Frank Brennan on Bishop Morris

Frank Brennan, SJ, is one of most well known Australian Catholics.  The Australian Jesuit priest and lawyer has been in the forefront of human-rights work and has spent much of his time working on behalf of the Aboriginal peoples in his country.  On his Facebook page he has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the removal of Toowoomba Bishop William Morris.  According to CathNews, his comments were intended for public consumption:

The forced departure of Bishop Bill Morris from Toowoomba was five years in the coming.  You would think someone in the Catholic Church could have done something to avoid it.  Every social institution is of course fallible; so too is the Catholic Church.  The Church is not a democracy, and it does not pretend to be.  Neither is it egalitarian.  It is very hierarchical.  And it does its dirty washing behind closed doors.

The Church is made up of members many of whom come from nation states like Australia where there are laws and processes which ensure transparency and natural justice.  If someone is to be sacked, they expect to get a fair hearing.  If a complaint against a citizen is to be upheld by someone in authority, the citizen has a right to know the case against them and a right to be heard.  These expectations don’t always translate readily to an ancient institution like the Catholic Church. 

William Morris has been removed as Bishop of Toowoomba earlier than when he wanted to retire.  A popular bishop, he nonetheless upset a minority of parishioners and a handful of priests some of whom sent regular complaints to Rome.  US bishop Charles Chaput visited the diocese and submitted a report to Vatican authorities who then alleged that Morris’s 18 years of pastoral leadership was flawed and defective.  That may have been Chaput’s assessment.  But we just don’t know.  Nor do we know the basis or evidence on which the assessment was made.   Morris has never seen the report.  Morris rightly claims to have been denied natural justice.  

After Chaput’s visit, all but three priests of the diocese wrote to Rome in support of Morris’s pastoral leadership.  So too did all the Pastoral Leaders and all members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.  Morris was told that he could not see the report and that he could meet with the Pope only if he were first to submit his resignation.  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.  

Overseeing a Queensland country diocese stretching from the Great Divide to the NT border, Morris knew he needed to provide for the day when there would be not enough priests to celebrate mass.  He wrote to the diocese in 2006 indicating that several responses “have been discussed internationally, nationally and locally” including the ordination of women and the recognition of other churches’ orders.  He invited discussion while remaining “committed to actively promoting vocations to the current celibate male priesthood and open to inviting priests from overseas.”  When quizzed by the media, he said he “would ordain single or married women and married men if church policy changed”.  So he was sacked, not for ordaining a woman or a married man – but for talking about it!  On the day of his sacking, his consultors, the most senior priests of the diocese, said, “In our view, Bishop Morris has not been treated fairly or respectfully. We find his removal profoundly disheartening. This judgment on his pastoral leadership stands in stark contrast to our lived experience of his ministry.”

This is a tragedy for anyone committed to the Church except for those like the chap who wrote on my Facebook:  “The guy was a cowboy, not a shepherd”.  It’s that sort of chap who probably started it all with complaints to Rome, behind closed doors.  We need more shepherds in the light and fewer cowboys in the dark.  Morris was a good shepherd even to those who acted as cowboys.

Professor Frank Brennan SJ AO
Public Policy Institute
Australian Catholic University

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Mark Harden
7 years 2 months ago
"The forced departure of Bishop Bill Morris from Toowoomba was five years in the coming.  You would think someone in the Catholic Church could have done something to avoid it. "

And the one person who was in the best position to be that someone: Bishop Bill Morris.

Five years. I agree, the patience of the Vatican in the face of this contumacious, disobedient bishop is rather astonishing. 
William Wilson
7 years 2 months ago
Thank God the Vatican no longer has the power to turn "heretics" over to the "secular arm" (euphemism for getting someone else to do your dirty work). Otherwise, Bishop Morris, among others, would be a cirspy citter by now.
7 years 2 months ago
"The atmosphere and tactics used by the church seem to be getting closer to what it was like to live in Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia."

Oh, please...here come the Nazi anaologies. While somewhat rare, Godwin's Law certainly seems to apply to liberal hyperbole for America Mag's commentors.
7 years 2 months ago
What will all of the liberal Catholics do when (if, heh, heh) they enter the kindom of God?  I suspect that will be a pretty tough hierarchy to deal with.
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Brett,

The analogy is hyperbole, but it is a ''stretch'' only as a matter of degree, not kind.  The tactics Rome uses are similar to those of many oppressive regimes throughout history, including those of the Roman Catholic church at various times in its past. (However, at least now, those who incur Rome's wrath are not burned at the stake, as another poster noted).  One would have hoped that the darkness of those eras of history would never revisit the church.  A vain hope, it seems.

