Moves towards a parish-based ‘apprenticeship’ model of priestly formation would mean the end of the national seminary at Maynooth, a former professor at the college has said.
Of course we know that Maynooth should be closed – even at this stage over the homosexual activity there.
But Father Rafferty also says that the seminary method is outdated.
He may be right?
It would be very healthy for seminarians to study both philosophy and theology in the company of lay students, Male and female.
They would be aso be exposed to wider philosophies and theologies than purely classical philosophy and theology.
Such 6 years of study would also help seminarians to explore their sexuality in a plural environment and make a better decision about celibacy.
The fact that would live in parishes would expose them to everyday issues and parish liturgy and sacraments.
But however, there remains one big issue to resolve – the issue of spirituality/prayer.
It is quite clear that seminarians were given no lasting spirituality and prayer life in Maynooth.
They have to learn to have a prayer and spiritual life that will last when they live alone in parishes.
One way to achieve this would be for priest and people in every parish that becomes a Basic Christian Community in which laity, priests and religious nourish each other spiritually.
They could pray daily together, worship daily and weekly together, engage on regular guided retreats and make pilgrimages together.
The monastic model is not suitable for secular priesthood.
It all has to be retaught.
Niall Gooch 28 March, 2019
Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders (1847), by Émile Signol
People who sincerely practise the faith are capable of acts of monstrous wickedness
During the Siege of Jerusalem, at the conclusion of the First Crusade in 1099, a priest led devotions on the Mount of Olives, attended by hundreds of Crusaders. After the Christian armies had captured the city, a thanksgiving procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre took place, attended by dozens of priests. In the interim, the Crusaders had murdered thousands of Muslims and Jews.
It is hard to understand how an army marching under the banner of the Cross could act thus. Yet throughout history we are confronted with the unsettling spectacle of Christians who behaved in ways dramatically at odds with the truths of the Gospel.
On one level, of course, all Christians are guilty of this. Equally, there remains something decidedly disturbing in actions carried out by Christians that are not just enormously brutal but systematically and determinedly so.
One needn’t accept the Black Legend of relentless Catholic iniquity to be horrified by the complicity of Catholic individuals and institutions in excessive judicial violence and slavery – and, perhaps worst of all, the cruel mistreatment of Jewish people down the centuries.
Oliver Cromwell was by all accounts a genuine Puritan Christian, a firm believer in his own need for mercy. His New Model Army sang psalms as they went into battle. Yet his conquest of Ireland in the 1650s was appalling. Even if we accept the revisionist accounts that downplay his responsibility for the massacres at Wexford and Drogheda, the subsequent “pacification” of the country – for which Cromwell was ultimately responsible, and which brings to mind Tacitus’s savage aside about creating desolation and calling it peace – was grotesque. Indeed, much British oppression in Ireland, from evictions to extra-judicial murder, was planned and carried out by men who sat in church every Sunday.
Protestant Northern Ireland, in which the government systematically tyrannised its Catholic minority, was run and defended by observant Christians, including clergy. On the other side of the sectarian divide, many leaders of the Provisional IRA were serious Catholics. Martin McGuinness apparently wore a scapular even as the organisation of which he was a leader routinely tortured people to death.
Considering another time and place, I was deeply troubled by Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men, which describes how an auxiliary police battalion in Nazi Germany slaughtered thousands of Jews, including children. The men were from a reputedly anti-Nazi city, Hamburg, and had largely grown to adulthood before 1933, so had not been indoctrinated in the Hitler Youth. In many cases they were churchgoers. All were offered the chance not to participate. Few took it.
How to account for all this? It would be too easy, I think, to blame cynicism on the part of the individuals, ie to believe that they were only counterfeit Christians. This doesn’t move us on very far, however, and is patently untrue in many cases. No doubt there have been countless people down the ages who have merely pretended to Christian devotion because it gave them opportunities for enrichment and advancement. But as a matter of empirical reality, people who genuinely believe in and practise the faith for sincere reasons are capable of acts of monstrous wickedness. They fail to resist the inhuman pressures from within their own cultures, whether brutal anti-Semitism or cruel norms about the appropriate fate for captured enemy populations.
