Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Cardinal Nichols' criticism of faithful priests is deeply disturbing



Cardinal Nichols conducting dialogue on the Synod via the press

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 situations.

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.”
It continued:
“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.”
He added:
“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.

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The Annunciation reminds us of the pro-life movement's sacred work

Monsignor Barreiro's and Father Peter West's article "Salvation begins in the womb; honouring the Annunciation" reminds us of the sacred work of the pro-life movement which seeks to protect Christ Himself in Whose image and likeness all of us are made at the moment of our conception. It's also a reminder why we must patiently and charitably correct our colleagues in the international pro-life movement who do not yet understand that we must explicitly oppose contraceptive drugs and devices which, according to the manufacturers, can stop the newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the lining of the womb. One of the consequences of failing to do so is the virtually worldwide acceptance of the IVF industry - including amongst Church-goers. According to peer-reviewed research up to 23 babies are killed (discarded), or used in destructive human embryo research, or frozen, or miscarry, for every one baby born by IVF. Today's culture of death is characterised by contempt for the the human embryo - contempt for our Saviour Jesus Christ Who began His life in the womb of Our Lady, the Mother of God, Whose consent to our redemption we celebrate today in the feast of the Annunciation.

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

“Senior churchmen” accused of intimidating clergy faithful to Catholic teaching on marriage

I was greatly encouraged to read this morning the press statement released by the co-ordinator of the “Support Marriage Letter”, which reveals that 461 priests from across England and Wales have signed a letter urging those cardinals and bishops attending the Ordinary Synod to uphold Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage and to affirm the unchangeable doctrine and discipline of the Church regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced persons living in invalid civil unions.

The priests’ letter says:
“We affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.”
I was however greatly concerned to read in their press statement the accusation that there “has been a certain amount of pressure not to sign the letter and indeed a degree of intimidation from some senior Churchmen”.

It should be shocking to us to hear that senior clerics are intimidating priests who simply wish to remain faithful to the unchanging teachings of the Church. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this allegation.

Back in December the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales published a document that insinuated that priests who remain faithful to the Catholic doctrine and discipline of the sacraments are guilty of an attitude similar to the fourth century heresy of Donatism. It is difficult to see this as anything other than an attempt to intimidate clergy who are unwilling to go along with the radical agenda being pursued by senior clerics, particularly with regard to the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and “remarried”, and with regard to attempts to undermine the teaching of the Church on homosexuality and same-sex unions.

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, indicated his openness to the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and “remarried” at a press conference on 21st October 2014 despite authoritative and irreformable Church teaching to the contrary.

Cardinal Nichols’ views on, and approach towards, homosexuality and same-sex unions have been documented many times on this blog:
Please write to the following bishops who will representing the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and inform them that you expect them to faithfully promote and defend the Catholic faith:

His Eminence Vincent Cardinal Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
Archbishop’s House
Ambrosden Avenue
London
SW1P 1QJ
cardinalnichols@rcdow.org.uk

Rt Rev Peter Doyle
Bishop of Northampton
Bishop's House
Marriott Street
Northampton
NN2 6AW
bishop@northamptondiocese.com

Rt Rev Philip Egan
Bishop of Portsmouth (substitute if one of the above cannot attend)
Bishop's House
Bishop Crispan Way
Portsmouth
PO1 3HG
bishop@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Please also write to your own bishops to state your expectation that they will remain faithful to Catholic teaching on human life, marriage and the family and their intimate and intrinsic connection to the doctrine of the sacraments.

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Monday, 23 March 2015

Head of Scotland's Catholic bishops says links between Church and SPUC will be strengthened by SPUC Pro-Life Scotland's new CEO

John Deighan
The Catholic Church in Scotland and SPUC Pro-Life Scotland are pleased to announce that John Deighan has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of SPUC Pro-Life Scotland. John has been the Catholic Church's Parliamentary Officer in Scotland for the past 16 years. In a statement (full text below), His Grace Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, said:
“The links between the church and SPUC in Scotland are already strong, but they will be strengthened and renewed as a result of John’s appointment.”
SPUC Pro-Life Scotland pointed to John’s long involvement in pro-life work, which began in the 1990s when he chaired the East Kilbride SPUC group.

Below are the full statements from the Catholic Church in Scotland and SPUC Pro-Life Scotland welcoming John's appointment. I would like to take this opportunity, not only to extend a warm welcome to John, but also to express my gratitude to Donna Nicholson for her many years of hard work and flair as Director of SPUC Pro-Life Scotland.

Statement from the Scottish Catholic Media Office:
Monday 23 March 2015

Bishops thank Parliamentary Officer for service

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have thanked their Parliamentary Officer Mr John Deighan for his “resolute and dedicated service” to the Bishops’’ Conference over the past 16 years. Mr Deighan, who leaves to take up the post of Chief Executive Officer of SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) Scotland next month became the Catholic Church’s Parliamentary Officer in 1999 at the inception of the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting on the move, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference said;

“John has provided dedicated and energetic service to the church in Scotland for 16 years and we wish him well in his new role. His ability to skilfully analyse political developments and track legislative changes has been immensely helpful to the Bishops’ Conference.”

The Archbishop added;

“The links between the church and SPUC in Scotland are already strong, but they will be strengthened and renewed as a result of John’s appointment.”

Responding to the Archbishop’s comments. John Deighan said;

“I have been privileged to work with the Scottish Bishops during a period of great political and parliamentary change and thank them all for their support and friendship over many years.”

“The greatest human rights challenge of our time is the right to life from conception. SPUC had been an outstanding organisation in its efforts to defend unborn children and those threatened by euthanasia. I greatly look forward to leading the organisation as it continues its work in this vital area and to continued collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference. I am confident there is much we can do to bring the justice of our cause to the attention of our fellow citizens and our politicians.”

ENDS

Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168(T)
0141 204 2458(F)
07968 122291(M)
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org

Note to Editors:

1. John Deighan was appointed Parliamentary Officer to the Bishops’ Conference in June 1999, a new post, created by the Catholic Church to coincide with the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, he will take up his new post on 20 April 2015.
2. For further information on SPUC Scotland, contact Stephen Shaw on 01466 751267 (on Wednesday 25 and on Thursday 26 March call 0141 221 2094)

Statement from SPUC Pro-Life Scotland:
Appointment of New CEO

SPUC Pro-Life Scotland is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr John Deighan as their new Chief Executive Officer following 15 years as Parliamentary Officer with the Catholic Bishop’s Conference in Scotland where a considerable part of his work was in the pro-life field, particularly on the end of life issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

John’s long involvement in pro-life work began in the 1990s when he chaired the East Kilbride SPUC Group. He stood as a pro-life parliamentary candidate in both the 1997 General Election and the Paisley South by-election later the same year and has for the past nine years run the Paisley Pro-Life Group.

This strong foundation of pro-life work coupled with his extensive knowledge of the Holyrood Parliament gained through his role with the Scottish Catholic Bishop’s Conference made him the ideal candidate for the position.

Welcoming the appointment, Stephen Shaw, Board Chairman of SPUC Pro-Life Scotland stated

“We are delighted that John has accepted our offer and we feel confident that his appointment will bring a new enthusiasm for the pro-life cause in Scotland. I feel sure his undoubted commitment will encourage others to be more active and will attract new supporters to work in defence of life at all stages of its development, from conception to natural death”

For further information please contact

Stephen Shaw
s.w.shaw@btinternet.co.uk
0141 221 2094

Ian Murray
ian51@blueyonder.co.uk
07914515376
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