Archbishop Nichols says that Synod questionnaire will not change doctrine but will help Catholics face the “ambitions of modern living”.

Archbishop Nichols has told a press conference held after the meeting of the Bishops Conference that the Synod questionnaire will not change doctrine, despite the fact that putting an individualised version of the Lineamenta’s questions on-line has raised expectations that this is exactly what’s being offered – the opportunity to change Church doctrine. As Terence Weldon writes on his blog Queering the Church:

‘We must be absolutely clear that there is no intention at all that this synod will in any way change doctrine, as Mgr. Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary to the Synod, has stressed. (However, we should always be mindful of the law of unintended consequences. I am convinced that one unintended consequence could be recognition that the doctrine on artificial contraception needs to be rethought. That, in turn, will lead to a more comprehensive review of all sexual theology, in the longer term. But that’s later).’

Another dissenter writes:

‘One of the people closest to me had five unplanned pregnancies in the first six years of marriage, as a result of trying to use natural family planning and to conform to the demands of Humanae Vitae. When I told her about this questionnaire, her first response was ‘get rid of Humanae Vitae’.

So it appears that Archbishop Nichols, and others, have realised that they must urgently lower expectations, or else there is going to be serious trouble.

The Catholic Herald reports:

‘The results of the English and Welsh Bishops questionnaire on family life will not be used to change the Church’s teaching, the Archbishop of Westminster said. Archbishop Vincent Nichols said the survey ahead of synod on the family in Rome would instead help bishops see how well accepted the Magisterium is and how they can encourage people to be faithful to it. He said the aim was to ‘refresh’ the Church’s tradition of pastoral care, a tradition he said had been neglected in recent decades.’

Archbishop Nichols also said:

‘Christian life invites us to have high aspirations…but the reality we live is pockmarked in failure and disappointment. What lies between the two things – which is so important to the Pope – is the attribute of mercy.’

‘What I would expect is a development of that long tradition of pastoral care which has diminished a bit in the last 30 to 40 years. The hard work that most priests spend their time doing is accompanying people through difficult situations. In the last few decades, though, ‘we have been very tied up with notions and ideas. ‘

The archbishop cited the parable of the two men walking to Emmaus. Many people, like them, were walking away from the Church today. “Our job is to walk alongside them”, he said. Jesus “didn’t say to [them]. ‘No turn round, get back to Jerusalem where you should be. He walks with them and through the accompaniment there comes a moment when the two people recognise the living presence of God and the workings of grace.’

The BB reports Archbishop Nichols saying the following about the Synod Questionnaire:

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said it would help Catholics face the “ambitions of modern living”.

“The Pope has led us to pay attention to the experiences of people,” Archbishop Nichols told BBC Breakfast. ”On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand we have to face all of the ambitions of modern living.”

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales also said that Catholics should be prepared to “listen” to arguments about same-sex marriage – even if it made them “uncomfortable”. ”Listening never did us any harm,” he said. “God gave us one mouth and two ears. The fact that we may hear things that make us uncomfortable – that’s fine.”

Archbishop Nichols also said the following:

‘What we’re seeking to do is seeking to pay attention to the experience of people who on the one hand want to live a Christian life, want to follow Christ and on the other hand face all the ambiguities and difficulties of practical living. And what lies between these two is the word, the notion, of God’s mercy.

So how do we best accompany people, and indeed ourselves, on this difficult journey trying to live up to the vision of humanity Christ gives us in the difficult, ambiguous, messy circumstances of everyday life.’

I was brought up to always understand that the Church is a church of sinners, its a church of people who fail, and a people who know they fail, and aren’t ashamed to say they fail. That’s why we spend a lot of time on our knees. But in a sense this isn’t new and in another sense society has moved to a different perspective on some issues and that means often that those who wish to follow Christ don’t have the support of the wider culture, often the wider society  in which they live. So there are new challenges and there are continuities in how the task of trying to live the  Christian ideal has always been.’

