Fr. Dan now publicly publishes letter saying he will NOT sue me because he’s poor- but continues to slander my name!

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Well by the end of yesterday I was starting to feel a little bit of sympathy for Fr. Dan who has had to face the music. Then this morning he posts this *remarkable* letter on Twitter. He is still accusing me of abusive/insulting language towards him, yet still fails to produce any evidence of this AT ALL.

Thankfully he has admitted he was wrong in calling the Holy Spirit a female – he was simply re-tweeting Fr James Martin (who must also be wrong then?) And that the post in favour of gay marriage was ‘not his own views’ but simply put their to encourage discussion! Does this mean that you actually think the Marriage can only exist between 1 woman and 1 man Fr Dan? Would you like to actually come out and affirm that for us all? Go on – I dare you.

Well, I’m glad to see him apologise for his Holy Spirit comments …

dan

Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight shall we? The Holy Spirit is not a boy. It is not a girl. It is a spirit. But let’s also remember that as human beings we have limited ways of expressing our understanding and knowledge of God. Our language is not perfect. And even with our male and female nouns and pronouns we still often struggle to correctly describe certain theological things.

However…

Our limited non-perfect attempts at expression do not give us the right to skew the truth to what we would prefer it to look like. A misplaced word or phrase has massive connotations for certain situations – especially theological ones, and can completely change the meaning of a certain word and the proper teaching behind it. In short – it is not difficult to lead people down the wrong path.

For those in a position of power or trust, this is an incredibly important issue. It is so important for the Pope that he has his own personal moral theologian who oversees every written speech, homily and even his Tweets.

Speaking of Tweets…

Father james martin

Hmmm. For those of you who don’t know Fr. James Martin, he is an extremely well known Jesuit in America who has written plenty of books and has a very large social media following. His views are vague and liberal. He is not particularly concerned with upholding the truths of the catholic faith but instead is interested in discussing issues like gay marriage, women’s ordination ect… He leaves the content of his posts ‘open’ but does not step in to correct the ordinary person in the pew when they reply to his Facebook posts with comments like:

“Thank you, Fr. Jim for your post. My wife and I are remarried divorced Catholics who anxiously await some change in the Church’s position on people like us. More importantly, though, we have a number of gay and lesbian friends including two married male couples each of whose love for each other could serve as an example to many couples, both heterosexual and homosexual! I pray that the day will come when all of us can be completely reunited within the Church we love and were raised in! God bless you.”

“It was such an honor to obtain a secular appointment to officiate at legal marriages. I have only presided over one: the civil marriage of two wonderful gay friends who have been in a committed relationship for more than 30 years. I know the church would not approve of my doing this, but my conscience and the Holy Spirit said that their union must be legal and blessed.”

Well, I guess if the Holy Spirit told you it was ok to go against church teachings then ‘she’ is right! (Goodness gracious me…)

But every so often priests like this get a little too big for their liberal boots and end up making a big boo-boo. By calling the Holy Spirit ‘her’ based on the ancient Hebrew term ‘ruach’ is one of these big boo-boo’s. Now I am not an ancient Hebrew expert myself – but I have a few friends who are, and I showed them this tweet (hiding Fr. James’ identity) and asked them to give me their honest opinion:

“Hilarious. Just another modern sort suffering from theological confusion. Who said that? According to Strong’s concordance it is a feminine noun. However, in Gen 1:2 it is used with a masculine noun (elohim). It is a fascinating usage. Ruach (feminine) Elohim (masculine plural). Literally translated as Spirit of Gods. The Rabbis are still working that one out.

The Holy Spirit is pure spirit and does not have gender. Gender is of the material creaturely realm. Angels and God do not have gender (though the Son does because he has a body!!). Digressing slightly, the Son is often referred to as the Wisdom of God, but the book of Wisdom refers to wisdom in the feminine! The word ‘Spirit’ as ruach feminine noun, but it does not mean it applies exclusively to women, as per English language. Hebrew is ancient and thus has different rules to English, so he cannot apply the same rules.

