A Call to Action needs to be told by the bishops that we can’t have a dialogue on principles that are non-negotiable

Last week The Tablet reported that the excellent Mgr Patrick Burke had been appointed the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Edinburgh and St Andrew (though this hasn’t been announced by the Archdiocese. The news led Fr Ray Blake to post Mgr Burke’s famous interview on Newsnight with Christina Odone and Jeremy Paxman. The interview includes this revealing exchange to which members of A Call to Action should pay heed because Mgr Burke points out the impossibility of them realising their objective of ‘dialogue’ about women and gay priests, contraception, communion for divorced and re-married, etc.

Here’s a transcript from a section of the interview:

Fr Patrick Burke [PB]: As you know full well the Gospel tells us the real compassion is the compassion of truth. And the teaching of Jesus Christ is not measured by public opinion. The teaching of Jesus Christ stands firm and it will always be the teaching of Jesus Christ. You know we were never going to get have a pontificate, Christina, were we suddenly going to get a pope who came out and was going to change all these things [contraception, divorced and re-married, homosexuality]. That was just not going to happen.

Christina Odone [CO]: I’m talking about actually engaging in dialogue

Jeremy Paxman [JP]: How can you have a dialogue if the principles are is non-negotiable.

PB: Exactly

CO: The principle is negotiable. All the principles are negotiable.

PB: That’s just not true.

JP: Surely even the Catholic Church’s teaching on artificial birth control is something that has been so long-standing to be simply beyond discussion. Isn’t it?

CO: Jeremy, I know of many priests who have said to me,’ Christina, I haven’t had anybody of the Catholic faith confessing to using birth control. Why? It’s not because they don’t use it. Its because nobody, nobody, any longer regards it as a sin. Now Fr Burke can sit there ans say that this is, erm, a terrible interpretation of the doctrine but actually in practice this is what people are doing. And I think that we cannot deny ourselves, many priests are gay, many Catholics who are gay, many divorced Catholics who are wonderful believers, and we cannot draw a line and say ‘Thou art falling short of our mission.’

JP: But do you…you would have to demonstrate that…I’m so sorry Fr Burke, you can fight your own corner. Go on…

PB: I agree with you Jeremy, actually. It has to be said. The truth of the matter is there are certain principles that cannot be changed. Its not a question of lack of compassion. It’s a question of being faithful. And all this talk of conservatives and liberals is misplaced in this.

CO: It isn’t misplaced….

PB: If I could just finish…It is misplaced because the job of a pope is not to be a conservative or a liberal. The job of a pope is to be faithful. And the cardinals came to this consensus amazingly quickly because they understood that, and they’re not stupid Christina…

CO: I’m not saying anyone is stupid. Certainly not Cardinal Ratzinger.

PB: The point is he perfectly understands what you’re saying and your position. He’s not a person who is going to be excluding people from thr Church. But he is a person who is going to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is not going to change regardless of how much the western consensus rants and raves against it.

68 comments to A Call to Action needs to be told by the bishops that we can’t have a dialogue on principles that are non-negotiable

  • Joseph Matthew

    I knew Patrick Burke before he went to the seminary. He can most certainly fight his own corner! He did not care much for the Traditional Mass but he is superbly orthodox.Thank God.

  • tro

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a priest who could speak with that kind of confidence today?

  • Mark Thorne

    How explosive! – I must admit, I thought Mrs Odone was a little more orthodox in her beliefs than she portrays in this interview, and I find myself disagreeing with her on almost all of her points here. At the least, she often speaks out against the secularizing trends in society in her column and she once wrote that, as a divorced and remarried Catholic, she fully understood why she couldn’t receive communion. Either she has changed her mind about this in the interim, or the pontificate of Pope Francis is making her “feel brave” about disclosing her true feelings!

    In contrast, Mgr Burke fares excellently here; I offer him (and Mgr O’Toole, the newly appointed Bishop of Plymouth) my prayers for their respective ministries. May the Holy Spirit pour out upon them the gifts of fortitude, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord in robustly upholding the teachings of Christ and His True Church.

  • Bob Hayes

    The Holy Father has warned of the dangers of the Church’s teachings being seen as an ideology, rather than belief in Jesus Christ.

    ACTA, The Tablet and assorted ‘celebrity catholics’ seem to believe that the Son of God is subordinate to ideology. For them ‘dialogue’ is about building an ideological institution which develops ‘policies’ rather than follow the Son of God. Some ACTA people are already referring to their desired entity as ‘Catholic Community’.

    ACTA and like-minded people often take offence when words such as heresy, apostasy and schism are bandied about on the worldwide web. They should not be so touchy. Endeavouring – as they do – to make the Son of God subordinate to an ideology is a serious business: it is called breaking the First Commandment.