Protect the Pope comment: What does Archbishop Nichols mean that Catholics need to face the ‘ambitions of modern living’? What ambitions would these be? Also, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that we are a Church of repentant sinners? What does Archbishop Nichols mean when he says that the ‘ long tradition of pastoral care… has diminished a bit in the last 30 to 40 years. In the last few decades, though, ‘we have been very tied up with notions and ideas? This is very perplexing! Is Archbishop Nichols suggesting that ‘notions and ideas’ get in the way of pastoral care? Pope Benedict XVI often talked and wrote about the important relationship between pastoral care and truth, ‘If at times in the past, love shone forth too little in the explanation of the truth, so today the danger is great that in the name of love, truth is either to be silenced or compromised. Assuredly, the word of truth can be painful and uncomfortable. But it is the way to holiness, to peace, and to inner freedom. A pastoral approach which truly wants to help the people concerned must always be grounded in the truth. In the end, only the truth can be pastoral. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32).’–Ratzinger-sulla-pastorale-dei-f.html&title=The%20pastoral%20approach%20to%20marriage%20%20should%20be%20founded%20on%20truth&locale=en







53 comments to Archbishop Nichols says that Synod questionnaire will not change doctrine but will help Catholics face the “ambitions of modern living”.

  • Wake Up England

    Why should we be prepared to “listen” to arguments about same-sex (so called) marriage?

    And why does Archbishop Nichols call it “Marriage”?

    Wouldn’t this have been a good opportunity to publicly re-state the Church’s doctrine of Marriage? One Man – One Woman – For life?

    I feel most uneasy at this Archbishop’s statement. Are we being “softened-up” for more to come?

  • Lynda

    What on earth is the Archbishop saying??

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Lynda: I think he is saying that we should sup with the Devil. The clergy seem to have completely lost the idea of the danger of giving scandal to weaker brethren.

  • Anna

    Jesus taught Clophas and the other disciple (it could have been Mary his wife who we are told had been at the Cross), they say, ‘didn’t our hearts burn within us as he explained the scripture to us’.

    The Church’s teaching on the family and sexuality should make hearts burn within us but +Vince et al has not bothered much hence few know what the Church teaches, my own bishop ridicules Humanae Vitae an d those of us who try to live it.

    • Augustine


      Quite shocking. But you are probably in good company. I’m sure he also ridicules Pope Paul VI, Blessed John- Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI (at least in private) – not to mention Mother Teresa.

      So you are in very good company.

      “Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.” (Matthew 5)

  • jacobi

    I wish our bishops would stop speaking in riddles. If Church doctrine will not, cannot, change then Catholics will just have to accept it,or stop being, and claiming to be Catholic. Why doesn’t he just say so.

    Humanae Vitae stands. NFP Is known to be overall at least as effective as condoms. If people have problems with NFP,then pastoral care consists of referring them to groups who can assist. Pastoral care in this area means making a greater effort to publicise and explain NFP, something the Church has steered clear of in the last 45 years, a deliberate ploy on the part of the liberals.

    As for “listening” to arguments about “same sex marriage”,that is a contradiction in terms and has no part in Catholic thinking.

  • Shaun the Sheep

    “The Pope has led us to pay attention to the experiences of people,” Archbishop Nichols told BBC Breakfast. ”On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand we have to face all of the ambitions of modern living.”

    The unspoken scandal is that the people, by and large, have not been FORMED in the faith, so who is surprised that for so many, the experience of thinking about living the Catholic faith leads nowhere, people defeated before they even start. The responsibility for this rests primarily with the Shepherds and their helpers, the bishops and priests.

  • Augustine

    It is good to hear that Archbishop Nichols has publically stated that the Synod questionnaire will not lead to a change in Church doctrine.

    Questionnaires cannot lead to changes in Christian Doctrine.