The New Testament word is ‘pneuma’ which is a neutral noun. The only phrase I can find where Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit using gender is John 15:26, ‘The advocate…he will…’ Either way, the Holy Spirit is ‘Elohim’ which is specifically masculine, and God is always referred to in the masculine, thus we should always speak of God like that.”

So it seems Fr James either needs to brush up on his ancient biblical nouns, or he knows quite well that what he was saying was a load of old nonsense. But either way – he knew very well to begin with that the church does not refer to the Holy Spirit as a female.

A comment like this has consequences theologically. I mean – what does it mean for Our Lady? Would it make her part of some sort of life giving same-sex union with a female holy spirit? Does that mean that Jesus had 2 mums? What would this sort of idea mean to someone who was not so well educated in theological terms and was dealing with same-sex attraction themselves? Would they feel that because a priest was saying this it was giving them the affirmation they were seeking that a same-sex union, even a same-sex family was ok? It might. I certainly can’t find anything Fr James has ever written saying that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman (correct me if I’m wrong here).

He is leading the people of God down the wrong path.

He is also leading younger priests down the wrong path.

dan fitz

Hmmm. Again I went to a friend who has studied both theology and ancient Hebrew and asked them (without revealing Fr Dan’s identity) to give an opinion on this statement:

“First premise is wrong. The Holy Trinity NEVER acts alone – and to say the main way we relate to God is through the Spirit is to misunderstand the Spirit’s role is to lead us to the Father, by leading us to Jesus, who is the perfect image of the Father. Seems also to downplay the objectivity of the Holy Eucharist which is a tangible participation in the real Body and Blood of Christ – hardly and insignificant relation to God, rather a particularly intimate one.

Second point is that the gender of verbs really does not get you very far – the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son – being the love between them, being the glory of Jesus – therefore to posit a kind of competing feminine identity for the creative/salvific mission of God is – heresy. We in fact are the feminine – we are the receptive ones to the Spirit. This is a very dangerous and confused idea – and comes from someone with only a superficial understanding of both language and theology.”

Oh dear. So here you have a young guy – not even been a priest for 2 years, and he is being led astray by the nonsense of a much older and more experienced priest – whom I’m sure he trusts. However, Fr Dan also knows full well that the church has never referred to the Holy Spirit as a female. It kills me to see priests go astray like this – especially young priests. I pray and fast too much for priests to let them throw themselves into Satan’s arms like this. If they don’t like or agree with what the Catholic church teaches them why stay in the Catholic Church? There are plenty of Protestant churches where you can believe whatever the hell you like – go and join one of them. The Catholic church requires solid faithful priests with strong backbones, not lily-livered flannels who’s limp theology destroys the church from within. What’s going on with these guys?

Do they think that by throwing a bit of ancient Hebrew around they are sounding clever? Do they think they have suddenly found a new and incredibly ‘inclusive and diverse’ theology that the church must have inadvertently missed for the last 2000 years? Trying to make the faith ‘acceptable’ to today’s politically correct culture of death? Are they trying to look cool and clever?! Or are they just trying to forward their own warped theological ideas of what they would prefer the Catholic faith to look like?

I contacted both priests today and explained the female/male noun thing and asked them for and explanation. Neither of them admitted error. In fact quite the opposite – although Fr James Martin SJ did delete the Holy Spirit quote from his Twitter feed when he realised it actually made him look a complete um… twit.

Here is another post both these guys shared:

Fr. Dan 1

Worrying isn’t it? And as you can see from the comments, no attempt was made to correct this pseudo idea of ‘Love’ that is being floated around. The person in the pew has been left in error.

If our priests do not believe in the teachings of the church, is it any wonder that the people of God go astray. Maybe we should ask Ireland… When the shepherds lose their way, the sheep perish in the desert.

