Priests warn Vatican over move to censor one of their own

An 800-strong group of Irish priests has said it is disturbed over the Vatican’s silencing of one of its members for his liberal views.

The Association of Catholic Priests has warned that forcing Father Tony Flannery to stop writing for a Redemptorist magazine will fuel belief of a disconnect between Irish Catholics and Rome.

“We believe that such an approach, in its individual focus on Fr Flannery and inevitably by implication on the members of the association, is an extremely ill-advised intervention in the present pastoral context in Ireland,” the group said.

“We wish to make clear our profound view that this intervention is unfair, unwarranted and unwise.”

Fr Flannery, a founder of the association, has had his monthly column with the religious publication Reality pulled on orders from Rome.

A second priest, Father Gerard Moloney, the magazine’s editor, has been ordered to stop writing on certain issues.

Both priests hold liberal views on contraception, celibacy and women priests.

At least a dozen priests had already publicly declared support for Fr Flannery and Fr Moloney in messages on the association’s website.

In a strongly-worded statement, the group said Fr Flannery’s writings should not be seen as an attack on or rejection of the fundamental teachings of the church but a reflection on issues surfacing in parishes nationwide.

It said they also reject their portrayal in some circles as a “small coterie of radical priests with a radical agenda”.

“Accordingly, we wish to register our extreme unease and disquiet at the present development, not least the secrecy surrounding such interventions and the questions about due process and freedom of conscience that such interventions surface,” the group said.

“At this critical juncture in our history, the ACP believes that this form of intervention – what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin recently called ‘heresy-hunting’ – is of no service to the Irish Catholic Church and may have the unintended effect of exacerbating a growing perception of a significant ‘disconnect’ between the Irish Church and Rome.”

Fr Flannery, who has written on religious matters in the Redemptorist magazine for 14 years, is under investigation by the Vatican over his views.

As well as expressing opposition to the church’s ban on contraception and women priests, Fr Flannery publicly backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s unprecedented attack on the Catholic hierarchy in the aftermath of the Cloyne Report last year.

In a Holy Thursday homily at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Pope Benedict warned that the church will not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.

Complete Article HERE!

Churches miss Jesus’ messages


Today is Easter Sunday, which makes it a good time to talk about Jesus.

You know, the real Jesus — the guy who preached humility and sacrifice. The prophet who urged his followers to relinquish power and embrace the poor. The man who, even when persecuted by ignorant enemies, offered nothing but forgiveness and love.

Twelve years of Catholic school does not a theologian make, but I’m guessing that if Jesus returned to Earth in 2012, He’d be hard-pressed to recognize the strident messages from some church leaders and activists who purport to speak in His name.

Last November, Archbishop Charles Chaput lectured at Assumption College about a sexual minority seeking to dominate life in America, according to Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. When Whelan asked the archbishop during the question-and-answer segment if the bishops planned to address poverty at their annual meeting, the archbishop replied that there wasn’t enough time, Whelan said.

But the bishops have time for other issues. From the pulpit, they continue to rail against the evils of contraception, even if they no longer speak for the overwhelming majority of Catholic women. One of their priorities for 2012 was overturning mandatory birth control coverage in health plans. They lobby against same-sex marriage while remaining largely silent about established teachings of the church, such as opposition to the death penalty and protection of the poor.

Meanwhile, incredibly, a number of Christian right organizations devote their efforts toward defeating anti-bullying measures intended to protect kids. In Arizona, which grows odder by the day, a group associated with Focus on the Family pressured lawmakers into rejecting an anti-bullying bill because the bill was really an effort to “force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles.” In Washington, Concerned Women of America claimed that a Student Non-Discrimination Act aims to promote “acceptance” of homosexual behavior. In Michigan, a Christian right lobby tried to exempt bullies who acted out of a “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

Again, I’m no theologian, but I’m thinking that Jesus would certainly not believe it’s OK for a bully to shove a gay kid against a locker, based on Catholic teachings. I’ll bet Jesus would be sickened by the number of young people who take their own lives after being bullied. I highly doubt that Jesus would endorse cruelty against anyone, gay or straight, by equating it with religious freedom.

The cover of the current issue of Newsweek offers this advice: “Forget the Church: Follow Jesus.” Inside, writer Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic, argues that contemporary Christianity is in “crisis” and has crossed the line between church and state. He claims that the Church lost much authority over its flock when it prohibited the pill in 1968, and lost whatever moral authority remained after the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Rather than address those issues, the bishops “obsess about others’ sex lives, about who is entitled to civil marriage, and about who pays for birth control in health insurance,” Sullivan writes. “Inequality, poverty, even the torture institutionalized by the government after 9/11: These issues attract far less of their public attention.”

He also writes this: “I have no concrete idea how Christianity will wrestle free of its current crisis, of its distractions and temptations … But I do know it won’t happen by even more furious denunciations of others, by focusing on politics rather than prayer, by concerning ourselves with the sex lives and heretical thoughts of others rather than with the constant struggle to liberate ourselves from what keeps us from God.”

The message isn’t new, but it’s more timely than ever.

Complete Article HERE!

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson: 12 Elements Of Reform Needed To Deal With The Culture Of Abuse

Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson’s talk on the twelve areas with in Roman Catholicism which need reform, or as he might say, attending to. It’s a very comprehensive list. The following is a list of the Robinson’s 12 points and Brian’s short description. The video (below) is just over 26 minutes and well worth watching.