    I hope that by his clear statement, he also disassociates himself from “The Easter People” (the report from the National Pastoral Congress of 1980) which called for a change in the Church’s teaching on Divorce & Remarriage and on Contraception.

    Like him I look forward to a development of that “long tradition of pastoral care which has diminished a bit in the last 30 to 40 years”.

    I am sure he understands that this “long tradition of pastoral care” must be based on charity, patience and kindness – as well as on truth and plain speaking – and not on equivocation and obfuscation.

  • Michael Petek

    “One of the people closest to me had five unplanned pregnancies in the first six years of marriage.”

    That’s akin to saying: “One of the people closest to me had five unplanned skull fractures in the first six years of her career as a stuntwoman.”

    In that case she shpuld have thought about this before getting married or into the stunt business.

    • Lynda

      Exactly. If you’re married and having marital relations with your husband, then you plan, insofar as one can, for the natural result – children. Of course, what Ms Beattie means is that one ought to be able to have sex and avoid having children.

  • Amanda Peter

    So ABP VN says…” Catholics should be prepared to “listen” to arguments about same-sex marriage – even if it made them “uncomfortable”. ”Listening never did us any harm.” What agenda is that? What fidelity to Christ and his teaching is that? We know God is most merciful but that does not mean we live in wilful wanting sinful unions and God must just understand. God calls us to conversion.

  • Pedro de Luna

    Off topic and apologies if this has already been discussed but I wonder if anyone listened to last Sunday’s “Sunday” programme on radio 4?

    There’s a discussion about 10 minutes from the end about the “Pope Francis effect.” I think you might be surprised to find that Terry Sanderson of the NSS agrees with many of the commenters here: namely that Pope Francis does not have the power to change Catholic doctrine. Edward Stourton (a Tablet carrying Catholic) then suggested that that was only Terry Sanderson’s view of how the Catholic Church worked.

    It sounds like Mr Sanderson has a more informed view of the Catholic Church than some of it’s own more liberal members.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Pedro: You are absolutely right. Pink News often understands the Church’s position better than some of our dissenters.

    • Bob Hayes

      Indeed Pedro, your final sentence is quite correct. The level of wishful thinking that underlies much of the media and plenty of so-called ‘Catholic’ commentary is breathtaking.

      While much of the ‘liberal wing’ is wishful thinking, there are elements amongst some of the ‘conservative wing’ who are bordering on hysteria in their attacks on the Supreme Pontiff.

      Of course, for Satan, it does not matter who or why people are undermining Holy Mother Church – all that matters is that plenty ‘Catholics’ are attacking the Church and damage is being done.


      I heard some of this when it was broadcast. I did wonder at the BBC’s choice of these three lefties: a public adulterer, a campaigning atheist, and a liberal Jew, to discuss the “Pope Francis effect”. But it’s just par for the course.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Thanks for pointing this out Pedro. I’ll have a listen. Deacon Nick

  • Deacon Nick Donnelly

    I take all genuine criticism seriously, and part of judging its genuineness is knowing the source of the criticism. I’ve no idea who is the author of Catholic Commentary as he or she publishes anonymously so I cannot take their criticism of me very seriously. Deacon Nick

  • Wake Up England


    You’re quite right.

    Second page of the bulletin on the right-hand-side under the heading “Bishops’ Synod”

    So we must draw the logical conclusion that the Parish Priest is in favour of Tina Beattie’s views; that is why he is suggesting his parishioners visit her website to find inspiration and “thought-provoking” material to help them answer the questions in the “simplified” edition of the Holy See’s questionnaire.

    No point in complaining to the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton because he quite obviously supports Tina’s agenda.

    No point bringing the matter to the attention of the Archbishop of Westminster for the same reason!

    As things are going now, it makes me cringe to think what’s going to be happening in many British dioceses in ten years’ time. Will all Catholic hospitals be routinely providing abortions by then (with nuns for nurses)? It’s happening in Ireland, so why not England?

