definite dividing line: generation X = no soul, generation X+1 = soul?”

            Not quite. In generation X, no individual possessed a rational soul as the matter comprising individuals in that generation was not amenable to the reception of such a rational soul. However, the offspring of one set of parents was subject to mutation that made then materially suitable for the reception of a rational soul rather than simply a sensitive soul. So in generation X+1, at least one, but possible only one, individual possessed a rational soul.

            “So the parents who loved their children, brought them up, may well have been cared for by them in their old age, died, their loss mourned by their children: they just vanished into nothingness, while the children suddenly had a relationship with God, that immediately went wrong, despite the fact that there was almost no difference in the moral choices faced between them and their parents?”

            As above, the amenability to the reception of the rational soul appears in (an) individual(s) in the next generation. That mutation, together with the reception of the rational soul creates a new type of creature; one that has a relationship with God and which has a conscious awareness of self. This new creatures may share behavioural characteristics with those that have gone before; but they are fundamentally different – they are now creatures for which we can make the moral distinction between human acts and acts of humans.

            And, if we follow the teaching of the Church Fathers, yes, it is very likely that the fall from grace occurred almost immediately upon their potency for moral action becoming actuality.

        • Eric

          My understanding (and this comes with the caveat that I am no expert Catholic theologian so there may be better explanations of the apparent condradiction between the Bible and the Science) is that Adam was the first human with whom God had a relationship (ie the first human to have a soul). “Protos” in 1st Corinthians 15:45,47 in Greek can mean the first one in time or the first one in importance, that is, the chief one. This would agree with the usage in Matthew 22:38 where “protos” means the first one in importance, not the first one given.

  • Bob Hayes

    This dissent is disgraceful. Whilst some dissenters may be misguided or easily-led, others appear to be deliberately undermining the Church and consequently fomenting the rejection of Scripture. Some may balk at the prospect of a resolute Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith taking firm action against dissenters, but firmness is what is required. Clergy espousing dissent can easily lead the laity away from the narrow path to salvation on to the easy road to perdition. Let us all pray that the dissenters see their error. We should also pray that our bishops ensure that the Church, her clergy and her infrastructure never provide a haven for dissent and heresy.

  • The greater sadness is the manner in which the message of the Vatican II documents, the agreed voice of a Council, are being slowly set aside. We are in danger of returning to the Ultramontane vision of Vatican I. The voice of dissent, the voice that you are so critical of, is the voice of concern from within a family, a cherished home, our Church. Love cannot be silenced even if pain is experienced on the way. So questions must be asked and answers sought. Saying nothing is not an option in this Year of Faith

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Chris, what is your actual evidence that the content of the Vatican II documents are, as you put it, being slowly set aside? Please quote which paragraphs of Vatican II documents are being ‘set aside’. What would you define as unacceptable dissent from the Magisterium of the Church? What do you include under the category ‘expressions of concern’? Deacon Nick

    • (X)MCCLXIII

      Vatican II is no more authoritative than Vatican I, of course, Chris. But surely you know that. Do you not accept the authority of the twenty or so preceding councils?

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Why then has his holiness Pope Benedict XVI suggested that we read the documents of Vatican II during this year of Faith? Is that evidence of the Church setting the documents aside?

  • It is never wrong to ask a question, it is always valuable to debate the issues, with respect and mutal charity. That is all many are asking and who are refusing to be silent when such discussion is rejected.
    I remember the church pre-Council and I value the outcomes of John XXIII’s Vision. I do not wish to return
    to a closed windows church.

    W H Auden, in his poem “If I could tell you” written in October 1940, begins with these three lines.

    “Time will say nothing but I told you so,
    time only knows the price we have to pay;
    if I could tell you I would let you know”

    I just hope that the price we have to pay for the present rejection a collegial voice is not too high.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Chris, what do you mean by a ‘collegial voice’?What evidence do you have that Lumen Gentium’s sections on collegiality have been rejected? Deacon Nick

    • Rifleman819

      Dear Chris,

      Ah yes …debate…questions…more debate…discussions….questions asked and answers sought….much like the recent General Synod of the Church of England then?
      The voice of dissent and the pain experienced…especially when a certain segment unexpectedly lost.

