How Cardinal Vincent Nichols pulled the wool over our eyes just before the 2015 Synod.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Cormack Murphy O’Connor and Cardinal Vincent Nichols

As we enter the first day of the 2015 Family synod, I cannot help but feel just a little bit uneasy about something. Lets step back in time briefly…

In November 2013 the Vatican released a questionnaire to be answered by the laity as part of the the Preparatory Document for the upcoming Family Synod meeting to be held in October 2014. The purpose of this questionnaire was to help the Church develop concrete proposals for the second Synod in 2015 which in turn will produce specific guidance on the pastoral care of the family for our times.

In October 2014 after the Extraordinary Assembly had finished it’s two week long synod meeting, the Vatican sent out the final report and a second questionnaire. The new questionnaire was intended to fill in the gaps that might exist in the synod’s vision. It asked bishops to conduct an “in-depth examination” and seek out “practical solutions” to the “innumerable challenges” identified at the synod sessions. It circulated this second questionnaire as part of the Lineamenta, or preparatory documents, about family ministry and how the church could best tackle issues such as homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, contraception, and cohabitation.

On the Feast of the Holy Family December 2014, the bishops of England and Wales (under the guidance of Cardinal Vincent Nichols) invited parishes to reflect, with true spiritual discernment as requested by Pope Francis, on the themes emerging from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family by issuing its own questionnaire. The Call, the Journey and the Mission aimed “to help people celebrate marriage and family life, whilst recognising the difficulties that families often encounter”. The document offered material for reflecting on scripture and on the teaching of the Church on marriage and family life, as well as six questions to facilitate parish and family conversations.

So to summarize, in the UK there have been 3 questionnaires:

  • Preparatory Document – November 2013. Official Vatican document and questionnaire for the Family Synod.
  • Lineamenta – October 2014. Official Vatican document and questionnaire for the Family Synod.
  • The Call, the Mission and the Journey – December 2014. A set of reflections and and a questionnaire set up by the bishops of England and Wales.
Father-and-child-with-Cardinal-Nichols-Taking-a-selfie_medium

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

The first two questionnaires were official Vatican documents, the results of which were meant to be used to draft the instrumentum laboris, the practical working documents for the 2014 and 2015 synod meetings. The third questionnaire – The Call, the Journey and the Mission  was a completely separate from the first two questionnaires, and was not a Vatican document and was nothing to do with the Synod, but instead an initiative of the bishops of England and Wales.

Why would the bishops of England and Wales feel the need to conduct their own separate questionnaire?

The reason is this: The questionnaire results from the Official Vatican 2013 Preparatory Document and the 2014 Lineamenta were to be treated as confidential and belonged to the Vatican. This meant that they could not be published unless the Vatican decided to publish them. And as they were specifically designed to help draft the instrumentum laboris, the practical working documents for the 2014 and 2015 synod meetings, there would be really no need to publicly publish them.

In contrast, the results from The Call, the Journey and the Mission belonged to the Bishops of England and Wales. And although the questions were along the same lines as the Official Vatican 2013 Preparatory Document and the 2014 Lineamentathis particular questionnaire was not issued or owned by the Vatican. So if the Bishops of England and Wales wanted to publish the results of their own questionnaire then they could do so at any point. And this is exactly what they did.

call mission journey

On September 16th 2015 a summery of responses from The Call, the Journey and the Mission for Westminster diocese were made public in a well prepared and presented document that gave a fair and balanced account of all the responses received from the questionnaire. It also crucially identified the vast range of knowledge and catechises (or lack there of) of the responders. This identification of varying levels of catechises goes a long, long way to explain the varying answers found in the questionnaire and also brings to light the uncomfortable fact that the church must accept its responsibility for the lack of catechises of these responders. You can view and download the pdf here: the call the journey and the mission. answers summary of responses

Bizarrely, a week later on 22nd Sept 2015, a second version of the summary of responses of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission was also published on the Westminster Diocesan website. It describes this version of the results gathered as:

“…a flavour of the feedback to those six questions, based primarily on diocesan summaries received from 16 dioceses.”

It must be noted here that this second version of the summary of responses only includes the results of 16 out of the 22  diocese in England and Wales. No explanation is given for the fact that 6 diocese have been excluded from the results.

