Bishops making Catholicism more like Protestantism and Islam.

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Here we see the wonderful Bishop Egan of Portsmouth Diocese UK strongly trying to defend the Catholic Church from falling into chaos.

The issue – if you didn’t already know – is that some Bishops are calling for the divorced and re-married to be able to receive Holy Communion. This of course can never happen because a Catholic marriage is valid unto death do us part – unless an annulment is granted.

“Easy” you might say – “The Pope would never allow that to happen!”

Well, officially the Pope has not actually come out in favor of it, but he has also refused to come out and denounce it – despite several high ranking Cardinals and Bishops pleading with him to do so. This leaves the church in a very vulnerable position.

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The strength of the Catholic Church comes from it’s unbroken line of authority. Jesus made Peter the first Pope, and the authority has remained in place for over 200 years. We have the Magesterium – the hierarchy of the Church that keeps belief and teaching centralized and universal. This means that every Catholic, anywhere on earth, will be under the same authority and believe the same thing.

The word ‘Catholic’ means ‘Universal’, and it is this structure of our religion that gives us great strength. We are not at liberty to interpret the scriptures as we please – no, the interpretation has been handed down to us through an unbroken line of Faith, Reason, Scripture and Tradition. You only have to take a look at Protestantism and Islam to see how important this central authority is.

images-2106The Protestant church does not have Tradition as the Catholic church does, but instead allows for personal interpretation of scripture. This allows the individual to take a piece of scripture, and make it fit their wants and needs. It is this personal interpretation that has given rise, amoungst other things, to women priests and the support of active homosexual relationships, which have torn congregations in two in many protestant parishes.

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This freedom of interpretation is also seen within Islam. Like Protestantism, Islam has no central hierarchy, no central interpretation of the holy texts. Within Islam, any man can declare himself an Imam, set up his own Mosque, and effectively declare himself his own Pope. This is why you could have a Mosque at one end of your road full of perfectly nice and peaceful Muslims who ignore the parts of the Qu’ran that say ‘Kill the infidels!’, and a Mosque at the other end of the road in which they stick to the text quite literally and want you dead!

Within both Protestantism and Islam, this ‘freedom’ to interpret the holy texts as one wishes has only led to division, and is the cause of great weakness within the religions.

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta

Recently in Malta, the Bishops have taken advantage of the Pope’s silence on the matter of Communion for the divorced and re-married and has made the decision to ALLOW those in a state of adultery to receive Communion based on their own interpretation of whether they feel at peace or not with God.

“a separated or divorced person who is living in a new relationship manages, with an informed and enlightened conscience, to acknowledge and believe that he or she are [sic] at peace with God, he or she cannot be precluded from participating in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist”. – Bishops of Malta.

This puts the average priest in an impossible situation:

Does he obey his Bishop and administer Communion to those in adulterous relationships?

Or does he obey Rome where the teaching still stands that to do so would be mortal sin?

Should the priest have to go against his conscience – and crucially, the central teaching of the Catholic Church, to remain in line with His Bishop? Would he be at fault if he didn’t? Do the Bishops of Malta not see that this is going to divide the Church and make it weak?

The Magisterium of the Church clearly states that:

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome. 86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.”

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Of course the obviously simple solution to this is for Pope Francis to stand up and clearly re-state the central teaching on Communion for the divorced and re-married.

Why, oh why is he just sitting on the fence, enabling this confusion to continue and causing enormous anxiety to his good and faithful priests?

 

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

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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