    • So no quotes from Vatican II documents then Chris? What the council actually taught was that the Pope is infallible, that we should give religious assent of mind and will to his teaching even when he is not infallible, that Latin should be retained as the language of the Church, that “both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence”, that Catholics “may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law”. In short, what it has always taught! Read some of the documents (eg LG 18) and wake up! As the pope said to our bishops at the ad limina: “It is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.”

    • John

      Chris, can you please answer Deacon Nick’s questions? Have you read the documents of Vatican II? I read them in 1968 soon after they appeared and re-read them this year and I can see no justification for the claims of these various movements in either the letter or the “spirit” of the documents. The call to action people have adopted theological and ethical positions that are basically those of liberal Protestantism rather than anything that is recognisably Catholic. They are causing immense harm to Christ’s Church by confusing an already poorly catechised laity.

    • Eric

      “It is never wrong to ask a question, it is always valuable to debate the issues, with respect and mutal charity. That is all many are asking and who are refusing to be silent when such discussion is rejected.”

      I can agree with you on that point. What concerns me is that the Church isn’t especially worried about dissent, it is worried about “open dissent”. If you crack down on open dissent you don’t stop dissent you just drive it underground and the church rots under the surface.

      when a heretical opinion surfaces the response should be “that is wrong because….” not “that is wrong, it should be silenced”.

  • Gurn

    My mother lives in Derby and this comes as no surprise at all. Local parish itself has no real crucifix but one of those awful resurrection crucifix… things, no altar rails, an ugly square box sacristy and a priest who also gives an awful commentary on the cutting and sticking activities the children do (as opposed to any catechesis) on display in the middle of mass. The priest also believes in sentiment rather than the intellect one of the things that originally drove me away from the faith.
    The main Church itself in Derby city centre endorses the Tablet, enough said. Derby is also the place where I went to a ‘Catholic’ school with the Tablet loving chaplain, thank God I do not live in Derby at the moment, truly a blessing. Derby is gripped by Tablet fever what on earth could be worse? My sympathies for any genuine faithful living there.

    • A friend of mine uses the word Resurrexifix.
      Feel free to adopt it!

      • Teresa

        Christ’s Resurrection was victory over death. Do you consider the Resurrection crucifix to be theologically inaccurate, or is it just inappropriate to display it where the Sacrifice of the Mass takes place?

        • Eric

          Altar crosses were originally plain crosses. The earliest Crucifix we know of was 11th Centuary and they didn’t become common until the 14th Century. A case can be made that either set-up is “traditional”, but essentially it is a matter of taste not theology.

          • Gurn

            Churches were originally in houses, barns or even underground so the idea that we have to build cathedrals or church buildings must be a matter of taste. It is unfortunate that the Church on this island puts up with them, it bothered me that much I read through the requirements. When reading through the required objects it does say that ‘it is usual for this cross to bear the figure of Christ crucified’. Then backtracks and states that you can pretty much use any kind of cross, if the sacrifice of Christ is to be represented it should be a no brainer that a crucifix ought to be used.

          • Eric

            “if the sacrifice of Christ is to be represented it should be a no brainer that a crucifix ought to be used”

            correct. But if you want to represent the resurection then an empty cross should be used.

            Both events are theologically central to the faith and worthy subjects of representation on an altar. I don’t see anything wrong with a bit of variety if it reminds us of both the suffering of Christ AND his victory. Either would be pointless without the other.

        • Gurn

          I would say it is inappropriate.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick and ladies and gentlemen,

    Is this clarion call from “Call to Action”-a really melodramatic name btw(shades of DelaCroix’s painting of “Liberty (played by a well-known professor of Roehampton University)leading the people”…really all about the complacent coterie, clerical and lay, who suddenly realise that their time is up?

    The hugely ironic thing about all of the Vatican 2 arguments is that the present Holy Father is one of very few ordained clerics still alive who was in Rome when it actually happened. Fr Josef Ratzinger, the Bavarian, with Fr Hans Kung, the Swiss, were two very promising theologians on hand to advise the Holy See.

    A number of “Spirit of Vat2-ers” were not even born when the Second Vatican Council concluded so have no direct contemporary awareness of the previous state of the Universal Church and the immediate aftermath.

    From about 1970 Catholic churches in Europe started to resemble air-raid shelters and pre-stressed concrete Odeon cinemas….and we abandoned Gothic beauty just in time to see congretations dissolve like melting snow.