I am reliably informed that the response in many of the diocese to this questionnaire was so low or non existent that those Bishops refrained from submitting anything at all. After all – this was not an official synod questionnaire. I am also reliably informed that at least one Bishop said he wasn’t consulted on content of the finished report before it was released at a press conference by Vincent Nichols.

Did Cardinal Vincent Nichols consult any of the Bishops of England and Wales on the content of this report before its release?

It is also worth noting that while the “flavour of the feedback” (note the ambiguous fluffy language) is “based primarily on diocesan summaries received from 16 dioceses, it also explains that “a number of local and national organisations” also took part. According to Westminster’s website these organisations were:

A Call to Action (ACTA) – 342 responses (A highly criticised and controversial group that seeks radical progressive reform in the Catholic Church)

The Association of Interchurch Families – no statistics provided (A multi denominational group offering support to mixed marriages)

The Catholic Women’s League – 132 responses.

The Union of Catholic Mothers – no statistics provided.

Two in One Flesh – 7 responses (A marriage support group)

The National Board of Catholic Women – 48 responses.

The Dorcas group – 6 responses (A Catholic Feminists group)

These were the only groups mentioned by the questionnaire. In my opinion they have been hand picked because of their liberal stances. 4 out of the 7 groups are women’s groups. No men’s groups seem to have been consulted. No clergy groups seem to have been consulted. No orthodox or more traditionally minded groups seem to have been consulted. Why?

In total, this second version of the results of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission claim to have the responses of approximately just 2200 people.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

After reading this second version of the summery of responses published on 22nd Sept, I was surprised how brazenly one-sided it was compared to the very balanced first version published on 16th Sept.

Among the responses of the second version, one diocese suggests allowing Catholics to live together to decide if they want to commit to marriage – and having a liturgical ceremony to endorse it. Another accused the Church of “being out of touch, unbending or unrealistic” on sexual ethics, with a lack of support for same-sex partnerships, and contraception.

Others said they were “ashamed” of their faith calling it “misogynistic, controlling, self-opinionated.” Another said: “Thank God for the secular world which has blown in to the murky corridors of the Vatican.” But the comment that sticks in my mind the most was the one that had the most political venom and was quite frankly the most out of place in a questionnaire about marriage and family:

“…To the younger generation the Catholic Church is a medieval irrelevance. While I, myself, believe in Jesus – I am appalled at what the institution He founded has become. A tyrannical power structure, stuck in a medieval culture and unable to bring itself into the modern world. One good example of this is the so called New Translation of the Mass. A backward step from language that ordinary people understood to a ridiculous artificial so-called sacral language which is no more than a mixture of garbled English, medieval theological vocabulary and transliteration from Latin…”

What has bashing the new translation of the Mass got to do with a questionnaire on Marriage and Family?!

According to this second version, most Catholics want the Church to allow divorcees and those who re-marry to take Communion. But of course this survey was only completed by 2200 people – many of whom were members of Feminist groups or the dissident group ACTA, and the results were certainly not compiled and edited by an independent body. You can view and download the full version here: marr-fam-CJM-report (1)

So to summarise:

  • Two versions of the summary of responses of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission were published within a week of each other on the Westminster Diocese website in September 2015.
  • The second version released on the 22nd Sept was only completed by approximately 2200 people throughout the whole of the UK, and is being falsely presented as if it represents the vast majority of UK Catholics.
  • The second version has been edited with a highly disproportionate emphasis on dissent from Catholic doctrine.
  • The second version was edited and published by the CBCEW without consulting or obtaining the consent of the other Bishops of England and Wales.
  • Neither of these summaries of responses issued by the Bishops of England and Wales have anything to do with the official questionnaires issued by the Vatican.

The Call, the Journey and the Mission was a questionnaire that was set up to collect peoples views on the issues surrounding the Family Synod. It had nothing to do with the synod itself  and was organised by the Bishops of England and Wales. Because the results of the survey belonged to them, they could be selectively manipulated, edited and published whenever desired. Because the questions were very similar to those of the two official Vatican questionnaires, it is easy for people to confuse the two, and believe that the answers from The Call, the Journey and the Mission were those of the official questionnaires, when of course they are not.