The question is simultaneously simple and impossible to answer. The obvious answer is that we are scarred by Original Sin, masters of self-deceit and rationalisation. As Kierkegaard said: “We Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers.”
There is, nevertheless, something a little glib and unsatisfactory about this. We are all burdened by the Fall, but we do not all yield to the undoubted temptation to commit great evils. Some resist in the most heroic fashion. That is where the impossible aspect of the matter comes in. The darkness of the human heart – deceitful above all things, as Jeremiah said – is perhaps the ultimate mystery of human existence. Anyone with even a little self-knowledge will know this. We are all familiar with it from our own small-scale daily battles to choose good over evil.
I’m not a theologian, but I know a little about poetry, and I think one answer – a possible protection against the temptation to enormous evil – lies in something TS Eliot wrote: “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire/Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”
Radical Christian humility, so hard to achieve but visible in the lives of so many great saints, is the opposite of the worldly aspirations and obsessions that so often lie behind great evils; a shield against the dangerous preoccupations of our particular cultures, and against believing our own ideologies are so important that they are worth killing for.
Niall Gooch tweets @niall_gooch
WHY IS POPE FRANCIS PULLING HIS HAND AWAY FROM PILGRIMS WHO WANT TO KISS HIS RING?
Is it because he is getting fed up of people?
Is it because at heart he is nasty and mean?
Is it because he has arthritis and his hand is sore?
Is it because he is beginning to suffer from dementia or a mental disorder?
Or is it because he wants to de-mystify the papacy and point to the pope as a servant and not a master?
One thing is sure – his actions are confusing and hurting people and an explanation is needed from Francis himself.
Kissing the pope’s ring (and in the past bishop’s) is a very old custom.
In fact, here in Rome this week, I have had my ring kissed several times. I normally respond by kissing the hands of those who kiss mine – to show mutual affection and respect.
This in is line with Christian teaching that each human being we meet is an alter Christus – another Christ.
If Francis does not want people to kiss his ring he should a public announcement about it and give his reasons.
Or, if he feels that strong about it, he could stop wearing a ring altogether.
DERRY DEACON REPRIMANDED AFTER INSULTING ANGLICAN HOLY ORDERS
A DERRY BLOG READER WRITES
Dear Bishop Buckley
I emailed you last week about Derry Deacon Declan McGeehan’s comment on Twitter about his view that Anglican priests were “null and void”. He reposted a tweet by the Archbishop of Canterbury who celebrated 25 years of ordination of women to priesthood, and Deacon McGeehan tweeted that Pope Leo XIII was right, Anglican orders are null and void.
I sent an email to the Bishop of Derry, Bishop Donal McKeown saying I saw the tweet and I gave him my concerns over these types of comments, especially since Bishop McKeown and Father Paul Farren have a close friendship with the Church of Ireland Archdeacon Robert Miller. Father Farren even co-wrote a book with Arcdeacon Miller.
Bishop Donal McKeown replied to me, thanking me for pointing this out and that he would take this matter further.
Well today I see Deacon McGeehan’s Twitter account is no more. It is gone, wiped. “Null and void” I will use the term.
Thank you for your email and the information you provide.
It was very fundamentalist and non-ecumenical for the deacon to be insulting another church’s business and reputation.
You were quite right to complain to the bishop.
If McGeehan thinks like that, it raises questions about his suitability for ordination.
SUNDAY’S SUNDAY WORLD carried a story about a recent drugs trial in Ballymena – a case I had a connection with.
In fact I was due to go to court to give evidence on behalf of the police and prosecution – until the man being charged with the crimes changed his plea to guilty.
It all started several years ago when a friend of mine who was a manager in the famous Galgorm Resort and Spa landed at my door in tears one lunch time.
