Sunday, 24 February 2013

Guilty until proven innocent

Question: Has any wrong doing been proved against Cardinal O'Brien
Answer: No.

Question: Will it be proved?
Answer: No one knows and no one can know.

Question: Should Cardinal O'Brien take part in the upcoming conclave?
Answer: He should do what he feels right.

Question: Is this the underlying problem of the Catholic Church's dealings with clerical sex scandals?
Answer: No. It's the problem of people assuming guilt before they have any proof of it.

Update 28/02/13:
Mulier Fortis has some thought provoking comments.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Is the Pope a Catholic?

Does The Guardian think that it's a secret that there are gay men working in the Vatican? Two things sell newspapers: sex and scandal. That's the only reason this nonesense has been brought up. I know there have been reports for a while that there are priests who are sexually active in the Vatican and I hope that this isn't true, but it wouldn't be Church shattering news if it were, it certainly wouldn't prompt a pope to abdicate. Things that might lead a pope to abdicate include situations such as "bad health" and... well, that's about it really isn't it?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

We knew not what we did

Image courtesy of the western media.
 The best article I've read on Pope Benedict's papacy is from The Spectator and I'd like to take its point a step further than it does.

The article is clear that it is not concerned with whether his papacy succeeded or failed, it is concerned with the media's reaction to him. Before I launch into my tirade, I'll just pause to remeber that the most famous of history's popes to have abdicated, Pope St Peter Celestine V got a shoddy treatment at the hands of the media too in his portrayal as the figure in the vestibule of Danté's Inferno. However, I think that today's media is far less understanding even that Danté and in that it is indicative of the society is serves and promotes. It strikes me that we in the world today are poorly equipped for interaction with ideas on anything more than a superficial level and how that impacts on our understanding of other people. The age of the soundbite is superceding that of the rational reasoned debate. For me the article highlights this broader issue with the example of how the world, particularly the western world, has treated the Holy Father. The conflict between him and the media is in fact between the age of reason, which he exemplified, understood and promoted, and that of the preformed opinion of an age where we have our selfserving social obsessions which dominate our interactions with other people to the extent that we not only no longer know what other people have said but we don't care, except when they impinge on these obsessions. The joy of having this Pope is that he was not this cold hearted, solely rationalising, conservative automaton the media portray him as, but a man formed by love who lives his life through the paradigm of his prayer life. That someone can at once have that characteristic and be a man of reason is a concept the media will never get to grips with. At the risk of ending in irony: we will need a pope that will teach us the Catholic faith and so the Church has no use for a soundbite pope.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cardinal Arinze sums it up

Since I first came across Cardinal Arinze I have thought of him as a wise, loving, deeply holy man. In this video we have a microcosm of the reactions so many of us have felt since Monday. His weeping has the power that comes with the tears of a man as strong as he is. He doesn't repress his emotion with his rationalism, but with reason in the paradigm of love he comes to peace with it and sees that it is part of God's plan and that we have things to learn from this great teacher's actions. His personal feelings of sadness are offset by his trust in the joyous love of the Holy Spirit for His Church: "the Holy Spirit doesn't go on holidays" he says. My faith seems to be growing in a maturity as I reflect on the Holy Father's decision.

If Arinze was ten, maybe fifteen years younger, the beads would be rattling through my fingers in the hope the Holy Spirit had particular plans for him.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Promised Gay Marriage Comment

Excuse the taridness of this post, I've had so much work of late I've not had a moment to myself.*

Well it's certainly been a difficult fortnight for the Church, maybe more in this country than others. Not only have we had to deal with the shock of the Holy Father's abdication, but also work out how we are going to respond to our governments attempt to change marriage.

The Church should have stood up in 1967 and refused to accept the state's assertion that it had the right to change what marriage meant from a lifelong union between a man and woman for the purpose of bringing up children by removing the requirement that it be lifelong. This undermined the institution of marriage greatly and it is unsurprising that it has further tried to change what marriage is. We no longer have an institution of marriage in this country because it is no longer about children, it is no longer lifelong and it is no longer about a man and a woman's creative love for each other. This is a deep sadness.

A gay marriage is a contradiction in terms. Gay love is no less than straight love, the relationships are of the same value, but they are no marriages and never can be. They are a different love. God's creative love is expressed in a marriage and procreation is simply not possible for gay relationships, however much we love the people in them. The idea that this is a question of equality is very much a misguided one.

A very sad state of affairs exists in our country.

*I just found I'd writted "tardiness of this pope". Freud and fields.

God Bless Our Pope, the Great, the Good

Maybe he'll have more chance for serenity now

It seems like a great many people, myself amongst them, are struggling to take in the idea that the Benedict will not be Pope next month. I never thought I would live to see a pope resign. It all makes sense when I look back on it, but I'd never have guessed this is what he was building up to.

Time moves on. Humans are living longer than ever before and whereas in the past we would have died before we got too frail to work. The 19th and 20th centuries saw great advances in medicine meaning that we now live long enough that we get illnesses associated with old age we never used to. If you look at videos of Pius XII towards the end of his life, he sometimes appears to demonstrate the natural mental effects of great old age. I pray that the Holy Father hasn't found himself with the first signs of dementia, there certainly been no hint that he has, but one could understand how the curia would rather keep it under wraps if he did. He chose Our Lady of Lourdes's feast, by whose prayers so many people with such a variety of illnesses had been cured, to make his abdication announcement. He is always going to have been the best judge of when to step down. He is a brave man for having done so, hopefully in the future when a pope feels he can no longer carry out the petrine ministry to the extent required he will feel more comfortable abdicating because of this. The humility of seeing that the work of running the Church had got too much for his frail body is powerful.

The poor man never wanted to be pope, which I imagine has something to do with why he's been such a good pope. He tried to resign from the curia before John Paul II died but stayed in his post out of obedience and he talked about how he would resign the papacy if he ever felt he needed.
In 2009 Benedict placed his own pallium on the tomb of Pope St Peter Celestine V who himself abdicated in 1294
Suddenly, Archbishop Gänswein crying on last month when he was ordained a bishop makes sense and Pope Benedict's words instructing those four bishops he was ordaining to be courageous. This is a man that is deeply loved by many, not least of all me. It is a great shame that we won't get his encyclical on Faith, the only indicator of future behavious is past so presumably it would have been a great work.

England won't have a vote in the upcoming conclave, though to be honest I'm not sure that's a problem: I don't think we have a specific point of view that needs promoting within the Church. We can though expect the usual bunkum as people think that think that the Church has policies and not doctrines and so expect any number of things to change that simply will not. Jesus knew everything and did not lie. His teachings will be true forever as they have always been, so the Church won't change those teachings when she repeats them.

I'll be praying for him and I expect at some point to be asking for his prayers. I wonder if he will publish his retirements work or wait for it to be published after he's dead.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


I have a crazy amount of work on right now, but there will be a post on gay marriage before long.