Slippery.

It looks very much to me that the first version of the responses to The Call, the Journey and the Mission published on 16th September was just not doing the job Cardinal Nichols wanted it to do. After all, what is the point of commissioning your own survey if it is not going to produce the results you want it to produce? So instead, a week later, a second more liberal leaning version of the questionnaire was produced and published – the week before the start of the 2015 synod. Timing is everything.

What is it exactly that Cardinal Vincent Nichols is trying to achieve?

Cardinal Vincent Nichols meets UK LBGT group QUEST in March 2015.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols meets UK LBGT group QUEST in March 2015.

Cardinal Nichols will now be able to give the false impression to the media and the rest of the world during the 2015 synod that the views expressed in his questionnaire are the mainstream views held by the majority of UK Catholics, and he is at the cutting edge of the ‘modern’ Catholic world, ready to pave the way for new inclusive and diverse pastoral initiatives.

What a load of baloney. This whole thing is the biggest, slipperiest most shameless PR exercise of ‘group-think’ I’ve ever seen. “Oh c’mon! EVERYONE thinks like we do. Get with the programme! Don’t be so old fashioned!” Who does he think he’s kidding?! Not me – that’s for sure. What sort of man thinks he can hold the entire world in contempt by trying to pull the wool over their eyes in such important matters?

One thing is for sure – I do not trust Cardinal Vincent Nichols. And from reading the biased results of his cherry-picked pseudo-survey, they way he slapped down the 500 priests asking for a “clear and firm proclamation” of the Church’s teaching on marriage, and his involvement and support of the Soho/Farm Street LGBT Masses, I certainly know this man has no interest whatsoever in upholding the Catholic view of marriage and family. But he is obviously very interested in forwarding his own career.

According to reports from the C9 group (the key cardinal advisers to Pope Francis on curial reform)  there’s going to be a new Congregation for Laity, Family and Life.  I wonder who might be put in charge of it as new prefect? Someone who might suit the White House/Whitehall pro LGBT axis?

I’m sure the Vatican Mafia would like to think so. Let’s hope and pray not.

Dissident Fr. Timothy Radcliffe speaking at Flame 2 UK Youth conference: Are CYMFed recognising and respecting parents’ role as primary educator and protector?

Fr Timothy Radcliffe shares Cardinal Walter Kasper's views on Communion for the divorced and re-married.

Fr Timothy Radcliffe shares Cardinal Walter Kasper’s views on Communion for the divorced and re-married.

Many people have contacted me since reading my last article Women Priests, Gay Sex, and Communion for the Re-Married: Is Fr. Timothy Radcliffe an appropriate speaker for Flame2 Youth Conference 2015? Mostly, people have been angry that a man with these views would be allowed to speak at a UK youth event. Many others have thanked me for alerting them to this issue as they had no idea what Timothy Radcliffe’s views were.

I believe parents and youth ministers alike would have sent their kids to this event in good faith, not realising that Radcliffe holds these views. If parents want their kids to listen to a speaker like Radcliffe then fine, but is the responsibility of CYMFed to be honest as to what they are providing.

It’s such a shame, because Flame 2 could have been such a fantastic event – if only they could employ speakers who are in line with the Catholic faith. I truly hope Flame 2 successfully goes ahead without Radcliffe. There is of course still time for CYMFed to drop him and find another speaker – let’s hope they do. But until that time, they will continue to be held accountable for the fact that they are continuing to sell tickets without informing people of Radcliffe’s views.

Half of the 10,000 tickets have already been sold – many bought in large quantity by youth groups and dioceses.  Since the information regarding Radcliffe’s views has now been brought to public attention, the responsibility to inform parents of Radcliffe’s views also lies on the Bishops, clergy and youth workers who are asking parents to part with £20 per ticket and more importantly, to trust them with the care of their children. They have now been put in a very difficult and embarrassing position. Of course they have no choice but to inform parents of the situation, but this will most likely result in many parents wanting a re-fund and feeling extremely let down.

Cardinal Vincent Nicholls will be speaking alongside Fr. TImothy Radcliffe at Flame 2, which is being held in his diocese of Westminster.