  • Michael Petek

    The Church’s teaching on birth control is coextensive with the Bible’s teaching on witchcraft (Heb = ‘kashaph’) and sorcery (Gr = ‘pharmakeia’).

    In Revelation 17 we see a woman holding a gold cup filled with abominations. We’re told that she’s a prostitute. What do you think is in that cup? What is the most obvious occupational hazard of her trade?

    Methinks a contraceptive of sorts.

  • Chrysostom

    Excellent, Deacon Donnelly -thank you. Can anyone quote any similar statement by any English bishops,leaving aside the two sound ones of Shrewsbury and Portsmouth? The Archbishop of Westminster?

  • Lynda

    The bishops (a great many of them) entertain and compromise with those who are enemies of Church teaching while turning their backs on those true Catholics who are being actively persecuted in the West for their adherence to the Faith and the Natural Moral Law.

  • katherine

    Archbishop Nichols – we are waiting…..

  • Rifleman819

    Katherine ,
    You’ll be waiting a long …long …long time I’ll warrant.

    I wonder what part of “No” don’t ACTA understand?

  • William

    The bishops are led by a pope who remains silent on issues like abortion, gay marriage etc…and that’s not going to change. These bishops will be more complacent and dismissive of Church teaching then they ever have been before. But when you have a pope who refuses to wear a mozetta (a symbol of his authority) but doesn’t have a problem wearing a CLOWN nose!!! these things happen.

    • Augustine

      This is not true.

      We have a Pope who does not wish to spend all his time talking about sex – but then no Pope has ever spoken just about sex.

      If the Pope did speak only about the Sixth Commandment, some people might think he was a cucumber sandwich short of a Vicarage Tea Party.

      Needless to say, the Pope is a loyal son of the Church and accepts the teaching of the Church. He has already made this clear.

      Of course if people only read what some parts of the secularist mass media want them to read, they will get a rather distorted view of Pope Francis.

      • Denis

        The maxim of the secular medial is divide and conquer. Sadly that is happening right now even on sites like this. The Pope has made his opposition to abortion in all circumstances absolutely clear. If Catholics continue to question that then we are doing the destructive work of the media whilst allowing them to sit back and fan the flames.

        • Wake up England


          I’m afraid The Pope has sent out messages which I find blurred.

          True, if one takes into consideration ALL he has said, he is still singing the Catholic Song. However he has certainly changed the tune to one which is unfamiliar to all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

          One can hardly be surprised at the anti-Christian Press taking advantage of the seeming “down-playing” of some emotive issues and the extemporary sound bites which The Pope has supplied.

          he appears to want to be All Things to All Men, and the danger of this strategy is that everyone ends up feeling let-down.

          “The Truth Alone is worthy of our entire devotion” (Father Vincent Mc Nabb).

        • Francis

          So true.

          Before the Second Vatican Council, British Catholics were renowned for their loyalty to the Pope. This was not very surprising when you consider the price (in money, imprisonment and even with their lives) so many had to pay during recusant days.

          It is only a slight exaggeration to say that nowadays extremists of both sorts will say “I am always right” and “the Pope is always wrong”.

          Rather like Hans Kung, they believe in personal rather than Papal infallibility!

          • Denis

            Yes Francis, I agree with much of what both you and WUE say.
            I am of that generation which finds it almost impossible to criticise the Pope. There are several reasons for that, many reflecting the inherent hatred that festers in many liberal, Protestant nations towards all things Catholic. I do recognise that Pope Francis has been at times somewhat careless in remarks he has made, but there are however already signs that the honeymoon period is ending. I feel we must be extraordinarily wary to ensure we don’t provide our vile media with ammunition. After all one of the explicit tricks of this loathsome industry is to build up so that the demolition can be even more dramatic.

          • Francis

            Denis – my comment of November 11, 2013 at 7:47 am was to agree with your comment of November 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm about the “divide and rule” tactics of the secular media. I was not commenting on WUE’s posting of 12.19am.

            The media also seems to have a tactic of “first build him up – then knock him down”.

            They certainly used this tactic on Pope Paul VI and Pope John-Paul II.

            Pope John-Paul I died before they could get to work on him.

            And of course Pope Benedict XVI committed two unforgivable crimes: first he was and is an orthodox Catholic – and second he is German.

  • BJC

    Still waiting for ACTA to give a summary of what happened at their 2nd Annual Conference. Last time they couldn’t wait to blow their own trumpet, this time they seem to be keeping a deliberately low profile so as not to attract attention.

  • Fr Paul Harrison

    Are you sure Monsignor Burke has been appointed VG for the Archdiocese???? The clergy seem unaware of this.

  • Lynda

    One may not have a dialogue about changing the rejection of intrinsic evil, which never changes.