He had foolishly done a deal with a paramilitary drug gang to store a large amount of drugs in his spare bedroom.
They, in turn, were giving him £800 a month for his storage. In total they had paid my friend £5,000.
Then it all went terribly wrong.
My friend’s partner, a China native, stole £25,000 of the drug stash and sold it to the Triad Gang in Belfast.
The paramilitaries came looking for my friend in Cullybackey outside Ballymena and gave him 24 hours to retrieve the drugs or get them £25,000. If he didn’t, they said, they would pour petrol on him and set him alight.
He fled from his home and landed at my door in fear and trembling.
After listening to him, I knew his life was in real danger, and with his permission I rang a senior PSNI officer who dealt with drug crimes.
My friend was taken into “protective custody”.
Later the police asked me if he could spend that night with me and that they would get him safe accommodation. Of course, I agreed.
But when the police arrived at my house in the evening there were armed men waiting in the street and the police car sped away.
My friend recently got a 6 month suspended jail sentence – suspended because he handed himself over to the police, pleaded guilty and gave evidence for the Crown.
However he will never be able to return to Northern Ireland as his life continues to be under threat.
A friend of mine, who also worships at The Oratory every Sunday always says:
“THERE IS NEVER AN ORDINARY WEEK IN LARNE”
And that’s true.
AFTER OUR FINAL MEETING YESTERDAY MORNING ABOUT THE SEMINARIAN’S COMPLAINT AGAINST THE SENIOR IRISH CHURCH MAN, MY FELLOW CLERIC AND I WENT TO VISIT THE TOMB OF POPE JOHN XX111.
As we left the Vatican the two of were “detained” by The Vatican Carabinieri for 90 minutes and questioned by one of their “commissars”.
They said they objected to my wearing my cross and ring in the Vatican State and demanded I put it in my pocket with my clerical collar.
They said they were acting on instructions from the CDF – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
They knew my date of birth, the town where I was born etc and asked me to sign a document saying that I would not dress as a bishop again in the Vatican State.
Because my priest friend did not have any photo ID on him they threatened to hand him over to the Italian police for not having ID with him.
They also refused to let my priest friend go to the toilet if he did not accept Vatican police supervision while he was urinating.
During this whole time they kept referring to me as “Your Excellency”.
I asked them if they would do the same to an Anglican bishop visiting the Vatican. The commissar answered : I do not know what we would do in that case. I would just follow orders”.
I asked him if it was a crime to wear my pectoral and ring in the Vatican. He said it was not – but that the CDF did not like it.
They want their religious symbols in our state institutions – but in their own territory, they want to control who uses religious symbols.
Two younger police men escorted us to the border with the Vatican and then said to me: “Now, Your Excellency, you can put back on your episcopal insignia”.
When I did that I got a salute from a Swiss Guard.
When I told a friend of mine back home about it he said: “You would have got a better welcome in North Korea”.
The Vatican clerics and police have protected paedophiles like McCarrick and Casey for decades but get upset with an “irregular” bishop goes to pray at the tome of John XX111 who started Vatican Council 11.
The Vatican criminals should not be allowed by the international and European authorities to have their own rogue state where they can protect episcopal and clerical criminals and hassle other nationalities who visit there.
The Vatican truly is the dwelling place of Satan and his team of devils.
They have even buried the remains of Paedophile Casey in the crypt of Galway cathedral.
They love and protect their own in both life and death.
By the way, the talk here is that John Paul’s remains are in a state of decay.
Hardly a surprise!
Yesterday an elderly Roman nun stopped on the street, to tell me angrily that she did not approve of Pope Francis.
In the above picture she is pointing at The Vatican as she goes into a tirade about the Pope and the current state of the church
I was sitting at a cafe near the Vatican walls having an early morning Aqua Frizzante when she approached me.
As she spoke fast and in Italian I did not understand much of what she said.