Cardinal Vincent Nicholls will be speaking alongside Fr. TImothy Radcliffe at Flame 2, which is being held in his diocese of Westminster.

Another key point is that ultimately the buck stops in one place ecclesiastically and that’s at the desk of Cardinal Vincent Nicholls (who also happens to be speaking at Flame 2). It is in his archdiocese that Flame 2 is happening so it’s his responsibility in a unique way to safeguard the orthodoxy of the event and how it could affect the faith formation of those children attending.

It seems to me that the parents of those attending are the last to know in this situation, but it is with them that the real power lies. Let us not forget that prophetic declaration of St John Paul II:

 “…families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference.”  – Familiaris Consortio Para 44.

The church teaches that parents are the primary and most influential educators of their children and their protectors. However, it seems the largest youth conference in the UK deems it unimportant to alert parents to the dissident views of one of its speakers. If my child attended this event and was exposed to a speaker like Radcliffe I would be livid. As a parent I would feel betrayed. Have CYMFed considered how much damage their lack of transparency regarding Radcliffe is going to cause regarding the trust of the parents?

Never before in history has our human right to be the primary educators and protectors of our children in British society been so far removed. Now, according to the Education Act 1996, parents have no right to remove their child from a sex education lesson advocating same-sex marriage. A doctor has no obligation to inform the parents of an under 16 seeking contraception or abortion if he deems them to be Gillick competent. One cannot help but remember the chilling words of Lady Helen Brook, founder of the Brook advisory centre:

“It is now the privilege of the Parental State to take major decisions – objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child…” – (Lady Helen Brook The Times 16 February 1980)

I this the direction CYMFed is taking? How does CYMFed expect the child’s parents make an informed decision regarding Flame 2 if they are not given the facts? Are CYMFed recognising and respecting the parents’ role as primary educator and protector? Or are they acting as some sort of ‘Nanny State’?

I would encourage you to join the ever increasing amount of people writing to CYMFed asking why they feel Timothy Radcliffe is  an appropriate speaker for a UK youth event? And to ++Vincent Nicholls asking why he is letting this happen in his diocese?

CYMFed

07528 643 420

admin@cymfed.org.uk
Cardinal Vincent Nichols

020 7798 9033

enquiries@rcdow.org.uk

 

It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views…

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The compassionate merciful response to Kieran Conry’s apology and resignation has been acknowledged and received. The man must now get on with the rest of his life. But mercy does not mean brushing it under the carpet.  As a catholic community it is important to learn from any mistakes made.

I have been researching Kieran Conry on Google and have stumbled upon a huge amount of information. Here are the facts:

His ministry:

  • He was ordained in 1975
  • In 1980 he became the private secretary to the Apostolic Delegate (Pro-Nuncio from 1982), Archbishop Bruno Heim, and then his successor Archbishop Luigi Barbarito.
  • He was appointed Monsignor in 1984.
  • From 1988 to 1993, Conry was a member of the National Conference of Priests, and its Vice-Chairman from 1992 to 1993.
  • From 1993 to 2000, he was involved with training counsellors for Catholic Marriage Care.
  • From the beginning of 1994 to 2001, Conry was Director of the Catholic Media Office in London, the press office of the Bishop’s Conference of England & Wales, and also Editor of Briefing, the Bishop’s official journal.
  • On 8 May 2001, Conry was named the fourth Bishop of Arundel and Brighton by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 9 June at Arundel Cathedral.
  • He was Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis.
  • He was the Church’s Bishop for Youth.
  • He sat on the Mixed Commission of the Conference of Religious.

His views:

  • He is described as being an ‘uber liberal’.
  • Bishop Conry has been critical of going to confession regularly, saying that, in his experience, people would always come back saying the same things week after week, suggesting that no interior conversion or repentance was actually taking place.
  • He supports same-sex civil partnerships for the legal benefits it gives to those involved.
  • He was not a fan of the Latin Mass.
  • He was in favour of contraception.
  • He disagreed that secularization was the real reason for the Church’s decline in the west.

Let’s not underestimate how high up this man was. He was Chair of  Evangelisation and Catechesis for goodness sake! It explains a lot about the church in the UK doesn’t it?! It is impossible to divorce someone’s character from their views. Perhaps now in the light of recent revelations it is easier to understand what kind of character he truly had, and how that was motivating his views and decisions for the Church.