  • Rifleman819

    For Lynda and WUE,
    Short and pithy posts here-but very good indeed.

    Something worries me a bit about ACTA actually.I presume the vast majority of them are in fact “cradle Catholics” and not converts.If that is the case surely they must (must) know instinctively and intuitively that Rome cannot change on any of their dialogue agenda.

    So this begs the question? Why do they behave as they do?

    Is it because some of our Higher clergy are feeding them nuggets of hope, gossip , misinformation etc -for some really devious agenda of their own?

    It would really be useful if we knew a lot more about the identity of their inner core , their High Kommand, as it were.

    • ConofChi

      Hit the target, again!

      • Rifleman819

        Dear Con ,

        If your post is directed at me-I blush.Many thanks.

        Being in the RCC in England/Wales today is like serving in an Army where you are never quite sure of the loyalty of your own Divisional commanders-the bishops.

        And you have a retired old buffer of a General-a certain Cardinal-still trying to get his Brigadier and Colonel proteges promoted.

        Meantime you hope that the local Adjutant-General-the Nuncio-can get the right promotion Boards for RHQ -Rome.

        The episcopal chips are in the air……..how they land will be interesting.

    • Augustine

      Lots of cradle Catholics were totally confused by the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.

      The main problem was and still is to fail to distinguish between doctrine (which can develop but cannot change) and discipline (which can change).

      The “Spirit of the Vatican Council” people see Pope Francis and the calling of a Synod on the Family as a last opportunity to push their muddled agenda.

      I suspect that although “they are now ringing the bells, they shall soon be wringing their hands” – because a careful reading of Gaudium et Spes #51 shows it to be in complete harmony with both Casti Connubi and Humanae Vitae.

      • Rifleman819

        Augustine ,

        A very honest analysis. The Catholic church Pre-Vat2 was perhaps more akin to the Orthodox,and for all its earthly faults , sent out a clear message.

        Perhaps too comforting in a way and in stark contrast to other Christian denominations who placed -and still do place -individualistic interpretations on doctrine and discipline.

        In consequence the period after 1965 became a rather “fluid” one -where dissent(open and quasi)flourished until this present time.
        The hippies who ran the show are however now themselves isolated, hence the surviving relics of the VAT2 ACTA Army have re-mustered into a “Custer’s Last Stand” as history swirls past them.

        Add the seasoning of individual pride and self-regard that these persons seem to exhibit and you have much of the explanation of where we have gone wrong over the last 50 years.

        But with the last chimaera of the real status of the CoE now gone and with it any hope of corporate reunion with Rome as demised as the Dodo. The ACTA warforce now resembles a gathering of pensioners, still Woodstock at heart, but seeing that the 2013ers laugh at the flared trousers and floral print dresses of their prime.

        Ecumenism and making Rome acceptable to the Reformed tradition was ever the ACTA explanation for their agenda.That has collapsed.As it always was going to.

        Catholics can now get on with the business of being “Catholics” again-much to ACTA’s chagrin.The Barque of StPeter sails serenely past ACTA Island, leaving the Robinson Crusoes marooned there gibbering away with their guitars and tambourines, the polyester vestments flapping in the breeze, their trite hymnody wailing in the sea winds.A disastrous footnote in the history of the Catholic church…..disastrous certainly……but only a footnote still.

        An object lesson in hubris.

  • “I am not negotiating” is a classic negotiating position.
    If you’re really not negotiating you dont say anything at all

    • Rubbish.

      If person A comes along and says “Let’s start a dialogue about XYZ”

      And person B responds “I am not negociating”

      HOW exactly is this supposed to be a negociating response ?

      Some people do in fact need to be explicitly told that their views are irrelevant and uninteresting, despite their own delusions otherwise.

      • “HOW exactly is this supposed to be a negociating response ?”

        Watch Bargain Hunt and count how many negotiations start with “I cant go lower than that”
        and end with “okay I can let you have…”

        I’ve done business with a whole load of people over the years (particularly from Arab countries) who’s starting position is “I wont negotiate with you on this” or even “I wont talk to you at all”. But if they are talkin they are negotiating

        How many times did Mrs Thatcher say she would NEVER talk to terrorists? and what was actually going on while she said it?

        I’m just giving you the benefit of my business acumen … you can’t make anything of it………..

    • Wake up England

      Anthony Miller:


      • There’s still a purpose in having a dialog even if you dont have any ground to give.
        Why else would John Kerry be talking to Iran?

        We all know that Iran isn’t going to give up its nuclear program really … but the fact they’re talking about it means they’re less likely to do something even more stupid. Or as Churchill would say:
        Jaw Jaw is always better than War War

  • I wish Pope Benedict had completely eradicated liberation theology but he did not.