    The Pope has warned us about the realities of the devil, and the devil’s works are very plain to see in the Catholic Church of Britain and Ireland: spreading rapidly, like a virulent and deadly cancer.

  • ”On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand …..”

    No, No, No, your grace – for a Catholic THERE IS NO OTHER HAND!!! The only alternative to following Christ is the road to perdition – eternal damnation. If your own discipleship is so uncertain – if you have put your hand to the plough, but constantly look back – then how can you lead the family of God with any integrity? Yes, we all fail to follow Him – constantly – but that is because of our weakness, never because there is a valid alternative. Help the lost sheep to find their way back to Christ, never pretend that there are good alternatives.

  • Lynda

    He gets personally attacked because he speaks without fear or favour in defence of the Faith, in defence of Truth.

  • Tony Logan

    Was it ever Rome’s intention to invite input from the population at large ?
    I thought it was a consultation of bishops who would, presumably, seek ideas from clergy.

  • Minimum

    ‘that long tradition of pastoral care which has diminished a bit in the last 30 to 40 years.’

    That really made me splutter – biggest understatement of the millenium, I reckon. ‘diminished a bit’. A BIT??? One huge great colossal chunk of ‘a bit’, I’d say!!! More like ‘disappeared’. Hmph.

  • Tony Logan

    Was it Rome’s intention that the consultation be extended to the population at large?
    I understood it o be addressed to the world’s bishops.

    • Augustine

      Well the bishop in this diocese seems awfully keen that everyone should respond.

      But perhaps he hasn’t realised that if all the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world were to reply, it might mean they would have to postpone the Synod from October 2014 to …..say October 2114.

      Either that or employ a few million staff in the Vatican :-)

  • Deacon Nick Donnelly

    I’ve looked for the name of the author of Catholic Commentary on his or her site but for the life of me I can’t find it. Maybe if you pointed me in the direction of it, I’d be most grateful. Deacon Nick

    • Wake Up England


      Please answer the Deacon’s question:

      Who is the author of Catholic Commentary?

      Your post above is quite definite that the blog’s author is not anonymous and that said author is a practising Catholic.

      Please point us all in the direction of his or her name, because I can’t see it either.

    • Teresa

      It is not hard to find the name of the author of this blog. Fr Tim Finnigan recommended the blog some years ago and knows the author of the blog. I am not going to publish it because it is up to the author of the blog to do that and since I found it very easily you can do the same. Personally I think that whether or not someone is anonymous , if they have a valid point it should be answered. I don’t know who WUE, sean the sheep, mike2 are …..or indeed most of the people who respond to the posts on here . It seems silly to me to criticise one person for anonymity when the reality is so many commentators are anonymous.

      • Wake Up England


        My name’s William Weber and I often say so here. No secret.

        I take issue with your calling Deacon Donnelly “Silly”.

        Perhaps an apology would be in order from you to him.

        • Teresa

          WUE My point still stands – many commentators on here, including me, are anonymous. It would be helpful if you addressed the point made rather than demand apologies.
          I could take issue with your rather intemperate tone but that is my problem. No doubt others view your comments as blunt and forthright.
          Deacon Donnelly no offence was meant to you but I still don’t see the point of focussing criticism on the anonymity issue rather than the points that are being made. I am anonymous and I want to remain so so I will no longer comment. I think your blog is an excellent one and it is very necessary in these times but nothing is perfect….. and whilst I nearly always agree with you , I do not agree with every single post. From now on though I will keep my thoughts to myself.

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            Teresa, I value your contribution to the discussions on Protect the Pope, and having considered your point have answered Catholic Commentary’s criticism of me on this thread in my reply to Deacon Augustine. I do think there is a difference between posting a comment on a thread and posting a headlined post on a blog. If you publish a blog I think you should do so under your name because its like being the publisher of a newspaper, but readers should have the option to post anonymously, so they can be free to engage in the cut and thrust of debate. Deacon Nick

    • I believe his name is [moderated comment]

      From his following comment, I suspect that he is suffering from the same Pharisaism that he is accusing you of:

      “The more thoughtful among us do not find him always credible – and that does matter as much as hits.”