I’ll leave you with the well known Patrick Swayze liberal hymn to the Holy Spirit “She’s like the wind” (I’m just kidding! Bad joke – I know! – Keep smiling people 🙂 )

Women Priests, Gay Sex, and Communion for the Re-Married: Is Fr. Timothy Radcliffe an appropriate speaker for Flame2 Youth Conference 2015?

flame2

The CYMFed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation – England and Wales) are the organisers of ‘Flame2’. It is described on their website as: “…the largest National Catholic Youth event of 2015, taking place in the SSE Wembley Arena on Saturday 7th March 2015… The SSE Wembley Arena will be filled with 10,000 young people from across the country, receiving faith-filled inspiration from world-class speakers… Flame2 is open to anyone in school year ten and above, up to young adult (i.e. aged approx. 14-21).”

One of the key speakers will be Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP. The question is: Why do CYMFed feel Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is an appropriate speaker for a youth conference?

Fr. Radcliffe has received public criticism over his comments in regards to homosexuality being consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Until they were abolished in 2013, Fr. Radcliffe, occasionally presided over ‘Soho Masses’ at Saint Anne Church’s for gay and lesbian church goers in central London. 

In 2014 there were calls for Fr. Radcliffe to be dropped as a keynote speaker at Ireland’s annual International Conference of Divine Mercy at the Royal Dublin Society. The calls were in response to Fr Radcliffe’s contribution to last year’s Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics in which he said of homosexuality: “How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.” 

Alabama-based Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) refused to broadcast the conference, due to Fr. Radcliffe being its keynote speaker; stating that Radcliff holds views that are at “at sharp variance to Catholic teaching“.

Fr Radcliffe also gave a keynote address to a US religious education conference, in which he was reported as saying: “We accompany people in friendship as they become moral agents. Let’s look at the gays. For some reason–I don’t actually understand why–it’s become a very hot topic in all the churches at the moment. It’s tearing the Church of England apart. It’s the cause of great dissension in our own church. Usually when we think about it, we ask, ‘What is forbidden or permitted?’ But I’m afraid I’m an old-fashioned and traditional Catholic, and I believe that’s the wrong place to start. We begin by standing by gay people as they hear the voice of the Lord that summons them to life and happiness. We accompany them as they wrestle with discovering what this means and how they must walk. And this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain, reading gay novels, having gay friends, making that leap of the heart and the mind, delighting in their being, listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe

And on the issue of Women priest’s and Holy Communion for Catholics who are divorced and re-married, Fr Radcliffe hopes that: “…a way will be found to welcome divorced and remarried people back to communion. And, most important, that women will be given real authority and voice in the church. The pope expresses his desire that this may happen, but what concrete form can it take? He believes that the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood is not possible, but decision-making in the church has become ever more closely linked to ordination in recent years. Can that bond be loosened? Let us hope that women may be ordained to the diaconate and so have a place in preaching at the Eucharist. What other ways can authority be shared?’”

At October’s Family Synod, Cardinal Burke was one of the most outspoken of the group of bishops to react strongly against the mid-term document, in which it was suggested that the Church should “accept and value” the homosexual “orientation” and cohabitation, and that such relationships could have positive or valuable “elements.”

In an interview with Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE last week, Cardinal Burke said that in regards to sexual morality, he has heard from lay people that “there’s really just a growing confusion about what the Church really teaches, and we’re not coming to any clarity.”

Surely, considering all the recent confusion surrounding the Synod, CYMFed are doubly obliged to make sure the speakers at their event are preaching the truths of the faith, not what they would prefer the Catholic faith to look like. By giving a platform to ‘progressive’ speakers like Fr. Radcliffe at Flame 2, CYMFed will be exposing 10,000 14-21 year olds to Fr. Radcliffe’s own personal opinions, many of which in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church. He will stand there as a guiding voice for these young people – some of whom will no doubt be facing issues of same-sex attraction. Is this the man parents want their young adults to be guided by? What are CYMFed thinking?

When Fr. Radcliffe spoke at the first Flame conference the CYMFed website stated that: “On the Flame 2012 evaluations he (Fr. Radcliffe) was regularly named by young people as the speaker with the greatest impact, and we look forward to welcoming Fr Timothy back to Flame.”