    • peter

      Benedict appointed Archbishop Müller, pupil and acolyte of Gustavo Guitierez OP (father of Liberation Theology) as Prefect of the CDF. I believe Benedict’s critique of Liberation Theology is rather nuanced and he never wanted to destroy it completely.

  • Kinga Grzeczynska LLB

    Thanks for this post.

    The Lady (Christina Odone) does not understand the concepts of Theology. Some principals cannot be changed and therefore they are not subjects for discussion at all.

    It is a matter for accepting that the true principals of Jesus Christ and His teaching cannot be changed. Unfortunately, these Teachings of the Lord Himself, do not suit everybody, and therefore, groups like ACTA are formed and think that they can win a point. What they fail to understand is that -at the beginning the subject concerned – is non negotiable.

    I cannot argue a point of Law which is non – negotiable. I must accept the point in question. That is the beginning and end of it. One cannot play with the Law and one cannot play with the teachings of God and the Church.

    If we can see in the Catholic world of the United Kingdom, that the ACTA group is not clear about certain teachings of God and Holy Mother Church, then there should be a clear statement made by the Catholic Bishops Conference.

    This would give a clear and truthful explaination from our Bishops, on very important issues which currently effect thousands of people.

    So My Lords, let us hear from you in one unanimous voice.
    I look forward to it.

    Kinga Grzeczynska LLB

  • Rifleman819

    Kinga ,
    Could not be clearer -I wonder if the ACTA lot are “inspired” ,if that is the right word, …by the campaign for progress in the Church of England that so matches their own aims and objectives?

    But they make the fatal error of equating Canterbury with Rome.And you find this so often with media reports as well.

    As I have said before-perhaps Justin Welby should start up an “Ordinariate of Thomas Cranmer”-in a parallel Anglican universe where departing Catholics can delve to their hearts’ content.
    It would be better for all concerned I feel.

    • Augustine

      The late Mgr Graham Leonard (former Anglican Bishop of London) also thought that there could be a re-alignment with orthodox Anglicans joining the Catholic Church and liberal Catholics joining the Anglican Church.

      The “Old Catholic Church” (which is in full communion with the Anglican Church) and which separated from the Catholic Church over Papal authority seems tailor made for liberal Catholics.

      • Rifleman819

        Augustine ,

        I feel this will happen in some form or other-but the shadow-boxing and talks about talks have got to come to an end sometime soon.

        The effects of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation cannot be undone.We have spent 50 fruitless years pretending that they can be.

        And I think that Benedict’s establishment of the Ordinariate was not met with universal glee amongst Anglicans-but not for the reasons one might suppose………..because in the end the offer finally “called time” on the 150 years of the Oxford Movement-more Rome than Rome, hugely indulged by their own Anglican church.
        At last they have to make up their minds-stay in an ecclesial body with female clergy and the Reformed heritage or come to Rome?

        I wonder …does AB Welby, having bade farewell to Anglo-Catholics, now want a prisoner exchange with the reception of Cathlo-Anglicans?
        It’s going to be interesting.

      • Rifleman819


        Yes indeed -they were always a funny lot.In full communion with Anglicans since 1932 but …but …often in dispute with each other and apparently now ordaining females since 1996.

        That’s a surprise , innit, …because presumably Rome will now only recognise some parts of the Old Catholics as having valid Apostolic Succession??
        The “Dutch touch” will continue to stalk the Co E yet.

  • Peter 2

    That sounds great, but the hierarchy is not speaking with one voice.  There are 2 stories linked on the Catholic Herald’s web page one quoting Cardinal Marx and one Cardinal Kasper on the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics:

    “Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, former bishop of Regensburg and now prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recently wrote an article in L’Osservatore Romano strongly defending the church’s ban on communion for those who remarry and seeing no possibility of change in church discipline. In response to this, Cardinal Marxsaid that “we will see that it is discussed very broadly; as for the result, I do not know.” Cardinal Marx is on the committee of eight cardinals appoints by Pope Francis to advise him in the reform of the Roman Curia and the governance of the Catholic Church.” 


    “In the question-and-answer period, Cardinal Kasper treated the question of communion for those divorced and remarried. In 1993, as Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, he had released a pastoral letter along with Karl Lehman (then Bishop of Mainz) and another bishop which allowed for such people to receive Communion after serious examination of their conscience. He said last night: “Turning someone away from the communion rail – one doesn’t do that.” He said that priests need clear directions from the bishops in this matter.”

    How can anyone seriously defend the inability to change Catholic moral teaching when even princes of the Church undermine that position?  

  • Kinga Grzeczynska LLB

    We know that there are different opinions from the Cardinals and Bishops of Holy Mother Church. It is a historical point that opinions differ. However, what the Church is faced with now is a major problem of people who have turned away from Her and live in the way how they want to live.
    On the other hand – devoted Catholics are fast losing confidence in the governance and abilities of leadership of the hierarchy for various reasons.