    But things change , as they always do.Perhaps 50 years is merely one nano-second in the life of the Universal Church.
    Those running scared now realise this well enough.

    • Eric

      “From about 1970 Catholic churches in Europe started to resemble air-raid shelters and pre-stressed concrete Odeon cinemas….and we abandoned Gothic beauty just in time to see congretations dissolve like melting snow”

      have you watched Jonathan Meades programme “The absentee Landlord”? He is terribly rude about religion in it but also very rude and interesting on post-war church building.

      • rifleman819

        Eric.No , I haven’t …sounds interesting! My prize for ugliness goes to the BR Offices at Plymouth railway station……….must have been earmarked for a regional Stasi HQ.
        I wished I had the sheer talent to be both rude AND interesting!

        • Eric

          All his programmes are on YouTube.

          He views Church architechture from the 1950s and 1960s onwards as being a failure. he lays the blame equally on Vatican II and World War II. And I think he has a point.

          • rifleman819

            Mmm….modernist architecture…relativist mortar. Could it all be a metaphor in stone for the huge changes in the Church from the 60s and 70s onwards? “Re-joist, re-joist”-hardly.
            Not much to feel uplifted about when worshipping in a church that looks like a Cold War missile silo,I must admit.
            Because art, architecture, thought, music, literature etc always reflect the society they spring from.
            It was all so avant-guarde then , wasn’t it? Now it justs leaks, has concrete cancer and costs the diocese a fortune in repairs.

  • dominic savio

    what a load of ***** your all talking. Stop the ****** whinging and go pray the rosary outside an abortion clinic, or house the homeless or feed the hungry or even read the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and especially the Beatitudes; learn to practice CHARITY and then you may be promoting the Kingdom of Heaven

  • Simon

    Maybe I am just looking at this in too simplistic a way but surely these priests are going against their vows. One could argue that there are relatively few of them but they are in a privileged position where they are charged with imparting the truth to the faithful. What they are doing is very wrong. And why does the Tablet give this group such publicity? Says much about their agenda.

  • Lynda

    The only action these people are involved in, is political action to destroy faith and morals.

  • James Hughes

    I originally thought that the Holy Father should crack down on this mob but having reconsidered I feel they should be pitied because they know that they have lost. We have tried it their way and just look at the state the holy roman catholic church is in ,recovering from the outrage of dissident and abusive priests and prelates who have looted church funds and consistently conspired against the church. Their way has completely failed with fewer priests but legions of apparatchiks in the chancelleries and less and less faithful in the pews. These people have completely lost the plot and in the process have created confusion . Having said all that the real church is winning! Thank god for Benedict XIV . perhaps he should march in the Black pope and remind him that the Jesuits have been suppressed before and could do with another sharp reminder of who runs the church and it ain’t them. There is a lot at stake here, nothing less than the betrayal of souls. AMDG

  • James Hughes

    Forgot to say , thanks for all your hard work Nick. As a result of your reporting I am finding it possible to maintain some sense of christian charity . Keep up the great work for the sake of souls!

  • Augustine

    Brentwood Diocese

    “Tony Castle and Roy Smith led a meeting at St Thomas of Canterbury Church.”

    Mr Castle is an ex-priest. According to his website he was ordained in 1963 and so must now be in his 70′s. I wonder if Mr Smith is also be a member of Grandad’s Army?

  • Xavier

    The strange maturity of the Voices of Vatican 2 often conjure images that sound desirable but in reality are not. They seem to have a fixation with throwing open windows and letting the spirit blow where it will; the result of this is apparently that all of the paper of history has blown against the doors of their churches, why else would they be so empty unless it is that the doors won’t open! The thought of people making the effort to climb through the open windows is amusing but people who enter a house are usually up to no good- perhaps the metaphor is after all more robust than I thought.
    My parish priest has now decided to continue the evolution of the liturgy and, striving for inclusion, omits the word men from the Creed, the prelude to the Our Father and randomly other parts of the Mass which don’t tickle his fancy and all with the connivance of our Pastoral Area catechist who also “servers” as our director of music and whose choices in that area and strangely largely over represented in the bad hymn listings.
    [6] These things which you see, the days will come in which there shall not be left a stone upon a stone that shall not be thrown down. [7] And they asked him, saying: Master, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when they shall begin to come to pass? [8] Who said: Take heed you be not seduced; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he; and the time is at hand: go ye not therefore after them. [9] And when you shall hear of wars and seditions, be not terrified: these things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet presently. [10] Then he said to them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

    [11] And there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and pestilences, and famines, and terrors from heaven; and there shall be great signs. [12] But before all these things, they will lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and into prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, for my name’s sake. [13] And it shall happen unto you for a testimony. [14] Lay it up therefore into your hearts, not to meditate before how you shall answer: [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.