Eugene Palumbo
7 years 2 months ago
Jim Keane points out that Bishop Morris never made the “recommendations” which Maria Byrd falsely attributes to him.  
But there’s more.  Ms. Byrd speaks falsely again when she says, “There were no qualifiers attached to [Bishop Morris’s] statement, as Fr. Brennan suggests.”  But Fr. Brennan never made any such suggestion, as readers can easily see by comparing his statement (above) with Bishop Morris’s letter (Jim Keane provided the link).
7 years 2 months ago
Alessandro,

I am glad you are interested in understanding the role of the papacy, magisterium and bishops.  A good place to read further on the topic (is not in America Magazine) is in the Catholic Catechism which is a sure norm for understanding the faith.

It is a truth and fact of the Catholic Faith that a woman cannot be a Catholic Priest.  This is settled and will never change.  (please America Magazine, chime in so that people like Alessandro will know the truth).

For this bishop to say otherwise is either maliciousness or ignorance.  Either is not good for a Bishop.
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
Having read the letter several times now (especially the section in question on the second page), I’d say that it’s crafted in such a way that the writer can play the victim and claim that he has been misunderstood (i.e., he can invoke a kind of “plausible deniability.”)  All in all, I’d say that it appears that the writer is using a writing style used by those who want to talk out of both sides of their mouth.

And yes, while it is technically correct to say that he did not write that he is “endorsing” the list, it’s equally true to say that he advocates being “open” to positions that are derived from the Protestant distorters (oops, I meant reformers).   

Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Juan,

Now it's your turn.  How do you define God?  And how do you define a "personal being"?
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
How many here will complain because the gentleman is not wearing clericals?

A good commentary.  How sad that the bishop who has devoted so much to the church can be removed by a handful of small-minded malcontents and not given a chance to even read the report about him. Sending Chaput was simply a pro forma move - his conclusions could have been written before he even left - he's hardly an open-minded person. These repeated scenarios reveal much about Rome and the pope but what it reveals is no longer a surprise, unfortunately.  It is standard operating procedure - against theologians and anyone else whom Rome sees as a threat of some kind. It is the kind of action associated with darkly repressive governments and unholy dictatorships. Will it reach the point when every priest, every religious sister, every teacher in a Catholic school will be locking doors and looking over their shoulders simply in order to speak freely?  The atmosphere and tactics used by the church seem to be getting closer to what it was like to live in Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia.  Trust no-one because the secret eyes and ears might report you to Rome. But, that was the way it was done in the Inquisition and the CDF is the Inquisition with an updated name.  But even with an updated name, it seems that the church is going back to the tactics of the Inquisition. 

Yet Rome still does nothing about pedophile protecting bishops, or even about pedophile bishops.

 When will the light shine  again in the church that claims to be the direct descendant of the first Christians?  The darkness that has descended over the Church in the last thirty years is getting to be impenetrable. Many more will leave so that they can breathe fresh air and again be bathed in the light of Christ's love, rather than continue to dwell in the ever blacker darkness of a church dominated by men who want to return it to the midaevil times.

 
ed gleason
7 years 2 months ago
Sending A/B Chaput was cynicism gone amok.  The Church is not flourishing but stumbling badly in every state that has democratic values and processes. Is it not so that the present hierarchy were educated and formed in a culture that resists and diminishes democratic values? This the sole reason why we have had the cover-up of the sex abuse so the dismissing Morris because of secret letters is small potatoes as  a fascist tactic.  We know  that the men who succeeded in climbing the hierarchal ladder were educated and formed with fascist tendencies, so this is what can be expected.. St Thomas said " You become what you know"  
Vince Killoran
7 years 2 months ago
Thanks Fr. Brennan.

We are in a bad way when a bishop is sacked for raising such an important concern. I would give a bishop struggling in a diocese more credence than the slipper & velvet crowd doing a fly-in assessment. 
7 years 2 months ago
 
The below is a list of recommendations proposed by the Bishop in his 2006 Pastoral Letter intended to remedy an anticipated shortage of priests. (There were no qualifiers attached to this statement, as Fr. Brennan suggests) .
 