    Politics speaks:

    Governments introducing Laws which make pathways for living a lifestyle which is completely against Divine Teaching, are contributing in a major way of destruction of Souls.

    Live for the moment – we are told. Enjoy – be happy – and do not worry- because everything will be alright. If you don’t want to keep the baby – then go to the clinic- and the baby will disappear. Don’t worry we have made Laws to assist you in your concerns. You want same – sex ‘marriages’ – don’t worry about that either – we will pass a Law to make you happy and you can do what you want. Remember to vote for us in the next election and we will keep you happy – while you are alive of course because after that you will be subjected to the Laws of God – which we will not mention now because it is not important.

    A catholic columnist’s teaching:

    A catholic priest who writes in a weekly Catholic paper advocates that all sins are forgiven, because the Lord died for all our sins – so don’t worry – you will get to Heaven. Cardinal/ grievous sins? Don’t worry about that either. All will be ok.
    Don’t mention hell or purgatory either -it is not fashionable any more. And don’t you dare mention going to Confession – it’s not fashionable any more. No need for that! If you really do insist then I can do General Absolution. That will keep you all happy.
    The Holy Father does not like what I write – don’t worry about that either. The Pope will not find out and the Bishops here will not do anything.

    Some Nuns opinions:

    Shortage of Catholic Priests – you say?
    The answer is staring you in the face. Make women priests. Don’t worry about the teachings of Blessed John Paul 11. Girl power – that’s what you need folks. All will be well! We will swap our habits for chasubles. Someone somewhere will ordain us and we can all pose in a happy photo. No – we will not mislead you – because we can explain everything and you know you should always listen a nun who is now a priest.

    The above are actual facts.
    Pray the holy Rosary and be faithful to God. Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    Kinga Grzeczynska LLB

    • Peter 2

      I understand what you are saying, but I think you are a bit too quick in brushing aside disagreements among bishops as something unimportant.  Yes, I understand they happen but we are a magisterial Church dependent on the teaching of the Pope and the bishops.  There has to be as much of a united front as possible particularly on moral teaching in the face of a world that is turning away from God more and more each day. How can Mgr Burke or anyone make a serious defense of the unchanging nature of Catholic moral teaching when the Pope makes comments like “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and the Cardinal Abp of Munich openly contradicts the head of the CDF?  It makes us look like a joke.  Doctrinal confusion is not going to lead anyone to or back to the Church. Speaking of the Immaculate Heart, I very much believe in what Our Lady said at Fatima – that in the end her Immaculate Heart will triumph. Hopefully, that day will come soon, because waiting is getting harder and harder..

    • Rifleman819

      Kinga ,

      Stingingly eloquent………and very close to the truth too.

    • Francis


      “A catholic priest who writes”……but I’m sure that one can’t write in Russian!

      Surely not Fr Estelle’s Italian cousin?

      Chi lo sa?

  • Sonja

    Kinga — Your assessment is more true than any of us would like to admit. I was at a meeting recently, when a Catholic Bishop was sharing his views. He openly proclaimed (although he admitted it was his opinion only) that the belief that we live in an age of ‘aggressive secularism’ needs to be challenged because he simply believes it is overstated and not true. I was stunned at the time — and have wanted to weep ever since. A classic example of a powerful statement made by a Bishop that is charged with leading his flock — but seems to have lost (if indeed ever possessed) the sense of what that responsibility means. How can a Catholic Bishop in today’s world openly and blatantly deny that ‘aggressive secularism exists. In his view — God is merciful and everything else will fall into place — and naturally he draws on quotes from Pope Francis to prove the point. I don’t believe the Bishop is putting the right interpretation on the words or intentions of Pope Francis. But what can one do?

  • Rifleman819

    Sonja , Faithful laity-not the ACTA Quislings ….will save the Church.

  • “JP: Surely even the Catholic Church’s teaching on artificial birth control is something that has been so long-standing to be simply beyond discussion. Isn’t it?”

    1968 …er …45 years
    Dr Who’s been going longer

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Anthony Miller: I understand you are not a Catholic so perhaps your ignorance is excusable. “Humanae Vitae” merely confirmed what the Church had always taught. Those who oppose it say that the only reason Pope Paul VI promulgated it in the way he did was because he did not want to be seen to be altering doctrine. What does that tell you?

      • That’s like saying that Leviticus was just a repetition of the 10 commandments.

        Actually prior to 1968 the Church’s teaching was that all contraception was sinful.
        Actually Humanae Vitae is a change in the church’s teaching.
        Previously it had had no “get out” clauses in its teaching on contraception at all.