      In other words: “Thank you God, that you have made me so thoughtful and not like this other man!” Could also be a bit of the green-eyed monster involved due to the success of your blog.

      • Deacon Nick Donnelly

        Deacon Augustine, I appreciate your support but I’ve decided to edit out the name of the author of Catholic Commentary to protect his privacy. If he feels that he must post anonymously then I will respect his decision. Having said this, I cannot take his criticisms of me seriously when he writes of Enda Kenny ‘one might want to suggest that Mr Kennedy [sic] might have better represented the Catholic point of view in the political sphere.’ Enda Kenny, a politician who professes to be a devout Catholic, has led the charge to legalise the killing of babies through abortion, has imposed a three-line whip on members of his own party to force them to vote for abortion, and has excommunicated members of his party for voting against the legalisation of abortion. And all Catholic Commentary can say is Enda Kenny ‘might have better represented the Catholic point of view in the political sphere’! The author of Catholic Commentary is ignoring the fact that both Cardinal Ratzinger, Cardinal Bergoglio, and Cardinal Burke have categorically stated that Catholic politicians who vote in support of abortion must be excommunicated.

        About Mike Conway’s article about Peter Tatchell in Faith Today, I notice Catholic Commentary ignores the fact that Tatchell led a vicious anti-Catholic campaign in 2010 and personally and publicly ridiculed Pope Benedict with the ‘Pope Betty; Queen of Homophobia’ poster. Instead of acknowledging or replying to the criticisms I make of Mike Conway’s puff piece on Tatchell Catholic Commentary absurdly calls Conway’s article an example of the ‘Courtyard of the Gentiles’. The ‘Courtyard of the Gentiles’ is founded on mutual respect and willingness to listen, both qualities completely absent in Tatchell’s contemptuous approach to the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict in particular. He also accuses me of cyberbullying for publishing the public email address of a journalist and publisher. Does the author of Catholic Commentary believe that a writer who makes his living through being a publisher and journalist is above criticism from his readership and the wider Catholic community? Receiving criticism goes with the territory, hence my reply to his anonymous criticism of me.

        Catholic Commentary also takes me to task about Protect the Pope’s coverage of the film ‘Philomena’, which is a subject to which he has given much coverage on his own blog. My report centered on the accusation, reported in The Tablet, made by Sr Julie Rose, assistant congregational leader of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, that the film depicts a meeting between Sr Hildegard McNulty and Martin Sixsmith that couldn’t have occurred because Sr Hildegard McNulty was dead. Again Catholic Commentary doesn’t acknowledge or reply to the point being made by Protect the Pope but accuses me of being unreliable, without any evidence to back up this criticism, just a rather odd ramble, ‘One is less forgiving of those posts where, essentially, Protect the Pope has just got it plain wrong. I think of his post on Philomena, upon which you will recognise my own comment. This was something I was familiar with because I had seen the film (my own post on it is here) and could comment on it – but I just wonder how many other posts at Protect the Pope, about which I do not know the background, are just as unreliable as this one was. And yet, it was all stated with such confidence (and considerable levels of what I remember being termed “glosses” – aside marginal additional comments – when many years ago I studied Nestle-Aland’s critical apparatus to the New Testament Greek text).’

        The author of Catholic Commentary has every right to criticise me, but his criticisms when examined boil down to ‘I don’t like Protect the Pope’. And that’s OK. I leave it to my readership to judge the reliability of my coverage and comments. Deacon Nick.

        • Quite understand, though to be fair to said gentleman he says on his blog that he has not tried to maintain anonymity and his identity is there for anybody who wants to check through his posts.

          It does seem deliciously ironic, however, that he should make so many factual errors in the same blog post in which he levels the charge of “unreliability”!

