Bishop Colin Davies’ accusation that critics of A Call to Action are being unfair doesn’t square with the facts

Bishop Colin Davies, the Emeritus Bishop of Ngong, Kenya, has written a letter to The Catholic Herald, accusing critics of A Call to Action of being unfair because, according to him, ACTA only wants to encourage ‘dialogue’. However, Bishop Davies’ repetition of ACTA’s PR spin since their Hinsley Hall meeting in 2012 doesn’t square with the facts.

Here is the version of Bishop Colin Davies’ letter posted on ACTA’s website:

“At a time when Pope Francis and our Bishops are accepting that there is a great need for change in the Church, necessitating a Synod with the full participation of everybody and especially the laity, there are opinions expressed by some which are extremely negative and impute many wrong and subversive ideas.

The Church and Pope Francis have called for a radical change in attitude to diversity. He wants to be inclusive, of all people of good will.

[Protect the Pope comment: What does Bishop Davies mean when he describes Pope Francis as wanting a 'radical change in attitude to diversity? If Bishop Davies is suggesting that Pope Francis has a relativistic attitude to truth he couldn't be more wrong. In a number of recent addresses Pope Francis has insisted on the importance of faithfulness to the doctrines of the Church, dashing the hopes of dissenters that they will succeed in changing fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith. In his address to the CDF Pope Francis said, 'Great, in fact, is the temptation to appropriate to ourselves the gifts of salvation that come from God, to domesticate them – perhaps even with a good intention – to the views and the spirit of the world. ' He also spoke of the importance of safeguarding 'the right of all the People of God to receive the deposit of the faith in its purity and its totality.' ]

Are ACTA to be excluded?

Pope Francis can be quoted as saying “All the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief and the people display this infallibility through the supernatural sense of faith of all people walking together. This is what is understood today as “Thinking with the Church”.

“Thinking with the Church” does not mean “Thinking with the male, clerical, and hierarchical Church”.

On another occasion he has said “The hierarchy without the rest of the Church are not infallible.”

The laity must have a forum to “Think with the Church”.

[Protect the Pope comment: Pope Francis is clear that 'Thinking with the Church' means every baptised member of the Church being obedient to the truths expressed in the doctrines of the Faith. The Holy Father observed that faithfulness is “connected with obedience.” “Faithfulness to the Church: faithfulness to its teachings; faithfulness to the Creed; faithfulness to the doctrine, to guard this doctrine. Humility and faithfulness. Even Paul VI reminded us that we receive the message of the Gospel as a gift and we should transmit it as a gift, but not as something of our own: it is a received gift that we give. And be faithful in this transmission. Because we have received and we have to gift a Gospel that is not ours, that is Jesus, and we must not - he would say - become masters of the Gospel, masters of the doctrine we have received, to use it as we please."]

The discussions of ACTA, are based on the teaching of the Church and are vindicated by Church Law C. 225, which states, “Since lay people, like all Christ’s faithful are deputed to apostolate by baptism and confirmation, they are bound….and have the right, whether as individuals or associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world…etc.” Their right comes from Baptism and Confirmation not the clergy. Obviously, mutual love, cooperation and respect are required.

[Protect the Pope comment: Bishop Davies ignores the fact that Canon Law gives the faithful obligations as well as rights. Bishop Davies doesn't like the word 'obligation' because he cuts it out of quotation of Canon 225. The full version states,'§1. Since, like all the Christian faithful, lay persons are designated by God for the apostolate through baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and possess the right as individuals, or joined in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation is made known and accepted by all persons everywhere in the world. This obligation is even more compelling in those circumstances in which only through them can people hear the gospel and know Christ.' Could it be that Bishop Davies doesn't like some of the obligations set out in canon law?  For example Canon 750, 'Canon 750
1. Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn Magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal Magisterium, which in fact is manifested by the common adherence of Christ's faithful under the guidance of the sacred Magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any contrary doctrines.
2. Furthermore, each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the deposit of faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church.']

If the Bishops of England do not encourage a group that allows the laity to give voice to their experience of the Faith in the world and in their own lives, then priests are inclined to disregard it.

Could it be that some are judging ACTA, and are voicing loudly, ideas which are not those of ACTA? This is unfair.

[Protect the Pope comment: The following posts on Protect the Pope expose the dissent of A Call to Action based on ACTA's documents and the biographies of leading members of ACTA:

Tablet tries to engineer Austrian-style dissent movement out of seven English priests' protest

A Call to Action's first meeting addressed by Sr Myra Poole, notorious advocate of women's ordination

The serial dissenters behind A Call to Action campaign for women priests and active gay life-styles

The true nature of A Call to Action's dissent exposed at 2012 Heythrop meeting, part 1

The true nature of A Call to Action's dissent exposed at 2012 Heythrop meeting, part II

Lancaster & Liverpool A Call to Action group considers requesting the ordination of women]

A serious effort should be made to listen to the voice of the laity.Let all listen with love and appreciation. Bishops and clergy will be surprised at the positive and faith-filled love for the Church which is motivating them.

[Protect the Pope comment: Bishop Davies description of ACTA as expressing a 'positive and faith-filled love for the Church' just doesn't hold up when the minutes of the Heythrop meeting are examined, which hold out the threat of establishing parallel structures in the Church if the demands of the 'laity' aren't followed, and also threatens to withhold donations to the Church and boycotting Peter's Pence.]