        People who believe the church doesn’t change its teaching probably believe that Spiderman has never been ret-conned.

        The problem is the previous policy of stick-to-our-guns-till-its-obviously-nonsense-then-pretend-we-never-said-it doesn’t work anymore because people have more access to information.

        “Those who oppose it say that the only reason Pope Paul VI promulgated it in the way he did was because he did not want to be seen to be altering doctrine. What does that tell you?”

        When in a hole the Vatican keeps digging.

        You’ve got to love an organisations that has different levels of infallibility – ordinary and extraordinary, Magisterial and Papal.
        Something that’s infallible surely just is or isn’t infallible…?

        But of course the doctrine of Papal infalliblity actually allowed the church to effectively dump whole loads of doctrine that had previously been passed off as infallible but was obviously wrong … because it moved the goalposts.

        Actually many in the church go around all the time stating that the church can never be wrong on doctrine. This simply isn’t true. It has clearly changed its mind repeatedly on doctrine even if it is in eternal denial. What it does is turn around and say “yes, I know we said that but it wasn’t an infallible statement after all”. Or “that’s what we thought but we have now clarified this doctrine”.

        Limbo anyone?

        • Augustine


          “You’ve got to love an organisations that has different levels of infallibility – ordinary and extraordinary, Magisterial and Papal. Something that’s infallible surely just is or isn’t infallible…?”

          I’m sorry to have to tell you this – but the Catholic Church does NOT have different levels of infallibility. As you rightly point out – either something is infallible or it is not.

          You seem to be fascinated by the Catholic Church and you know quite a bit about it.

          But quite a lot of the time you seem to be angry with what you think the Catholic Church teaches rather than what it actually teaches.

          If you are sincere (rather than just a court jester) and you really want to know what the Catholic Church teaches, you should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is available free on line – but you can also buy a new paperback copy for about £10 (or less second hand).

          You might even find (to your horror?) that it makes sense. :-)

    • Lynda

      It was simply restated in 1968. It is timeless truth.

    • Augustine

      1968…..Dr Who’s been going longer.

      Wrong again!

  • Rifleman819

    Anthony ,

    Don’t try to be such a shallow smart-arse.

    It demeans you.

    As a scientist you ought to know that “Humanae Vitae” was in response in the main(amongst many other matters) to the pharmaceutical chemistry of the Pill…perfected I believe about 1961-62.

  • Kinga Grzeczynska LLB

    Thanks for your comments Sonja. It is true to state that poor leadership from our Bishops has been a major contributory factor in the delicate state of the Catholic Church. This does not apply just here in the UK but in many parts of the world also.

    However, the faithful laity follow the Bishop who proves himself to be a good leader in his pastoral letters, his homilies and by speaking out and being heard on ‘those rather delicate matters that no one likes to openly discuss’. Homosexuality, contraception, euthanasia, abortion, poverty, priests who ‘do their own thing’ same sex ‘marriage’, cohabitation before marriage, original sin, disobedience to God, grievous sin, receiving Holy Communion when your soul is in a fit state to receive the Lord, confession, Heaven, purgatory, hell and eternal suffering and damnation.

    We know who these bishops are who have bravely spoken out – and probably much to the dismay of their brother Bishops but I say this: We live in times of a persecution of the Catholic Church, extrinsically from the media, anti Catholics and anti Christians but intrinsically the Catholic Church is being subjected to heresy, weak leadership in some cases and a disobedience to the Seat of Peter – The Holy Father.

    We keep faithful to the Holy Father and his directives and most importantly we keep faithful to the Holy Mass and the Rosary.

    All will be recorded in the Book of Wisdom in the Lord’s Court.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Augustine

    “1968 …er …45 years Dr Who’s been going longer”

    Sorry – wrong again!

  • Kinga Gray-Grzeczynska LLB

    Anthony Miller

    Infallibility is a topic that can be discussed for a full semester. I am not an expert in this topic but I have my Faith.

    It is an unequivocal certainty that the Divine Teachings of Christ Himself are infallible. His Teaching have been with the world for 2000 years and are the formation of Holy Mother Church.

    Throughout Christendom for 2000 years – the Church of The Son of God, Jesus Christ- has developed, grown stronger and proved to generations – the Truth of the The Word made Flesh in the One who has existed for all time, who is equal to God, who is God and whose strength is shown in the power of The Holy Spirit.
    We know this to be the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity – God The Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The existence of The Three Persons – Co- equal and One for all time.

    The Church does not ‘dump’ any Teachings of Christ. The Church considers, discusses and issues statements in Her findings. These are mostly found in the Encyclicals of the Holy Pontiff. The Church also looks at the needs of God’s people and very importantly the Church defends the Teachings of The Lord, Himself.

