THE SERVANT GENERAL
DISCUSSION OF ISSUES
March 26, 2015
Those who want to undermine authentic Catholic teaching often
work in the shadows and not in the light. This is one reason
why many lay Catholics no longer know the authentic faith.
The situation in our Catholic Church today, with regard to
human sexuality and attendant issues to be taken up at the
Synod, necessitates open discussion among as many Catholics
as possible. Let everything be out in the light and not manipulated
in the shadows.
And of course, statements of support for traditional Church
teaching and pastoral practice are always welcome. How can
such support be make known to the ordinary Catholic unless
it is made public?
Nichols’ criticism of faithful priests is deeply disturbing
March 25, 2015 (SPUC) - I am deeply disturbed by Cardinal
Nichols' criticism of the 461 brave priests who signed a letter
upholding the unchangeable teachings of the Catholic Church
on marriage and Holy Communion.
In the letter, which was published in the Catholic Herald
yesterday, priests from all over England and Wales pledged
to remain faithful to Catholic teaching and to offer true
pastoral care to all those who find themselves in difficult
A statement made by Cardinal Nichols spokesman said:
“Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to
reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that
this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels
of communication have been established.”
“The pastoral experience and concern of all priests
in these matters are of great importance and are welcomed
by the Bishops. Pope Francis has asked for a period of spiritual
discernment. This dialogue, between a priest and his bishop,
is not best conducted through the press.”
I find this statement astonishing for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Cardinal Nichols has himself used the press to indicate
sympathy for views being promoted by the "radical elements"
(to use Cardinal Pell's phrase) who want to dismantle Catholic
teaching on marriage and the family.
I drew attention yesterday to the press conference at which
Cardinal Nichols' undermined Catholic teaching on the reception
of Holy Communion by the divorced and "remarried".
The Cardinal also used the press to express his disappointment
that the final report of the synod did not include controversial
phrases originally placed in the notorious interim report.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme:
“I didn’t think it went far enough, there were
three key words as far as I was concerned … ‘respect’,
‘welcome’ and ‘value’. I was looking
for those words and they weren’t there and so I didn’t
think that was a good paragraph.”
“I didn’t think it was a good text because it
didn’t include those words strongly enough so I wasn’t
satisfied with it.”
Secondly, it is hardly surprising that priests faithful to
Catholic teaching would lack confidence in the "channels
of communication" that are claimed to "have been
established." I also mentioned yesterday
that the official document produced by Bishops' Conference
of England and Wales for clergy seemed nothing other than
an instrument for intimidating priests who wish to remain
faithful to the Church's traditional doctrine and discipline.
Is it any surprise that these brave priests would wish to
speak directly to the Catholic faithful rather than trust
"channels of communication" established by the same
people responsible for this truly disgraceful document?
Indeed, in their press statement an anonymous priest was quoted
who alleged that priests involved in the project had been
intimidated by "senior churchmen."
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, how can any Catholic
bishop object to priests using the media to express their
loyalty to the teaching of Christ and their desire to give
true pastoral care to all who need it?
Catholics should be very disturbed by the Cardinal's comments;
very disturbed indeed.