(1) ordaining married, single or widowed men who are chosen and endorsed by their local parish community;
 
(2) welcoming former priests, married or single, back to active ministry;
 
(3) ordaining women, married or single;
 

(4) recognising Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church Orders.?
 




david power
7 years 2 months ago
Jim Keane,

I think it is harsh to say that Maria was being dishonest.
In her desire to protect what she believes to be the integrity of the Church she was maybe ,as we all are at times, "selective" in her telling of the story.
At the moment there are 400,000 priests in the world with 1.2 billion catholics.Do the math.One priest for every 3000 thousand baptized.
Those numbers are getting wore by the year.
 If even 1 % decided to be saints and went the whole hog on sanctity.Spiritual direction ,frequent confession etc there would be mayhem.  
Somebody could respond that there will be an explosion of vocations soon. 
But that could only be wishful thinking .
Possible solutions? 1 million female spiritual directors. Married priests or else a far more vibrant diaconate aided by programmes that  help them to live married life and serve the Church.The real poser for the Church hierarchy is how to manage this change without losing power,control or authority. This is a true problem.A Roncalli would just trust in God , but such reckless men come along once a lifetime. Can anybody see another path?Another way to even up the numbers?If not ,then the Protestants will beat us and we can't let that happen. Surely the very thought should unite us all even if God can't.  
Jack Barry
7 years 2 months ago
It is polite understatement to say that Maria's post is dishonest.    Her attribution to Morris of recommendations has no support whatsoever in his letter.   His statement about his commitment makes very clear where he stands.   Fabricated criticisms are unworthy and useless contributions to a mess that is already complicated enough.   
http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/pdf/20110504_3207410_pastoralLetter.pdf
William Wilson
7 years 2 months ago
Regarding Michale Brooks' comment, what are the right-wingers in and out of the official Roman hierarchy going to do when they get to the pearly gates and find out that God does not take the hierarchs of the "official" church nearly as seriously as they take themselves?
7 years 2 months ago
Quite relevant is john Allen's piece on "creeping infallibility" today.
Allen states that BXVI is concerned that if a doctrine doesn't fit the tight comartment of traditional infallibility, then it will be seen as "up for grabs."
I think this is the awful kind of straw man that rules the CDF mentality and that serious inquirey questioning the party line is deadened!
I agree with several here BTW that Ms. Byrd is falsely  making a point to satisfy her point of view.
That's part of the terrible growing divide in our Church!
david power
7 years 2 months ago
Jack and Gene,

Jim could have phrased it differently.I was initially very much on the side of Bishop Morris but having done as Gene suggests and reading the letter I am a little shocked.
I am no fan of the late Pope but even Osama Bin Laden knew that the whole women priests thing was a no-goer for the RCC.
Liberals spent years stamping their feet on the very fact that the Pope had barred discussion on the matter.
You would have to be a lot more dishonest than you claim Maria to be to say that the Bishop does not put women Priests up as one of the possibilities.
Why do it?
They surely have access to communication down in Oz and he knew that putting that in a letter is against the very thought of the Church.
He gave two fingers to the Church leaders .Good on him!!! 
To play all coy and innocence later is to place yourself on the same brazen level as the hierarchy.Why do it?Just throwing it out there?A topic of discussion?
Give me a break.Jack and Gene I would guess that you are both in favour of women priests.You are entitled to your opinions but please come down of your high horses to express them.   You disagreed with Maria(I do too ,quite often) but if she had written something favourable to your way of thinking their would have been no such scholarly references. 
david power
7 years 2 months ago
I have re-read the document again and feel that I am on the edge of a copernican breakthrough in understanding.Could somebody please explain to me how Maria's message was wrong?This is a genuine question not a faux question or a put up.I am bewtiched ,bothered and bewildered.
The letter says that "options we will have to look at"  and then puts married priests,women priests, and the recognition of other orders such as Anglicans etc.
I am now for Married Priests.Debating on women priests to see how much of the teaching is actual theology and how much misogyny and on the ecumenical question I think the sooner we answer the prayer of Christ as he sweat blood the better.

But where is Maria wrong?
Does the letter contain the above  statements?Today I worked for 12 hours and so my head is a little fuzzy.    
7 years 2 months ago
At the very least it is ignorant to suggest that woman priests are a solution to the priest shortage.  Woman cannot be priests.  Someone needs to give the bishop a catechism.