When the Church has lost millions of church goers, we should find out why and the laity knows many reasons why. A point, which was brought up repeatedly in meetings of ACTA I attended, was that there is not enough meaningful dialogue.”

13 comments to Bishop Colin Davies’ accusation that critics of A Call to Action are being unfair doesn’t square with the facts

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    We know after several run-ins with ACTA folk who can swerve better than the skiers at the Winter Olympics…that whatever they are …they are not “Ronseal” Catholics…..because they certainly DON’T do what it says on the tin.

  • Augustine

    Many members of ACTA signed up on the “What If We Just Said Wait?” website which petitioned the English speaking Bishops to postpone the introduction of the correctly translated Missal in 2010.

    I propose that the Bishops should adopt this policy – but for the other requests of ACTA.

    I think about ten years would be a reasonable amount of time. :-)

  • Anne Foley

    It would be good if we followed the advice of Bishop Colin:
    “Let all listen with love and appreciation.”

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Anne, I can’t love or appreciate anyone who knowingly distorts or rejects the truth safeguarded by Church doctrine if by ‘love and appreciate’ you mean accepting such distortion or rejection as valid or good or appropriate. To do so would be the opposite of being loving or appreciating others. Deacon Nick.

    • Mersey Mercy

      Or the Bishop (and the whole of ACTA) roughly tranlstaed into 1973 ICEL, easy speak English:

      “when I want your opinion, I’ll give it you!”

    • BJC


      It would be good if people like you were transparent about what you want rather than being underhand and deceitful. ACTA put a high premium on other people being “transparent” but when it comes to themselves it seems anything goes and they can hide, obfuscate and generally give people the run around as much as they want. Assuming you are the same Anne Foley who is the ACTA representative for Lancaster I invite you to be true to ACTA’s word that they are “transparent” and tell us whether these are your real objectives. I’ve asked one person after another from your organisation and none of them have answered – it would seem I’ve hit the nail on the head.

      1. Rejection of Humanae Vitae – acceptance of contraception
      2. Church’s teaching on conscience to be replaced by a more individualistic and corrupted version of the ‘sensus fidelium’ as regularly and incorrectly defined in the Tablet
      3. Women priests
      4. LGBTs to be able to have full sexual relationships and the Church neither to criticise this or call it sinful
      5. The Magisterium of the Church to be replaced by a Magisterium of the People; morals and teachings of the Church to be decided in a more ‘democratic’ way

    • Lynda

      It makes no sense to dismiss a specific criticism with vague and erroneous notions of love and appreciation. There is no love without truth. We must love the good and hate the evil. Evil is inimical to every person’s soul.

  • Kinga Gray - Grzeczynska LLB

    We come back to the subject matter which cannot be changed by anyone.
    If the Magisterium has ruled on a matter then it cannot be changed.
    Jesus’ teachings cannot be changed.

    No matter what is going on in the world ie. condom issues, a call to accept same sex marriages, women priests etc, the teachings of Holy Mother Church cannot be changed.
    Petitions and discussions can take place ‘until the cows come home’ and beyond if you wish, but what the Lord has taught – He has taught and it cannot be changed.

    The Tablet is disappointing and not for the first time.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Margaret Allain

    See Pastor Iuventus’ reply to the criticism of him and his protection of the Church and her teaching in the Catholic Herald this week.

  • Michael B Rooke

    A comment on dissent and its solution was made by Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical MIRAE CARITATIS on the Blessed Sacrament given 28th May 1902. The point is made that through the Blessed Sacrament we are turned into Christ and not Christ is turned into us.

    6….For what can be more honourable or a more worthy object of desire than to be made, as far as possible, sharers and partakers in the divine nature? Now this is precisely what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, wherein, after having raised man by the operation of His grace to a supernatural state, he yet more closely associates and unites him with Himself. For there is this difference between the food of the body and that of the soul, that whereas the former is changed into our substance, the latter changes us into its own;

    so that St. Augustine makes Christ Himself say: “You shall not change Me into yourself as you do the food of your body, but you shall be changed into Me” (confessions 1. vii., c. x.).

  • Lynda

    Why is it bishops and priests who reject the truth of the whole deposit of Faith, and objective morality, tend to shed the signs and symbols of not only their holy orders, which make them servants of the Faithful, but of the Faith itself? And they tend to shed their proper title which points to their duty. Not to mention the penchant for being referred to by their first name only. It underlines the importance of signs and symbols.

    • Mersey Mercy

      Linda – you are absolutely correct. What is interesting though is that they still prefer (and use!) their titles: Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop or Msgr before their Christian name: as in Bishop Colin, Cardinal Vin, Cardinal Cormac, Bishop Kieran etc.

  • John

    I’ve noticed that the dissidents are continually calling for ‘dialogue’ but they (e.g. Ann above or Iggy O’Donovan) pop into these comments forums, accuse their critics of lacking love and then pop out again with really replying to the concerns of those of use who regard ourselves as faithful Catholics. It is sad too that Bishops (mostly retired I notice which doesn’t say much for their courage) adopt these dissenting positions and so cause great confusion in the Church.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>