Bernadette (20) who attended Flame 1, says that since learning about Fr. Radcliffe’s views her perception of Flame has changed:

“It probably would change my perception yes because I want to be able to go to something that I feel is completely orthodox, and I don’t like idea of prominent controversial figures being given a platform like this. Christianity is hard enough when you’re young and orthodox, without dissident individuals like Timothy Radcliffe trying to confuse things. I was talking to my house-mates about it and they were saying, that if a teenager left Flame, after having really enjoyed the day, and Googled Timothy Radcliffe, they’d be open to all the stuff that he talks about and goodness knows what they’ll read and begin to be influenced by. I would probably question CYMFed, on their motives for hosting such a figure. We either believe in the teaching power of the magisterium or we don’t.” – (Bernadette, 20)

Fr. Dermot Donnelly (centre) with his celebrity brother Declan Donnelly (right).

CYMFed Chair person Fr. Dermot Donnelly (centre) with his celebrity brother Declan Donnelly (right).

I contacted the Chair of CYMFed – Fr Dermot Donnelly several times last week and politely asked: “Considering many of Fr. Radcliffe’s views go against the teachings of the Catholic church, why does CYMFed think he is an appropriate speaker for the Flame2 youth conference?”

He offered me a phone call but I explained that to avoid any possible misinterpretation it is best for him to reply in writing. Fr. Donnelly was unwilling to give a written statement.

So instead I decided to take the matter to the Bishop affiliated with CYMFed. Surely I’ll get some sense out of him! A Prince of the Catholic Church would never stand for the UK’s youth being exposed to such low moral standards would he?

However (of course) the Bishop affiliated with CYMFed turns out to be the recently retired Kieran Conry.

 

Sources:

http://www.cymfed.org.uk/flame2/

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Radcliffe

http://www.protectthepope.com/?p=9494

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-church-teaching-on-sexuality-must-be-clarified-and-only-pope?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5cde758379-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-5cde758379-326240826

Why can’t I be a priest?

I was 7 or 8 years old when I had my feet washed as part of the Maundy Thursday mass. I remember being thrilled and fascinated at the idea, and feeling very special. When the elderly priest washed my feet I can honestly say I felt humbled – even at that young age. Acting out the story definitely pulled me deeper into the scripture of the last supper.

I also remember at that age announcing to my mum that when I grew up I wanted to be a priest.

“Bwaaaaaahhhhh! Well that’s never going to happen!” Confused, I asked her why… “Because that’s the way it is I’m afraid. Be a nun instead” And that was it. 

Being a nun really didn’t appeal to me at that age because my impression of nuns was one of humourless statue like creatures who never raised their voices or laughed, or did anything really. Not at all like priests…
Fr. Donald Calloway – (one of the coolest priests currently on Gods earth).

I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to become a priest. Perhaps it was the drama and the ritual of the mass (which kids absolutely love btw). Or perhaps it was because I thought the holy priests in our parish were cool. Maybe it was because I saw how my parents respected priests. Perhaps it was because I was a true tom-boy, and would never have been seen dead in a dress – which is ironic really because everybody knows the coolest priests wear cassocks! Or maybe it was that I was just a bit of a bossy boots and wanted to be in charge! It definitely had something to do with the awe and mystery surrounding transubstantiation and the real presence in the Eucharist. All I remember is that I felt a very strong calling, and interpreted this as wanting to become a priest.

Fast forward a couple of years to when I was 12. My younger sister (age 8) had become the first female alter server in our parish. Confusingly, I was deemed to old. Perhaps it was because they didn’t want me to get any funny ideas about wanting to become a priest?! Maybe it was because I had boobs?!! No one ever told me why. I remember feeling rather left out, and jealous of my sister – especially as my mum seemed so proud of this landmark event in our church. But I also remember asking my mum “Is it ok for girls to be on the altar? Does this mean they will have women priests now?”…

Pretty soon after that, like many teenagers, I made a shambolic confirmation and promptly decided that the church was a complete load of rubbish and I wanted nothing more to do with it. During my teenage years I was surprised to find myself with a new vocation idea. While all my female friends were aspiring to be doctors or models or life-guards, all I wanted was to be a wife and a mother. It was at this point that I began to see the advantages of the differences between male and female roles. 
Fast forward again to age 19 – a year after I came back to the church. My boyfriend and I were talking about marriage and both found ourselves agreeing that he should be the one to go out to work while I stayed home with the kids. Our friends at the time thought this was just hilarious and incredibly “retro”.