Why would any Jesuit think that someone who is wrong about such a basic truth of Catholicism would make a good bishop???
Todd Flowerday
7 years 2 months ago
"I think it is harsh to say that Maria was being dishonest."

If her intent was to argue her own point, like Temple Police, we can say it was honestly ideological.

I also read the Bishop Morris material. Like others caught in the pseudo-orthodox crossfire, he failed to utter *all* the right words. For that crime, he gets fast-tracked to retirement faster than, well, a pedophile pimp.
Jack Barry
7 years 2 months ago
David Power - 
I prefer the conclusions and recommendations after the discussion, not before.  Maria's post is wrong because the first line is false.  There is nothing there to agree or disagree with.   See the letter.  It's hard to disagree with Bishop Morris's dependent clause which identifies ideas widely discussed  -  they have been and continue to be widely discussed.  I find no place where he gives his conclusion and/or recommendation on any of the items.  
 
For the Pope or anyone else to forbid discussion of a topic in a world plagued by literacy and broadband communications is silly.  To do so while watching the deployable priesthood fade away is irresponsible.   Bishop Morris was willing at least to try to address the situation that surrounds him in his diocese now and exists in many hundreds elsewhere (a problem you mention in #12 above).  
Jim McCrea
7 years 2 months ago
"Maria Byrd's comment is dishonest." 


How can that be?  I'm sure she cleared it through her favorite Jesuit (oh, Maria - I keep forgetting; tell us again).



Oh, yes - John Hardon. 
Jim McCrea
7 years 2 months ago
"Women cannot be priests" is a BASIC TRUTH of Catholicism!!!!


That's quite a claim!  I guess that puts it right up there with the Nicene Creed and The Apostle's Creed.


We're not talking creeping infallibility, here:  this is flat out creeping heresy.


Oh, I know the mantra:

The pope said it.
I believe it.
That settles it.


Otherwise known as papalolatry.
7 years 2 months ago

@ Father Keane:

I stand corrected. Options, not recommendations. Well, let's examine this. The Oxford English Dictionary give us the definition of option: 1 a thing that is or may be chosen:[in singular] the freedom, power , or right to choose something:she was given the option of resigning or being dismissedhe has no option but to pay up.

Are we saying that the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a human construct for others to interpret as they are inclined?

Father Brennan said: "When quizzed by the media, he said he “would ordain single or married women and married men if church policy changed”. Maybe. That is not, however, what the letter said. One is led to believe by Fr. Brennan that this was what the Bishop intended. The pastoral letter does not include such a qualifying statement. Perhaps I have misunderstood.

@ David: My very first thought when reading the initial post about the Bishop was: did he never consider prayer? What of divine providence? Did he never consider that God does nothing without purpose? There is nothing that He does not allow. Maybe, for whatever reason, the good Lord does not want an over abundance of priests. Maybe he wants the faithful to come to Him, on their knees and beg Him for help. If we are faithful, if we love Him, we trust Him, we count on Him to come through. We are obedient. We submit our will and our reason to those in authority who represent God, and, there is nothing more difficult. The Bishop of Rome is Christ's delegate. I know this is just too much for many here to believe, but that is the deal. That is the way Christ set up His church. The litmus test for a faithful Catholic is his obedience to Rome.


Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Maria,

The litmus test for a faithful Christian, including Catholics, is obedience to God. Rome is full of men - human beings just like you and I and Bishop Morris -  and nobody owes them absolute, unquestioning ''obedience'' - that belongs only to God. Sometimes one must ''disobey'' human men in order to be obedient to God.  Jesus was very clear about this - he was obedient to God in his ''disobedience'' to religious leaders. 

There is a danger of slipping into a form of idolatry when equating ''the church'' and the pope to God.  The pope is just a man -  fallible and very human. He is not God.
7 years 2 months ago
Jim McCrea,

Catholicism has an infallible pope and a hierarchy and Jesuits who are voluntarily promise obedience to the pope.  Hopefuly some of them will chime in to set you straight.  This a Jesuit publication, right?

http://www.zenit.org/article-22012?l=english
7 years 2 months ago
Anne Chapman,
These issues were settled with the reformation and counter-reformation.  No need to dig up the past!  Why re-invent the wheel?
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Joe,

 Do you believe that the pope is to be equated to God?
7 years 2 months ago
Anne,

No.  But I am Catholic, not protestant.  God instituted the office of the papacy.