    This wisdom is now being spoken in the blogosphere but is still needs to be heard more often in parishes. We must have the courage to speak out even if it is simply adhering to the words of the Mass, “…for us MEN and our salvation.”

  • Xavier

    Deacon Nick
    Do you have any more information regarding the dissenters activities in Shrewsbury? There are rumours abounding of further church closures including the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception built to be a cathedral and designed by Pugin and rebuilt following extensive war damage with offerings from the community including wedding rings to hold the curtains in the tabernacle. Any information would be of use to try to address dissent early and efficiently.
    Xavier

  • It strikes me that these Call to Action folk are so nearly right when they discern: ‘a reluctance to listen to the people whose lived reality is so often at odds with the teaching of the institutional Church.’ What I see is so close to that: a reluctance to listen by the people whose lived reality is so often at odds with the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Isn’t ‘institutional Church’ an interesting tell-tale phrase, by the way. The implication being that the Holy Father, and those united with him in the Faith, are in some way a different thing from the (real) Church. That’s at the root of the problem, of course.

  • Rifleman819 sates: “The hugely ironic thing about all of the Vatican 2 arguments is that the present Holy Father is one of very few ordained clerics still alive who was in Rome when it actually happened. Fr Josef Ratzinger, the Bavarian, with Fr Hans Kung, the Swiss, were two very promising theologians on hand to advise the Holy See.”

    Another ordained cleric who was there is the Most Rev Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath. He attended all 168 days of the Council, although he was not yet ordained priest for the First Session. He was one of 42 students, mostly final year theology, of the Greg chosen to learn a Latin shorthand system devised by Prof Aloys Kennerknecht of Mainz University. Bishop Smith has thrown a light on Fr Küng’s endeavours, or lack of them, “to advise the Holy See.”

    On Tuesday, September 9, 2010 Bishop Smith published an article in The Irish Times “Küng invokes spirit of Second Vatican Council he hardly saw”. He wrote (in part): “One of those involved with the Doctrine Commission was Irish Franciscan biblical scholar Fr Alexander Kerrigan. I met him most days at the council, a kind and affable priest. I was surprised one morning to find him visibly angry after his experience the previous evening at a commission meeting. It had followed a visit to the commission by Dr Küng, the only time Fr Kerrigan had seen him present. Dr Küng left quickly, taking no part in the discussion. Since Dr Küng was spending a great deal of time giving lectures on the council and interviews to media, his refusal to be involved in drafting council texts was not appreciated by many. When he published his autobiography I was naturally interested in how Dr Küng presented his non-involvement in this central work of the council. He admits that he made a conscious decision not to be involved in the commission’s work. His account of why he did not do so is less than convincing. This is all the more regrettable as he had an opportunity to be involved in the three foundation documents of the council: on the church; on divine revelation; on the church in the modern world.”

    The Tabletstas alternative Pope has feet of clay.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    On a different topic it is worth looking at:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/12/03/ireland-activist-admits-savita-may-not-have-wanted-abortion/

    In respect of the poor lady who died in a Hospital in Ireland there is an interesting interview with the journalist who originally broke the story where she admits that she may have got it all wrong. Anyway it seems fairly obvious now that this tragic death had nothing to do with abortion. But will the media broadcast that?

  • Teresa

    Abortion is a lived reality for many people – do they advocate that too?

  • One of the worst things we can do is try to stop these meetings. The martyr complex gives dissidents more drive and ambition. They are being noticed and that means there is `dialogue`. Just leave them alone and they`ll come home, dragging their tails behind them.

    • Bob Hayes

      I’d like to share your view John. However, these people will not only wander away themselves – they will lead others astray. Consequently we must challenge their errors.