          As you say, it simply amounts to not liking PtP, which is his prerogative, and is all a bit of a storm in a tea-cup.

        • Wake Up England

          Many people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, hate Protect the Pope because it speaks the truth and upholds the Catholic Faith without distortion or dilution or “nuance”.

          The Reverend Deacon Donnelly is a faithful son of the Church and should be applauded and supported by all Catholics.

          It is tragically sad that he is so unusual amongst the clergy for publicly upholding and defending the teachings of the Church (which are readily accessible to all in the Catechism).

          He puts most bishops to shame.

          God bless, reward and protect you Deacon Nick for your faithful witness to Our Saviour and His Holy Church. Would that there were more like you.

        • Lynda

          I wish to add my appreciation of your objectively crucial work for all, especially Catholics suffering in defence of the truth. I second every word by Wake Up England, below.

        • Augustine

          My namesake Deacon Augustine comments: “Thank you God, that you have made me so thoughtful and not like this other man!” Could also be a bit of the green-eyed monster involved due to the success of your blog.”.

          Bull’s eye! I couldn’t have put it better myself.

          Catholic Commentary then adds: “many years ago I studied Nestle-Aland’s critical apparatus to the New Testament Greek text)” as if to say: “I know lots and lots of stuff you plebs do not know”.

          Presumably Catholic Commentary wants us to know that once he studied theology.

          I am now waiting for him to launch an attack on Fr Tim for having the impertinence to remind us of Peter Tatchell’s anti-Catholic credentials.

          But I won’t be holding my breath. ;-)

          Thank you Deacon Nick for your courage and your integrity.

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            Thank you Augustine for you really helpful contributions to the discussions on Protect the Pope. Deacon Nick

  • Lynda

    It is the doctrine of the Church that one is obliged to follow the Natural moral law, which, involves the prohibition of contraception (interference with the life-giving nature and meaning of the marital act).

  • Augustine

    “Catholic TEACHING on contraception ……is not DOCTRINE.”

    Not sure if there is any difference.

    Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions. “Doctrina” (Latin) means teaching, instruction, knowledge or learning.

    Perhaps you mean dogma?

  • When you listen to Archbishop Nichols you are left wondering if he ever read `Humanae Vitae`. He looks the media in the face and talks about married couples and birth control while behind him there are thousands of young people who have gone through divorces and remarriage, there are thousands of young women who are single parents, there are thousands of young girls being sexually used and abused in the name of sexual liberation. Yes, Archbishop Nichols faces the media but he never once has looked over his shoulder and seen the suffering of young people, and the parents who have to pick up the pieces when affairs and periods of living together break up. Perhaps he was too transfixed on ideas to see the suffering that was there and perhaps too busy to listen to those who tried constantly to bring his attention in the right direction. So what is this all about. The Pope I beleive has done something the Archbishop refused to do, he wants to looked at the young people and the breakdown of marriage and famkily life which the Church in the past fort years has neglected. He wants to find pastoral solutions to the problem, make priests and responsible adults look at the mess they have made. The sound bit that it is not their fault, it is just that society has gone that way is not good enough. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, we are the Church that converted pagan Rome and other pagan societies because the grace of God was there for us to use. But then in the Catholic Church in England we do not speak of Grace any more.

  • Mike2

    Like you, Deacon Nick, I looked to see if I could find out who the author of Catholic Commentary is but I could find no indication.

    It is clearly the case that whoever the author is s/he is unable to back up any of his/her criticisms with any evidence. The best that s/he can come up with is ‘feelings’ as in “I felt I could never quite trust it enough not to want to check out what it said from other sources before relying on it…”

    S/he also accuses you of pontificating but what s/he thinks that s/he is doing on his/her own blog I would like to know. It is looks rather like ‘pontificating’ to me.

    It would be interesting to know why this person has gone to the trouble of posting a whole article devoted to criticising Protect the Pope. Does s/he bear some sort of grudge, for some reason?