Anne, do you think God has the right to give us the papacy?
7 years 2 months ago
Wow, you really have a pastoral touch there, Jim!

Unbelievable...
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Joe,

Men created the papacy as the church has known it in the post-Constantine era, not God.  Those who say that obedience is owed to men instead of God are in danger of committing the sin of idolatry, because they put the papacy (and the institution called the Roman Catholic church) in the place of God.  The pope is a human being, with all that being human implies.  Declaring that absolute obedience is owed to a man or an institution is a grave misunderstanding of the proper place of the human being in relation to God.  And that is true whether one is a Catholic or a Protestant. 
Alessandro Bresba
7 years 2 months ago
Joe,

the Catholic Church does not have an infallible pope and papal infallibility does not mean that whatever a pope says or does is infallibly correct.  Rather, it means that when the pope defines a doctrine on a matter of faith or morals, and while doing so he does it explicitly ex-cathedra (that is while explicitly speaking through the power of his papal charism) then, and only then, does the Catholic Church argue that the pope is infallible.  This was outlined in the fourth chapter of the fourth session of the First Vatican Council.

The matter of forcing the Bishop of Toowoomba from his seat is a matter of juridical hierarchy, perhaps, or a matter of ecclesial administration.  It is not a matter of defining dotrine of faith and morals.  Therefore it is possible that the pope was in error when he did this.

We shouldn't forget that the Bishop of Toowoomba makes Christ present to his flock in Toowoomba in a very real way, just as much as the Bishop of Rome makes Christ present to the Romans.  That the Roman See has primacy over other sees does not make Bishop Morris any less of a bishop than Bishop Benedict.  That one bishop, even the Roman one, should remove another without use of Canon Law is no small matter and shouldn't be treated as such.
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Rome's fear of women becomes more and more apparent with each panicky move it takes against those who want to discuss women's ordination.  It reserves its harshest and most unyielding punishments for those who dare even suggest that women, made in God's image, should not be denied a sacrament due to gender.  It has yet to apply any such discipline to any bishop who hid the crimes of pedophile priests, or, indeed, so far to a bishop who is himself a pedophile priest.  Judging by actions (rather than by the thousands of empty words and crocodile tears spilled by the pope in front of the cameras - always in front of the cameras), the rape of children is apparently not very important to Rome given the reality that  Rome has chosen not to use any kind of discipline on those who permitted it to happen.

It is also interesting to see how some men (and a few women) react so violently to the mere suggestion of women priests. Those who think that this is a settled matter have not followed the trajectory of this issue in the church since John Paul II tried (in vain) to stop all discussion of it, followed by Ratzinger attempting again to halt all discussion by declaring it to be some kind of quasi-infallible teaching - apparently it doesn't even come close to meeting any previously held definition of infallibility, but the man tried and continues to try. And both John Paul II and Ratzinger, and now Benedict have failed to stop this discussion. Perhaps because it's difficult to silence the Holy Spirit.

The more Rome tries to suppress, the more people pay attention and ask themselves - Is this from God or from men?  The answer to most is quite obvious - this is a construct of men, and is not of God.  It is clearly not of God any more than the church's teaching that the earth is the center of the universe was of God - something that was ''settled'' and definitively taught for 1600 years but proved to be wrong.  The church taught that slavery was moral and ''in accord with natural law'' for almost 2000 years. But, that too was a fallible and wrong understanding of men, and not from God. When a teaching is scientifically wrong (for example, the teaching for which Galileo was tried for heresy) or is morally wrong (the teaching on slavery), it cannot stand.  The teaching that women are second-class citizens of God's church is an injustice - therefore it is morally wrong and it too will fall someday. It often takes the church a very, very long time to see what is clearly in front of them all the time.: just as it is wrong to buy and sell and own other human beings it is wrong to deny a sacrament to someone made in God's image based only on dna.