But there are also deeper issues here.  For instance – did the other UK Bishops know about Conry’s affairs (going back to 2001)? And if so, why was he ever put in the position of Bishop in the first place? These are really serious questions. If the hierarchy knew – which seems very possible – then that surely presents us with a much greater scandal yes?

This article i found written January 2002 seems to highlight these fears:

CRONIES, CROOKS AND CRISIS POPES

It seems that Kieran Conry was earmarked for higher things by Cardinal Hume during his time as Director of the Catholic Media Office. Despite one priest’s assessment of his time there as being “by any objective standards a disaster,” Conry became one of the sponsored ‘untouchables’ – and acted accordingly. “For a period I saw quite a bit of Conry,” a deacon confided. “He seemed to live in a secular, corporate world rather than a priestly one. I never once saw him dressed as a priest. His point of view was unfailingly liberal.”

In other words, he was left to do his own thing. And if that is considered par for the priestly course nowadays, I guess one could say the same about his ‘special friendship.’ “Kieran was often seen out and about with his female friend,” a London priest informed me. “Everyone knew about it in the same way that everyone, including the bishops, knew about the homosexual relationship between Martin Pendergast [ex-Carmelite priest] and Julian Filochowski [Director of CAFOD, the bishops’ overseas aid agency].”

At that time, in commenting on the routine breaking of vows of chastity acknowledged by the hierarchy in a message to the Pope, Mgr (now Bishop) Arthur Roche had assured The Times that “… the bishops of England and Wales are realists.” Just how “realistic” they are I indicated by relating, among other cases, the example of the London priest well known to be living with his Pastoral Assistant, who he took along to Deanery meetings at the Bishop’s house! In that context, Mgr Conry ‘merely’ keeping regular company in such public fashion is hardly surprising. Yet even if such increasingly common ‘relationships’ are purely platonic, the point is that scandal is given, above all to those of simple and delicate conscience who are offended by it and interpret it in a bad sense. St. Joseph Cafasso, a nineteenth century version of the Cure of Ars, called this kind of scandal “the scandal of the little ones.” A priest’s life is not his own, and so the Saint exhorts him to absolutely abstain from any behaviour which might give scandal, even if caused by appearance only and the result of the ignorance of others.

One assumes that this is the case with Mgr Conry. But regardless, does it not leave the gravest questions about ecclesiastical propriety? Not to say about his prudential judgement and ability to offer wise moral leadership and counsel to others? Especially when shortly before his episcopal consecration Mass he is seen in Italy strolling hand in hand and enjoying leisurely outings with his lady friend at Palazzola, the residence on Lake Albano belonging to the English College. Again, it was the appearance of scandal that upset those who viewed the liaison, including one priest who was sufficiently disgusted to make representations to a Vatican Congregation. Word quickly spread and it is said that Church authorities may have queried Mgr Conry about the matter. Whatever the case, it is a measure of the unqualified protection afforded to Modernist cronies that not only did Mgr Conry’s less than discreet romantic entanglement not disqualify him from consideration for a bishopric in the first place, but that the Palazzola coup de grace did not even delay his elevation by a single day.

It is especially shocking in light of the numerous sexual scandals in recent years which have caused such harm to the Church in general and episcopate in particular, and which, one might have thought, would have seen Rome acting swiftly to snuff out the slightest possibility of further tabloid headlines. Not on your life. Ensconced in a plum see, Bishop Conry is now fulfilling the standard expectations of his liberal patrons: Protestantising and bureaucratizing his diocese behind a welter of Modernist buzz-words about “community,” “renewal” and “change.” – (Article written Janurary 2002)

Who knew about Conry’s affairs? Who turned a blind eye? Who allowed him to carry on in his position when he never should been there? How did he get selected for the position of Bishop in the first place? What is the agenda in the UK hierarchy?

One cannot help feeling that he was selected not for his personal holiness, strong moral character or his ability to uphold doctrine, but instead for his progressive, liberal views. Views that were formed in the mind of a man with a lot on his conscience.

What a mistake-a to make-a.

 

 

Spources: http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2002/features_jan02.html