  1. The Angry God: This image the institution projects of a God of Wrath and Anger needs to be challenged. It is wrong, and bad theology. It’s also really bad psychology.
  2. The Male Church: Women have been marginalized and treated as second class by the institution for far too long.
  3. The Culture of Celibacy: Not so much celibacy per se but mandatory celibacy has to take a major part of the blame as a contributing cause of this crisis.
  4. Moral Immaturity: The seminary system and training of priests and religious has not encouraged moral and spiritual maturity. That needs to be changed.
  5. Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy: Bishop Robinson argues there has been far too much emphasis on Orthodoxy (right belief) and far too little on Orthopraxy (right action).
  6. Sexual Teaching: He argues there needs to be “a profound change in all of sexual morality” within the institution.
  7. The Mystique of Priesthood: Priests have been placed on a pedestal of perfection for far too long. It’s dangerous to them and it’s dangerous to the people they are meant to be serving. Priests are not God — they struggle with all the challenges that any human beings struggle with in their lives. Often because of the positions on these pedestals they have been placed on they find it difficult to find support in their lives. The laity also have a huge part to play in keeping priests on those pedestals.
  8. Professionalism: There has been a rise in professional standards across almost all professions — ethical codes, structures that protect and foster professional integrity but the priesthood has largely been excluded. He argues much more needs to be done to lift professional standards of those in ministry with the Church.
  9. A Pope who can’t make mistakes: He argues that the way the pontiff has been placed on a pedestal and immune from criticism has been especially damaging to the institution. Creeping infallibility is a huge problem not only for some at the top who would seem to believe they have divine perfection already but also for many at the lowest rungs of the Church. This culture needs to be changed.
  10. The Loyalty of Bishops to the Pope: Their oath of allegiance is to the Pope — not to God, or the Church. He argues significant blame has to be placed at the feet of the late John Paul II for his inadequate responses to the growing sexual abuse crisis.
  11. A Culture of Secrecy: Bishop Robinson argues that the culture of secrecy in the Church has been a major cause of the problems. Bishops need to present themselves in the best light all the time and the culture of secrecy runs with that. It has been deeply damaging to the institution and needs to be changed.
  12. The Sensus Fidelium: He argues the institutional leadership need to be listening far more to the thinking of the broad body of the faithful not just to the small sectors that crave authority figures and founts of certitude.

Occupy SF: 75 Arrested in Catholic Church Occupation

The San Francisco Archdiocese made it very clear they are there to serve God, not the 99 percent. The religious leaders yesterday afternoon ordered police to start rounding up occupiers and arresting them a day after protesters descended on the church’s vacant building on Turk Street, pledging to turn the site into a permanent space for the homeless.

Initially, SF Catholics had instructed police to hold off on messing with occupiers, which gave protesters plenty of time to start prepping for a fight; when police did raid the building, they found the gates had been heavily barricaded along with piles of bricks, chairs, and buckets of paint on the rooftop. “There was concern that these items were going to be used as weapons against police officers,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

When police entered the building, occupiers retreated into rooms, many that had also been barricaded from the inside. Others locked themselves on the second floor, and one person jumped from the roof and was arrested by police upon his landing.

On Sunday, Occupiers had stormed the building, which the church said was still being used as a music facility for the nearby Sacred Heart Cathedral High School. Occupiers began making themselves at home, handing out flyers, announcing the “grand opening” of the building as the “San Francisco Commune” while activists organized the space for homeless folks in need of shelter.

When police raided the site on Monday afternoon, they did find mattresses, bedrolls, a makeshift medical room, and a kitchen — all signs that occupiers had long-term plans for the two-story building. But there were also signs of miscreants in the group. Police found disturbing graffiti inside the building, including anarchy symbols, the phrases, “Burn it down,” “New Social Order,” and “Kill Cops.” Officers also found white supremacy literature inside one of the rooms, Adraychak said.

By 6 p.m., police had mostly cleared the area, and some 75 protesters were arrested on suspicion of trespassing. Today the Archdiocese is out there assessing just how much money this 24-hour occupation will cost them — and church goers.

But let’s not jump to any conclusions about Catholics. In fact, there is an “Occupy Catholics” movement forming out there, which is working to seek justice for the 99 percent — in God’s eyes, of course.

Complete Article HERE!

Tyrone parents shocked as priest accidentally airs gay porn during presentation

Parents at a Tyrone parish had the shock of their lives when gay pornography flashed on screen during a presentation from the parish’s own Fr Martin McVeigh. Fr McVeigh was giving a presentation to the parents of First Communicants from the parish.

The Herald reports on the shocking story that comes out of St Mary’s School in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone. Fr. McVeigh was reportedly setting up a PowerPoint presentation for the parents of the parish when the pornography flashed on screen, at which point Fr. McVeigh promptly ended the presentation.

The images allegedly came on screen after Fr. McVeigh inserted a USB drive into the computer.

Included in Fr. McVeigh’s audience were 26 parish parents, and one eight-year-old child, reports

“I don’t know how it happened but I know what happened,” said Fr. McVeigh. “There are people making innuendoes who weren’t even there but in this day and age these stories grow.”

“There were plenty of shocked faces. There’s a lot of parents very angry about it,” said one parent.

St. Mary’s School principal Sean Devlin reportedly contacted the Armagh diocese in the wake of the incident, which is under investigation by the diocesan child protection office.

A statement from Cardinal Sean Brady said, “The archdiocese immediately sought the advice of the PSNI who indicated that on the basis of the evidence available no crime had been committed.”

A spokeswoman for the Council of Catholic Maintained Schools said that they were aware that the principal of the school “immediately referred this matter to the diocesan authorities in accordance with the diocesan safeguarding procedures.”

The Archdiocese of Armagh has refused to say whether or not Fr. McVeigh has been suspended from duties or has had restrictions imposed on his position throughout the time of the investigation.

The Herald reports that an emergency meeting was conducted at the parish last night.

Complete Article HERE!