She appeared to be in her late 70s and I imagine she has given 50 or 60 years to the church and and is now disillusioned by all the terrible scandals.
Of course she is not alone. Many elderly people are disillusioned by the corruption and scandals.
So many elderly people have said to me – “When I go Mass now I keep wondering all during the Mass where the priest where the priest and his hands were last night”
It reminded me of a true story I heard from a priest’s mistress one time.
She slept with him several times a week and attended his Mass everyday.
When she went to Communion, instead of saying “the Body of Christ, he’d say “Christ, what a body”!
That level of cynicism is shocking
Many Catholics are angry and disillusioned.
Looking at the size and pomp of The Vatican this week I just know, deep in my heart and soul, that Jesus never intended any of it.
How did we ever get from Bethlehem and Narareth to The Vatican and it’s great wealth?
In Jesus God walked with men and women.
The Vatican is the symbol of what happens when men walk away from God.
BILGRIMAGE BLOG Wednesday, March 20, 2019
More on Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican: The Dark Heart of Martel’s Story — Corruption of Pretend Heterosexuality Coupled with Abominable Treatment of Queer People
I have now made my way about halfway through Frédéric Martel’s In the Closet of the Vatican, trans. Shaun Whiteside (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), and am finding the book grim going. It’s, as many commentators have noted, eye-popping, and overwhelming in the detail with which it tells — and documents — its story of corruption. To quote Mary Oliver in her poem “The Chance to Love Everything,” this is for me the dark heart of the story here: it’s a story of incredible corruption running through the governing structures and clerical culture of a major Christian institution, a story that does a very convincing job, I think, of rooting that corruption genetically in the intense homophobia of the governing elite of this institution.
This passage leaps out at me:
It was when I met the cardinals, bishops and priests who worked with him that I discovered the hidden side – the dark side – of his very long pontificate. A pope surrounded by plotters, thugs, a majority of closeted homosexuals, who were homophobes in public, not to mention all those who protected paedophile priests.
“Paul VI had condemned homosexuality, but it was only with the arrival of John Paul II that a veritable war was waged against gays,” I was told by a Curia priest who worked at John Paul II’s ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Irony of history: most of the players in this boundless campaign against homosexuals were homosexual themselves” (p. 194).
This is an important passage, it seems to me. Due to the intense adulation of many media folks of the rock-star pope John Paul II, few commentators have been willing to touch the corruption that surrounded him in his papal court — and the quite specific source of that corruption in the intense, vicious homophobia of many of the corrupt men surrounding John Paul II, who themselves had homosexual secrets in many cases.
While hiding those homosexual secrets, they chose to mount war against the queer community, combating its rights, scapegoating LGBT people — especially for the abuse crisis in the church — and targeting theologians calling for compassionate outreach to queer people.
So much of the corruption in the church right now is rooted in this historical matrix of the papacy of St. John Paul the Great — though it may take many years before people who are no longer blinded by the rock-star glitz of that image-savvy pope to recognize this.
And then there’s this grimly funny passage in Martel’s book:
For conservatives, lending credence to Viganò’s testament meant shooting themselves in the foot, while at the same time risking involvement in a civil war where any means were permitted. There are probably more closeted homosexuals on the right than on the left of the Church, and the boomerang effect would be devastating (p. 52).
Homophobic hard-right Catholics were initially deliriously happy that Viganò was bashing the gays and exposing the gays inside the hierarchy.
Then they realized that the gays included them and their heroes, and they had walked into a trap.
Bash McCarrick, and you immediately have to confront the fact that St. John Paul the Great elevated him to powerful positions — having received reports, we now know, about McCarrick’s sexual propensitiies and activities.
It’s hard to bash the gays in the church when you have people like Raymond Burke at your helm, and when your papal heroes — St. John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI — were surrounded by gobs and gobs of right-wing gay hierarchs.