      • rifleman819

        Bob .I think you are right.Heretical pied pipers have a tendency to be alluring at first and will take acolytes with them.

        I think we might be at a watershed moment in the Church generally and certainly in England and Wales in particular.

        But I think they realise that their game has now been rumbled.

      • Eric

        I don’t think that they should be stopped or ignored. We need to stop treating them as the enemy. If we are convinced that we are right then so will they be once they understand our logic. If you are right then a debate or dialogue is nothing to be affraid of. Refusing them that makes us look defensive and makes them look like martyrs

        • rifleman819

          Eric.
          Interesting reasoning there …but has all this passed that magic 1936 Rhineland moment?? …that key event in the run-up to WW2…where we now know that if Britain and France had put their foot down ….Hitler’s troops had orders to immediately scuttle back heimat.And the rest of recent history would have been very different?

          Are these people recoverable or irretrievable?

          • Bob Hayes

            Many are recoverable, but some may not be. When you read their various discussion forums, blogs and the like it is evident they are not a homogeneous group: in fact they are very disparate.

            Some appear to have a particular local grievance in connection with a priest or bishop. Some are ‘political squatters’ (of a certain age) with nowhere to go, as the elite political agenda (notably in Britain, Ireland and the US) has shifted markedly to the Right: they set-up their (not Catholic) social agenda camps inside the Church. Some have a deep and wide-ranging resentment of the Church: I have seen suggestions that the Church ‘went wrong’ as far back as the conversion of Constantine! Some are ‘feel good religious’ seeking a montage of the ‘good bits’ of all religions and therefore disobeying the First Commandment. Some are lay apparatchiks whose cosy routine has been upset by the new translation or the arrival of a new priest or by the words of the Holy Father: they like to be prominent in the parish but are less enthusiastic about witnessing the Faith.

            At a pragmatic level we must ensure that their debates are not accorded what may be perceived as implicit support. If events take place on Church premises some of the laity may be misled into thinking they are not dissenting. We should always pray and hope that they can be recovered.

          • Eric

            A rather good answer Bob.

          • Eric

            “Eric.
            Interesting reasoning there …but has all this passed that magic 1936 Rhineland moment?? …that key event in the run-up to WW2…where we now know that if Britain and France had put their foot down ….Hitler’s troops had orders to immediately scuttle back heimat.And the rest of recent history would have been very different?

            Are these people recoverable or irretrievable?

            good question. I would say that we ought to treat almost everyone as recoverable. there are leaders who have an adgenda, but most of the followers are honestly searching for the truth and we shoudl respect that even if we do not respect every single one of their conclusions. It would be wrong and counterproductive to cut such people out.

  • Francis

    When will the Bishops lay their foot down and stop all these dissident groups meetimg?

  • Francis

    Should be dissent groups

  • rifleman819

    Bob.
    Very astute post there. Fully agree.But I wonder if the dissenters need to be openly identified and then, if clergy,have an “interview without coffee” with their respective ecclesial superiors? At the very least there can be no institutional condoning from the Church.No resources, no photocopying, no halls or meeting places.
    Cuckoos in the nest can find their own alternatives.I believe the US Marine Corps has a famously blunt but honest comment that covers these sorts of situations–”Either shape up or ship out”

  • Paul

    I have today sent the following e-mail to the Archbishop of Birmingham:

    My Lord Archbishop,

    I am writing to express my dismay at the apparent hosting of a Call To
    Action meeting this weekend at Manresa House, as widely publicised on the
    internet. I understand that Cardinal Re is reported to have made the
    following statement about CTA in 2006:

    “The judgment of the Holy See is that the activities of ‘Call to Action’
    in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic faith due
    to views and positions held which are unacceptable from a doctrinal and
    disciplinary standpoint…. Thus to be a member of this association or to
    support it is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic
    faith.”

    Should the above be correct, may I ask Your Lordship to issue a public
    condemnation of this organisation, should that not have already been done.

    I am also dismayed that Manresa House appears to be Jesuit-run; if that is
    so, I find it scandalous that it should be hosting a meeting that appears
    to have the capacity to sow confusion among Church members.

    Indeed, I am so concerned that I intend to write to the relevant Roman
    dicastery or dicasteries.

    Yours in Christ,

    Paul.

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