In the meantime, some of those whose blood pressure goes up at the very thought that women really are equal to men might want to learn some deep breathing or meditation techniques to keep it under better control.
7 years 2 months ago
Yes Anne,
Men are equal in dignity to woman but not the same.  We can never be mothers.  This troubles me greatly but I trust that the Creator knows better.
Peace
7 years 2 months ago
Anne: With all due deference, disobedience is neither a fruit nor a gift of the Holy Spirt.
Jack Barry
7 years 2 months ago
Maria  -  

Disobedience becomes a serious moral obligation under certain conditions.  Blind obedience then is wrong.  Moral theologians and Nuremberg lawyers can explain the details better than I, bur a basic understanding is applicable to some of what has been reported about Bishop Morris's recent years of experience with the Vatican. 
david power
7 years 2 months ago
Maria,

You should not reduce our Faith in Christ to a cut and paste job.There are many examples where "disobedience" could be the work of the Holy Spirit.
God ,like a good cardplayer, would not probably show us His hand on this matter.
Bishops were obedient to the point of virtue during the past decades concerning the sexual abuse .
Can they now lay it at the feet of the Holy Spirit?Of course not.You don't think so either.
By using a language that is  best suited to a 1950's movie we limit the drama of what our faith is.
In "The Mission" Fr Gabriel was disobedient at the end  and is killed with the Eucharist held aloft.
Should  he have abandoned the Indians?
To reason that "I am under orders" is the act of a coward more often than not.He prayed and stayed.Oscar Romero too was given a dressing down when he went to the Vatican prior to his death and there is every likelihood that the bullets that hit him on the altar saved him the fate of Bishop Morris.Romero was a holy man who found himself in the same situation as Fr Gabriel.In fact ,the character from the movie is probably based on Romero in some way.At least his death.Both are  devout men  and Romero was long attacked for being "conservative".
Romero though was up against right-wing maniacs and this was not part of the script. So essentially no martyrdom.
Unlike this priest who had a holy passport. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerzy_Popie%C5%82uszko

The above may have been a holy man but how can you justify not having Romero as a martyr and this guy recognised.

Holy ,most holy disobedience. 

 
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
Anne – in comment #26 you wrote: “The litmus test for a faithful Christian, including Catholics, is obedience to God.” 

Question: What do you mean when you say the word “God”?
  I am asking because I’ve learned from experience that everyone means something different when they say the word “God.”
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
To be obedient, IMHO, does not mean that we either discard reason or Divine revelation as mediated to us by Christ and the Holy Spirit through the Church Christ established and maintains. 

How one maintains the balance between the use of reason and fidelity to Divine revelation, is, of course, going to be slightly different for each of us.  As long as one is not espousing a true heresy (or act as a wolf in sheep's clothing) shouldn't we allow each person the freedom to find that balance on their own?
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
Oops - I should have waited to hit the post button:

...(or as long as one is not a wolf in sheep's clothing)...

7 years 2 months ago
Yes, I know all about enlightened obedience. I have read St. Ignatius' letter on obedience. The repetitive motif seems to be the "virtue of disobedience".The imperative to claim one's righteous need for disobedience, owing to some imagined moral superiority, is not my concern.  I am not so full of virtue that I need worry myself about such matters. I have trouble enough doing what the Lord asks of me, namely, just resisting my sinful impulses which seems to recur with rapidity and consistency,
david power
7 years 2 months ago
Maria,

I understand your point.
We are very self-orientated people and I do not deny that I am worse than most.
I see clearly how things such as history and talk of rights can be used to pervert the true Will of God.
I have read the letter by St Ignatius so often I could write a book on it.All of the letters by Ignatius are worth reading again and again despite the rigid style at times..
I think God is asking a lot more of you than to resist. 
St Ignatius taught that scruples were always the work of the devil.Always.
In the early period of the Jesuits ,they showed an incredible individuality that scandalized many.The not singing masses,the refusal of a distinctive dress etc(is Bishop Morris a Jebbie?) but of course the strict and dogmatic insistence on the examen. The formidable formation of conscience.  
Ignatius found God even in his weakness.The Church can aid us in recognizing Jesus, I think everybody who writes here owes a debt to the Church  . The Church also can block us and that is why "discernment" is such a wonderful gift of the Jesuits.God is judging the heart and trying to find a way in.Also in the Vatican He is seeking a way in.            
7 years 2 months ago
I think God is asking a lot more of you than to resist. 
St Ignatius taught that scruples were always the work of the devil.Always

David: I understand. I know that He asks more, so much more. It is so hard to communicate in print sometimes-what I mean to say is: don't we first try to understand our faith , properly form our conscience then try to do what He asks of us. Don't we start small? Christ was our model of obedience. He is our Creator and he obeyed creatures, for heaven's sake! I have been reading Faustina's diary. Christ spoke to her and said:

535 (11) Obedience.  I have come to do My Father's will. I obeyed My parents, I obeyed My tormentors and now I obey the priests.

