A reader of Protect the Pope has sent us a copy of Bishop Kieran Conry’s reply to his concerns about A Call to Action and the homosexual group Quest, in which Bishop Conry expresses doubts about either group dissenting from the doctrines of the Church. Bishop Conry’s admirable quality is that he takes the time to reply to letters sent to him, when some other bishops don’t bother. Bishop Conry writes:
‘I have received your letter of 26th August with regard to the group calling itself ‘A Call to Action’. I would be interested to see your evidence that makes an explicit link with the group og the same name in the United States, and any published agenda for the group in this county that states the aims that you list. I met with three members of the group in this diocese and it was fairly clear that they had not formulated any agenda. They explicitly rejected the idea that they were pushing for things like the ordination of women.’
[Protect the Pope comment: The aims and objectives document produced following the 2012 Heythrop meeting clearly shows the dissenting agenda of ACTA, and in particular the importance of the ordination of women to their cause. The fact that Sr Myra Poole was invited to address the inaugural meeting of ACTA also shows the importance of women's ordination to ACTA's agenda. It appears that Bishop Conry's subsequent support for ACTA in Arundel and Brighton Diocese is based on his personal lack of knowledge about their true agenda].
‘I think that if we want to give this group publicity and increase their membership, then the easiest things to do is attempt to suppress or ban them’
[Protect the Pope comment: Instead Bishop Conry gives ACTA publicity and the opportunity to increase their membership by giving them official permission to hold meetings in his diocese, on church property, and advertised in many parish newsletters. Don't get the logic of this if Bishop Conry is concerned, as his letter suggests, about giving ACTA publicity and increasing their membership!].
‘With regards Mr Weldon’s blog, I can only tell you that I do not read blogs, but again how can I ban an organisation holding meetings in this diocese? The diocese covers the counties of East and West Sussex, parts of Surrey and Brighton and Hove. I cannot decide what happens in that territory. Any group has the right to free association and Pope Francis recently reminded us that we cannot discriminate against people simply becuase of sexual orientation (as Cardinal Ratzinger did when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).
[Protect the Pope comment: Bishop Conry is wrong when he states that he 'cannot decide what happens' in the Diocese of Aurndel and Brighton. He can stop groups that dissent from the doctrines and discipline of the Church from using Church property. He can also refrain from supporting groups that dissent from the Church's doctrine, such as when he recently sent a letter of support to Quest's 40th national conference or when he gave ACTA permission to operate within his diocese.]
‘I would also be grateful for evidence of the claim that Quest has made a ‘formal rejection of Church teaching but I have not seen its statutes or constitutions.’
[Protect the Pope comment: Bishop Conry is surprisingly uninformed about Cardinal Hume's banning of Quest from calling itself a 'Catholic organisation' because it promotes homosexual sexual acts. In a letter to Charles Keal, Quest's chairman at the time, Cardinal Hume wrote explaining that his decision to remove it from the list of approved Catholic organisations was that if an organization was listed with ecclesiastical approval, "the assumption must be that it accepts the church's teaching set out in a manner that is in no way ambiguous." The cardinal further explained Quest's rejection of living 'chaste lives in accordance with the church's teaching' raised concern about the direction Quest was taking. "It is one thing for the church officially to recognize a support group for Catholic homosexual men and women, struggling, as we all do, to live up to the demands of our shared Christian vocation," but was clear that an explicit part of Quest's agenda is "to encourage and recognize loving same-sex partnerships," which the church cannot accept.'
Quest's constitution clearly sets out their promotion of an active homosexual life-style:
'The purpose of Quest is to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ so as to sustain and increase Christian belief among homosexual men and women by:
1. associating lay men and women who are seeking ways of reconciling the full practice of their Catholic faith with the full expression of their homosexual natures in loving Christian relationships, and providing opportunities for them to meet together for worship, discussion and study.
Quest's website unambiguously expresses their dissent from the Church's teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual sex:
[H]omosexual sex is not an incomplete or less perfect expression of human sexuality … I also want to affirm that I regard heterosexual and homosexual sex as having the same potential and value … I disagree fundamentally with Church teaching on this issue.
‘[T]he teaching of the Vatican Congregations….is incompatible with the Gospel”
“Quest, an association for lesbian and gay Catholics, welcomes in general the government’s proposals to provide for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.”
Hopefully once Bishop Conry receives the answers to his questions he will reconsider his support of two groups that clearly promote dissent from the Church’s doctrine and discipline. He really should have looked into the bona fides of these groups before so readily expressing support for them in his diocese.