    Neither you nor I nor any group of the laity who have embarked on a mission ‘to change the Church’, are likely to succeed. One cannot change the Divine Word. True Catholicity is not for cherry pickers. Yes the rules are strict to some people. However, the Infallible Words of Jesus Christ cannot be changed or manipulated like plasticine.

    Furthermore, I would ask you to refrain from comments which may offend Catholics or comments which ridicule our Faith. You are entitled to your point of view. Please do so respectfully. Thank you.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

    • “The Church does not ‘dump’ any Teachings of Christ”

      1) The church’s teachings on contraception are not “Teachings of Christ”. Christ had nothing to say on the matter. It wasn’t a big issue before the technology for contraception became reliable. All the church’s theologicial problems revolve around the things that Jesus didn’t get round to saying.

      2) The church can and does dump teachings. For example the church blamed the Jews for the death of Christ until Nostra Aetate in 1965. Or at the least never refuted it. It used to teach that Catholics should not be raised by non-Catholics … a doctrine that went a bit far when Pius IX took it as far as abducting Jewish children. The church used to teach that there was ABSOLUTELY No salvation outside the faith. Now it has sort of fudged the issue. If we were to go through every time the church changed its mind we’d be here forever…

      But if it never changed its mind Cardinal Newman would never have been forced to come up with the ludicrous concept of Development of doctrine

      Okay, here’s the logic of the Church’s position on contraception? Physical interference is wrong …but if you can calculate the right times of the month then that’s okay. This is really just replacing latex for mathematics for many people. Of course in biological reality having sex at the infertile section of the cycle ammounts to having sex when libido is at its lowest. It’s not a great shock then that many people cant stick so such a plan …no matter how many graphs they draw.

      The get out of jail card for the Vatican whereby it can argue that none of this is a contradiction was that there had to be a period of abstinance – therefore it could just about argue this wasn’t contraception really just “birth regulation” through sex regulation. But it isn’t really, is it? It is contraception. Just contraception done by the brain and not a condom.

      • Lynda

        Are you really so ignorant of natural moral law ooand Church teaching? It is hard to believe that is the case. Firstly, each and every act of sexual intercourse must be open to conception if nature allows it. Secondly, it is sinful to abstain from sexual intercourse during fertile periods without grave reason.

        • “Secondly, it is sinful to abstain from sexual intercourse during fertile periods without grave reason”

          News to me.

          “It is supremely desirable… that medical science should by the study of natural rhythms succeed in determining a sufficiently secure basis for the chaste limitation of offspring.” ?

          • Dominic MacCarthy

            ““Secondly, it is sinful to abstain from sexual intercourse during fertile periods without grave reason”

            News to me.”

            That shows that you don’t know what the Church teaches about NFP. There has to be a sufficient reason for trying to avoid pregnancy by use of the infertile parts of the cycle. NFP would be immoral if a couple simply used it to avoid having children at all (DINKs) simply for financial reasons or just to preserve a comfortable lifestyle.

            God is a partner in every Christian marriage. A couple should try to discern before God in prayer, His will for their marriage. Does the Lord want to bless them with more children at this time? Or are there serious reasons – medical factors, spacing between births, dire poverty etc. – why another conception should be avoided at this time?

            A couple who were well able to support and bring up children, but used NFP to avoid having any children at all, would probably be more seriously adrift from God’s will than a poor couple with 5 or 6 kids, where the woman has medical problems, and they use barrier contraceptives to avoid a further pregnancy. OK, they shouldn’t use them, but they have complied far more generously with the divine will than the first couple who are merely being selfish and refusing to let God bring new life into the world through their marriage at all.

    • Michael B Rooke

      @ Kinga Gray-Grzeczynska
      Re infallibility

      Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808–1892) wrote extensively on infallibility. He was an Anglican priest and was received into the Catholic Church 6 April 1851 and was ordained 14 June 1851. He was was chosen as Archbishop of Westminster in 1865, In 1875, Manning was created Cardinal.

      Manning attended the First Vatican Council (1868-69), and was a key player in helping to define the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. He received some votes in the conclave that elected Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) Cardinal Manning was influential in the formulation of the Encyclical Rerum Novarum the foundation document of the Church’s modern social teaching.

      Among his writings are two books written on the Holy Spirit from which arises infallibility.

      The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost written in 1865 before the First Vatican Council of 1868
      The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost was written in 1875. Both books are available on line in pdf format links are provided in references at the end.