If this is how our Savior behaved are we not to follow His example? We are not wiser than the Master, right?  Ingatius had a very well developed sense of his own sin. It is how He came to know God and his Mercy. Scrupulous? That is for others to say. I just think we over complicate matters where God's will is concerned. We can't go wrong with humility, right?
7 years 2 months ago
Such vitriol among co-religionists.  No wonder most people have tuned it all out.

We seem inclined these days to lionize those who "speak truth to power" and challenge publicly and loudly.  I am struck by the example of those reformers who immediately prior to Vatican II suffered in obedient and patient silence: Murray, de Lubac, Congar, even Rahner.  Eventually almost all of their opinions became the dominant view.  Seems to me that tactic might be more effective than the press release and public recriminations we often see today.  I recognize there is a time to "speak truth to power", but I wonder if we still recognize room for the example of those theologians: humble and prudential silence and patience.
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Juan,

When I use the word God, I think of two things primarily - what God does - God creates - and what God is - God is love.

Joe,

There is no dignity (much less ''equal'' dignity)  in being denied a sacrament due to gender. There is no dignity in having patriarchal-minded men in Rome define the roles they think women should fill in both the church and in society. And there is no dignity in demands that women ''assent'' to teachings that deny the feminine.  Without women priests, there are no women whose feminine understandings and insights help define the teachings of the ''magesterium.''  The church denigrates the feminine - in the Roman Catholic church, women may only do what the men in Rome ''allow'' them to do; they may only ''be'' what the men in Rome decide they should be. 

God made them male and female in God's image.  In denying women, the church is literally choosing to operate with half a brain - and denying God in the process.  And THE church suffers.  What is so sad is that it suffers because of something that is so very common - and too often damaging - male ego.
7 years 2 months ago
Jeff: Aren't you a wise head and a cool drink of water? lol.

Anne: Please don't take this the wrong way. Read the lives of the Saints: Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Jesus, Benedicta of the Cross. Any of them. Read the lives of women like Phillipine Duschene, Sophie Barat. The church loves us, Anne, truly, she does.

One final point on the Morris matter. I would like to post something from  Hardon. I know this is not appreciated, Fr. Keane, but if you would just bear w/ me, it helps me explain my position. It is long. You are free to delete as you wish.


One phase of ecclesiastical obedience more directly affects the clergy, men and women under vows, and, in general, those who are technically not the laity. But the principles which underlie it have application to all Catholics, including the lay people in the world. It may happen that a command seems unreasonable on the score of inefficiency, ineptitude, or any one of a dozen natural causes. Assuming that due representation has been made and there is no suspicion of sin if the order is carried out, the perfectly obedient man will look for reasons to support the precept and instinctively avoid any mental criticism.
The ground for this attitude is once more the faith. From a natural standpoint the order may be a poor decision and scarcely suited to achieve the purpose intended, but supernaturally a Catholic knows that his obedience can never be fruitless. When the apostles cast their nets into the water at the bidding of Christ, they were obedient, as Peter said, only the word of the Master; and the miraculous draught which followed symbolizes this higher than ordinary providence, which disposes all things surely to their appointed end as foreseen and directed by God and beyond the calculations of men. There is no question here of conceiving a deus ex machina or relying on miracles, while admitting their possibility. It is rather a firm belief that a person's submission to the divine will has a guarantee of success that he can always hope for from the One whom he ultimately obeys, because it involves the prevision of myriad hidden forces, which He infallibly foresees, and their infinite combinations, which He infallibly designs.
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
Hi Anne – Ok, so would it be accurate to say that this is what you are saying:

“The litmus test for a faithful Christian, including Catholics, is obedience to a being that creates and a being that is love?
 

Is that right?
david power
7 years 2 months ago
lmao    ..................

I picture a time in the future where a camera will go to all of us and we will be asked some question and then in unison we will all respond "As Fr Hardon said..." The best will be Jim Mcrea.
Slowly but surely Maria will have his name on all lips.There will no longer be conservative and liberal catholics but those in favour of Fr John and those besotted by him.

My mantra for tomorrow is "He infallibly foresees,and their infinite combinations,which he infalliblly designs".

  

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