    Interestingly, one of the links on his/her blog is to the Diocese of Lancaster.

    Anyway, as the author of CC can’t come up with any argument of substance against PTP I wouldn’t be too bothered about him/her. Just carry on doing the good work you are doing. There are plenty of us who appreciate the good work you are doing. If one person isn’t too enamoured, so be it. That’s his/her problem.

  • jacobi

    Gloria Dei,

    I submit that it is Catholic Doctrine.

    What is important about an Encyclical is its intent, and to whom it is addressed.

    Humanae Vitae stated three important things, that all sexual acts must be open to procreation, that any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, which is intended to prevent procreation is wrong, and therefore grievously sinful, and that the choice of deciding the number of children, by natural means, that is abstinence, is valid.

    It was judgement, by a Pope, with clear intent, confirming and defining established teaching of the Magisterium, and addressed to the whole Church. End of story.

  • Mark Thorne

    I agree with those commentators who say that the Archbishop’s comments here are somewhat unnerving. He says on the BBC Breakfast programme, “On the one hand we must work to follow Christ, but on the other hand…” What other hand is there, precisely? There’s no “handiness” involved here other than following the Way that has been designated by Jesus Christ. What does Archbishop Vincent have in mind? His remarks are not terribly enlightening.

  • Joseph Golightly

    I am baffled by the comments of bishops. The statistics reveal

    * a fairly small number of Catholics who have a wedding in church
    * most couples do use artificial contraception
    * ageing congregations and falling numbers
    * poor catechesis in secondary schools and indeed parishes
    * a perceived lack of pastoral care for those who find living the “rules” difficult

    I could go on

  • Teresa

    “poor catechesis in secondary schools and indeed parishes”.
    Many ( most?) Catholics in this country have not received sufficient catechesis to understand fully the questions on the questionnaire.

  • On the contrary – the Church’s doctrine on the sinfulness of contraception has been consistent from New Testament times as it is first clearly stated in the Didache. (Even the Protestant “reformers” Luther, Calvin and Zwingli were unanimous in their condemnation of contraception and it only became permissible among Protestants from 1930 onwards.)

    As such it forms part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church and so is infallible. It is notable that the only English bishop who has a doctorate in theology – Bishop Egan – has also taught that the teaching of Humanae Vitae is infallible.

    I think you are confused about what the Church’s doctrine consists of. It is not only the dogmas of the Faith which form part of Church doctrine, but it is also the teaching on morals. It is a matter of Catholic Faith that the Church is indefectible in its teaching on both faith and morals. To believe otherwise is to cease to hold the Catholic Faith.

  • Wake Up England

    Gloria Deo:

    You are completely mistaken.

    Of course Catholic teaching on contraception is doctrine. It’s highly misguided to suggest otherwise.

    Where did you get the idea it was not doctrine?

  • BJC

    Gloria Deo

    “Catholic TEACHING on contraception and some other neuralgic issues is not DOCTRINE”

    (1) Can we please have the quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to back this up.

    (2) Can you please show us an unbroken line of quotes from scripture and tradition, going back 2000 years, demonstrating your heretical beliefs on contraception are true.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,
    Reading all this after two weeks away in the very stormy waters of the Baltic….I love the comment from ++ Vincent Nichols about the “ambitions of modern living”.
    He has one ambition surely? It is a scarlet thingy with 30 tassels on it.

  • MBM

    The Synod claims to be about ‘family life’! If I ask a man on the street what he thinks ‘family life’ discussion should be about he would probably say ‘money’ ‘forgiveness’ ‘responsibilities’ ‘communication’ ”with st paul “love is kind … does not hold grudges”‘ ‘faith discussions and practice’ etc.
    I doubt that the topic of sex, contraception, etc would be mentioned at all. Try it!
    The stated purpose of this survey is not what the content is.
    The survey is about sex – it would be ‘wonderful’ if the bishops would admit this. Transparency and truthfullness are good.

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