The commentary of Louis Cornellier in his essay about Martel’s book “L’Église survivra-t-elle à Sodome?”seems to me right on target. Cornellier writes,
[Martel writes,] “Derrière la majorité des affaires d’abus sexuels, suggère-t-il, se trouvent des prêtres et des évêques qui ont protégé les agresseurs en raison de leur propre homosexualité et par peur qu’elle puisse être révélée en cas de scandale. La culture du secret qui était nécessaire pour maintenir le silence sur la forte prévalence de l’homosexualité dans l’Église a permis aux abus sexuels d’être cachés et aux prédateurs d’agir.”
Martel montre même que cette culture du silence, à son apogée sous les règnes de Jean-Paul II et de Benoît XVI, explique en partie une foule de malversations financières vaticanes, les compromissions de divers cardinaux avec les dictatures argentine, chilienne et cubaine et la répression de la théologie de la libération dont les grandes figures, note Martel, ‘étaient des religieux manifestement non gays’ alors que leurs adversaires ‘étaient, eux, des homophiles ou des homosexuels pratiquants.
[My rough translation: “Behind the majority of cases of sexual abuse, he (a priest interviewed by Martel) suggests, can be found priests and bishops who have protected the abusers due to their own homosexuality and out of fear that it might be revealed as scandal. The culture of secrecy that has been necessary for maintaining silence about the overweening prevalence of homosexuality in the church has permitted sexual abuse cases to be kept hidden and predators to prey.”
Martel shows, even, that this culture of silence, at its zenith in the papal reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, helps in part to explain a plethora of embezzlement cases in the Vatican, the compromised behavior of several cardinals involved with dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, and the repression of liberation theology, the chief promoters of which, Martel notes, “were religious who were manifestly not gay,” while their adversaries “were themselves homophlies or practicing homosexuals.”]
It’s not the corruption of homosexuality itself, then. It’s not, as we’ve been told for far too long by these very same people in the bosom of the church, the (non-existent) corruption of having a homosexual sexual orientation, of having been shaped queer by God’s hands.
It’s the corruption of pretend heterosexuality coupled with abominable treatment of queer people — all engineered by homosexual clerics posturing as heterosexual — that’s the very dark heart of the corruption within the Catholic institution. So much of the corruption — real corruption, as in Vatican financial shenanigans and policies throwing progressive priests in Latin America to murderous wolves — begins with this dark heart of the story.
While people’s attention has been diverted to the non-existent corruption of simply having a gay sexual orientation, real, toxic corruption has spread through the Catholic institution as closeted, hateful gay clerics have attacked open, self-accepting gay people, while pretending to uphold and live by moral rules they themselves do not live by at all, those mounting these ugly attacks.
And here’s the nadir of this approach to being Catholic at this point in history:
His [Marcial Maciel’s] way of life was also highly unusual for the times – and for a priest. This father – who showed absolute humility in public, and great modesty on all occasions – lived privately in an armoured apartment, stayed in luxury hotels on his foreign travels and drove incredibly expensive sports cars. He also had false identities, kept two women by whom he would have at least six children, and had no hesitation in abusing his own sons, two of whom have since registered complaints against him.
In Rome, where he went often in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he was welcomed as a humble servant of the Church by Paul VI and as a guest star by his “personal friend” John Paul II (p. 234).
Put the title “Saint” in front of John Paul’s name here, and you’ll see starkly what I mean by corruption running through the Catholic institution, but especially its clerical club — corruption directly related to the attempt to stigmatize as corrupt every human being in the world shaped queer by God’s hands. While the very persons disseminating that toxic message making queer people susceptible to scorn and violence are tightly guarding their own homosexual secrets ….
John Paul 11 was guilty of the most appalling crimes of cover up of abuse criminality.
He was not fit to be a modern saint.
He was a major cover up merchant.
He was an abuse cover upper.
He is no saint.
He was a truth cover upper and a liar.
He is now a disgraced politician.
May he be recognised as a political failure