      On infallibility he wrote

      “The indissoluble union, of the Holy Ghost with the Church carries these two truths as immediate consequences : first, that the unity of the Church is absolute, numerical, and indivisible, like the unity of nature in God, and of the personality in Jesus Christ: and secondly, that its infallibility is perpetual.”
      [1] Page 87

      “And therefore the infallibility of the Church is perpetual, and the truths of revelation are so. Enunciated by the Church as to anticipate all research,- and to exclude from their sphere all human criticism.”
      [1]Page 98

      “I do not know in what words the infallibility of the Church and the immutability of its doctrines can be more amply affirmed. For they declare (1.) that by virtue of the perpetual presence of this unction which is the Holy Ghost, the Church possesses the whole revelation of God ; (2.) that it is preserved by Divine assistance, unmixed, and in all its purity ; and, (3.) that it is enunciated perpetually through the same guidance by a voice which cannot lie. Now let us draw out the consequences of this truth. 1. The first is that all the doctrines of the Church to this day are incorrupt. I mean that they are as pure to-day as on the day of Pentecost ; and that, because
      they are the perpetual utterances of the Spirit of Truth, by whom the Church both in teaching and
      believing is preserved from error. Individuals may err, but the Church is not an individual. It is the
      body of a Divine head united indissolubly to Him. It is the temple’ of the Holy Ghost united inseparably to His presence.”
      [1] Page 219 seq.

      “The presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the source of its infallibility; the presence of the Holy Ghost in the soul is the source of its sanctification. These two operations of the same Spirit
      are in perfect harmony. The test of the spiritual man is his conformity to the mind of the Church.”
      [2] Page vi

      “The definitions of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, of the Infallibility of the
      Vicar of Christ, bring out into distinct relief the twofold office of the Holy Ghost, of which one part is His perpetual assistance in the Church, the other His sanctification of the soul, of which the Immaculate Conception is the first fruits and the perfect exemplar.”
      [2] Page vii

      3. Now there are two things necessary to a doctrine of faith or to an act of Catholic faith. One is, that God shall have revealed unto His Apostles the truth that we believe; and the other is, that His Church should teach it. This, shortly, is the reason why we believe. Every Catholic child is taught to say day by day an act of faith such as this : ” O my God, I believe all that Thou hast revealed,” for these two reasons, ” because Thou art the truth, and canst neither deceive nor be deceived ;” or, as Saint Augustine says, ” We believe because God is the truth Deus est veritas et verax He is the true God, truth Himself, and- He is veracious and He cannot deceive us. It is therefore necessary that our faith should terminate upon the authority of God, and if our faith terminates upon the authority of God, it is impossible that we can err. We have an infallible reason for believing, because it is the authority of God Himself Who teaches us what to believe.
      [2] Page 66

      “But faith needs a divine authority, and a divine authority must be infallible. It is only playing with terms and using words of no meaning if we speak of a divine authority which is not infallible. Any teacher, be it a man or corporate body, which disclaims infallibility cannot be a divine teacher.”
      [2] Page 70

      “ ” Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” And the word of Christ is the voice of the living Church of God in every age, spreading from the sunrise to the sunset, speaking not only as a human and historical witness which has filled the world for eighteen centuries, but speaking as a supernatural and divine witness, because the Head of it is the Incarnate Truth Himself
      at the right hand of His Father ; and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, dwells in it and guides it, and speaks by it as the organ of His Voice.”
      [2 ]Page 73

      “God sustains and preserves His Church by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Fountain of all illumination and of all grace, in its conformity with His own divine intelligence. He guides the
      Catholic Church in the path of His eternal truth. That which we call infallibility is nothing but this : the Church cannot err from the path of revealed truth. And they who are faithful to the Church are illuminated and sanctified, even in the midst of the darkness and the distortion of this nineteenth century.”
      [2] Page 229

      The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost
      The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost

      Also useful are the Pastoral letters written by Cardinal Manning when he was Arch Bishop of Westminster.

      To quote Arch Bishop Manning himself in the Preface

      “THE three PASTORAL LETTERS, now collected in one volume, were written at separate times,
      and contain three distinct parts of the same subject ; that is to say, the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff.
      The first, which treats of the eighteenth Centenary of St. Peter s martyrdom, simply affirms the doctrine of Infallibility as it has been enunciated and taught by the Theological tradition of the Church.
      The second traces the line of the historical tradition by which the same Catholic doctrine
      has been affirmed.
      The third states and explains the doctrine of the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff as it has been defined by the (Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.

      Taken as a whole the three Pastorals present at least an outline of this revealed truth, now happily for ever placed beyond controversy or doubt by the divine authority of the Church. They record, also, the indiction, the prelude, and the first four sessions of the first Council of the Vatican, the nineteenth (Ecumenical Synod of the Catholic Church, which will leave its indelible mark upon the future, as the Council of Trent has left its impression upon the past and present, of the Christian world.
      CHRISTMAS 1870.”


  • Kinga Gray-Grzeczynska LLB

    Michael B. Rooke

    Thank you for your post.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

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