The real turning point came in my mid-twenties after the birth of our first child when I read ‘Theology of the Body’. This text was just revolutionary to me in a completely saturated world of sexual “freedom” and “equality”. (The sex education we received in our all girl’s Catholic high school taught us that we MUST pump your body full of hormones AND use a condom in order to avoid that dreaded thing called pregnancy. But if we did have the unfortunate mishap of being let down by our contraception, there were services that could ‘help’. I never really bought that idea.)

I suppose it was a combination of reading Theology of the Body, and having actually just gone through the process of being open to life, conceiving and then becoming a mother that tipped the scales for me. I began being horrified at questions like “So, when do you think you will go back to work?”. The thought of leaving my baby appalled me. In fact there was no question of it. We didn’t have much money at the time but we both decided that baby’s need their mothers.

It is when I started reading the church’s teaching on the family that the penny really started to drop: “The family, is so to speak, the domestic church.” (Lumen Gentium 11). In our house, our little ‘domestic church’, everyone has their own separate roles. As our family grew the dynamics in the house began to change. In a strange way, my husband and I had never felt so close but so far apart at the same time. This is because our roles of Mother and Father, of Husband and Wife were developing. When we got married we both worked full-time, we had the same social life, the same activities, the same everything really. In the view of the world we were completely “equal”.  But as the children have come along and our marriage has developed that has changed. I can now see that back then we were not so much “equal” as “uniform”. (The difference between equality and uniformity is of course, one of the most blurred and misunderstood notions of the modern age.)

So this is what Equality looks like then?

So this is what Equality looks like then?

Now we have very different roles as Mother and Father, but we are both equal in dignity and could not carry out our roles without the other. We rely on each other’s differences to enrich our family. If I was to try to do my husband’s role as well as my own I would only be reaching half my potential over two roles. The same goes for my Husband. By allowing each other to fulfil our separate roles as husband and wife, Mother and Father we actually GAIN as a family. We complement each other rather than trying to compete with each other. My husband’s vocation is to lay down his life for his bride, and my vocation as bride is to support him in doing that. When we both fulfill our roles in the way God meant us to, we are able to give more.

Men and women, Husbands and wives, Mothers and Father have different roles because they are different. Marriage is in fact a celebration of the differences between men and women. I am dignified as a wife and a mother simply because I am a woman – something my husband can never be. And vice versa. I could never be a husband or a father in the same way as my husband can because I am not a man. It is not just the physical differences, but the emotional and psychological and spiritual ones too.

As gay marriage becomes law here in the UK next week, I will weep at the dilution and abandonment of the roles of husband and wife, mother and father. And I will weep for the children who, because of their ‘parents’ rights, will be denied either a mother or a father.

A man can never fulfill the rule of mother like a woman can. A woman can never fulfill the role of father like a man can.
And then it struck me – A woman can never fulfill the role of Fr. like a man can. As a church, we are a family. We have men and women each with their own specific gifts and talents – and roles. Just as in my own little domestic church, the role of father is reserved for a man – my husband. So it is in the wider church.
If we started mixing up and blurring gender roles like what is happening in the secular world next week, we will only stand to lose. The church as ‘bride’ would suffer a great loss. As children of the church, we would suffer a great loss.

So you see, as a woman I could never claim the right to be a Father, or a Fr. because to do so would result in loss, and only be motivated by my own selfish desires. I guess the real hurt for me comes from wanting to be as close as possible to Him – specifically Eucharistically. But take the example of Faustina – she wasn’t a priest, and her relationship with Jesus was something most priests can only dream of. Every human being yearns to be united with their creator (whether they know it not). But it seems to me that the closer one draws to Him, the greater the yearning becomes – it must be love! 

And so what about the calling I still feel? Well, I don’t know… watch this space…

 

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!” – St. Catherine of Sienna

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