Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Obedience

The only suitable reply one can imagine to Madeleine Bunting's apparent public apostasy in 'The Guardian', an India Knight moment for besandalled nut eaters, has already been made in the lower paragraphs of this post by Mark Shea -
"Oh, and speaking of strong messages: repent and return to the Church Jesus Christ founded or you risk the everlasting fires of hell for your pride. Jesus said of the Eucharist "Do this in memory of me." How dare you disobey him and ignore his final command and greatest gift?"
It is not enough to be faithful. We must approach God like children, and as such it is necessary for us to be obedient. If you can't handle being obedient and accept the direction of those in the line of apostolic succession, then The Sage of Seattle has done you the favour of telling you what might be in store far better than I can.
It is sometimes both astonishing and depressing to actually see how many well read and literate people seem to regard their duties as members of the Catholic Church as being less onerous and more flexible than the rules attaching to their membership of the gym, or the bowling club.
In the same vein, it is depressing to see someone who may or may not be the composer James MacMillan writing of the arrangements for The Holy Father's public Mass at Bellahouston Park, in, of all places, the comments section of a blog by Damian Thompson, a commentator whose conception of obedience often seems, in my opinion, to be elastic, that,
"The letters to Scottish parishes from "Mission Control" have all been negative, stressing the difficulties of going to Bellahouston etc. It feels as if there are some in the Church who are keen on making this visit a failure. When the dust has settled there has to be an investigation.
Some priests "of a certain age" have deliberately gone out of their way to discourage attendance at the Mass. They need to go. The new generation is orthodox, and loves the beauty of the Faith and Christ's legacy on earth - the Church. As soon as the weeds are swept away, the garden can grow again."
In my opinion, it is unconscionable for any Catholic, no matter how distinguished they might be, to suggest that any Catholic clergy might seek to discourage attendance at a Papal Mass. For the avoidance of doubt, this has not been my experience in my parish, where efforts to encourage the faithful to attend have been consistent. The person making this statement should be called upon to produce evidence in its support, or else they risk doing great damage to their credibility.
Sadly, the recent public interfaces between ecclesiology and criminology have shown that the Catholic clergy has contained more than its fair share of bad apples, but to describe those untainted by scandal as 'weeds', fit only for the compost heap, shows, in my opinion, a profound lack respect both for the priesthood and our priests. While clericalism is corrosive of trust in our church and its institutions, anti-clericalism is equally corrosive of our duty to be obedient towards its teachings and, by extension, to accept the direction of her priests. While the person who wrote that might consider themself to be orthodox, in reality their sentiments are the tawdriest mirror image of the southern European anti-clericalism which may have led souls to Hell. It is not appropriate for any layman to publicly pontificate upon whether any priest or any bishop is unfit for office. Whoever wrote it might care to moderate their language in future.

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2 Comments:

Blogger berenike said...

Well, get hold of a copy of the letter from Fr James ?Bell in the parishes of the Aberdeen diocese on the last Sunday of July or first of August. Then imagine it read out with commentary along exactly the same lines.

This letter was read out at the one Sunday Mass (an evenign one) the day before the deadline for signing up.

You'll have evidence then.

16 September, 2010 23:18  
Blogger Martin said...

It should be noted that Martin Kelly takes no legal responsibility is taken for comment posted on this blog, and boarders will be repelled with extreme prejudice.

Berenike,

I posted your comment, and have since been unable to find the letter to which you refer. However, I take the liberty of posting an entry from the parish bulletin of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Inverness, dated 21/08/2010 in its entirety

-
"I am writing to everyone in the Parishes which are served from St Mary’s, Inverness to raise some issues with you which need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Please take the time to read, to pray and to act.

The Papal Visit: The Bellahouston Mass on Thu 16 Sep 10

We have spare places in our allocation for seats. Many of you have been generous and kind and have made donations to support the attendance of others who might find the suggested £20 per person difficult. Thank you for that. At no time have we expected that family groups, with young children, should have to pay £20 per person. There are a few ways available to subsidise and I would not want anyone to be deterred from going by the costs alone. You will recall that in the previous letter about this I clarified the position regarding shuttle buses from the coach park to Bellahouston Park. For those who would find the walk between the two locations difficult there will be buses. You will recall that portable seats, folding chairs, may be taken. There will be retail outlets catering for food, drink and souvenirs. You would be advised nevertheless to take some food and drink of your own. There will be many people attending. Bellahouston Park is spacious. There will be a plentiful supply of loos!

I attended a Meeting in Glasgow last Thursday (as Diocesan Treasurer). I was reassured by the expertise, enthusiasm and dedication of those organising this event. There is an enormous amount of good-will being expressed by the Glasgow City Council which is being generous with practical help and assistance in a wide variety of ways.

What is needed is your fullest co-operation. It is not too late to sign up for Bellahouston.

Please spread this word. Please think again if you had already decided not to go. Please actively consider how you might attend, and who you will take with you. This is an historic occasion and one which enables us to show the Catholic Church in a good light, supporting our Holy Father by making him welcome in Scotland, being at Mass with him.

There are at the back of the churches new copies of the Bellahouston Mass letter, and attendance sheets for you to sign up for Bellahouston. Please help to make this the wonderful occasion it ought to be. That really does depend on us taking up the challenge.

I am hoping and praying that many of you will respond to this invitation."

These would not seem to be the words of a person intent on frustrating the Papal visit. I did not go to Bellahoustoun, for two reasons. The first is that I'm a cripple, and can't spend seven hours in the open. The second was the donation of £20.00. If that makes me a bad Catholic, I will have no choice but to accept the judgment due to me. No further comments will be posted. Causa finita est.

19 September, 2010 17:37  

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