Ireland: Association of Catholic Priests

It’s not just in Austria. Now priests in Ireland are organizing and pushing for liberalizing reforms, including:

  • A redesigning of ministry in the Church, in order to develop the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female.
  • A re-structuring of the governing system of the Church, basing it on service rather than on power, and encouraging at every level a culture of consultation and transparency, particularly in the appointment of Church leaders.
  • Liturgical celebrations that use rituals and language that are easily understood, inclusive and accessible to all.

I wonder how they feel about the new missal translation. Should PrayTell check into it?

BTW, PrayTell rather enjoys reporting on the various dramas and controversies in the Church (you will have noticed), but that certainly doesn’t mean that we agree with all the people we’re reporting on. In our judgment, the Catholic Church is now  in a period of ferment, confusion, creativity, frustration, ambiguity, and renewal. So many calls for reform are coming from so many directions, and they’re not getting any quieter. We rather doubt it will work for Church authorities to clamp down and put a lid on the discussions. Too much pressure is building up in too many places. As for what will come of it, we have no idea. We hope we are making our small contribution to the discusion by spreading newsworthy information and facilitating open discussion. We’re sure the Spirit is blowing somewhere in all this, but we don’t claim to know where.

See the story on the new Irish association here.

37 comments

  1. +JMJ+

    You might as well.

    One of their aims is the “Full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council”, which, according to them, includes “An equal place for women in all areas of Church life, including the governing systems and the various forms of ministry” and “A re-evaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice that recognises the profound mystery of human sexuality and the experience and wisdom of God’s people.”

    This sounds to me like an implicit call for women’s ordination (“to govern” is one of the offices of the bishop, is it not?) and for changing the Church’s teaching on sexual morality.

    What is meant by “the profound mystery of human sexuality”?

    And why is it assumed that “the experience and wisdom of God’s people” is necessarily worthy of positive recognition (which I assume is the direction they wish to take it) in this regard? “God’s people” in the recent and very very distant past have made some terrible errors in judgment when it came to their “experience and wisdom” about the things of God, so while our experience and wisdom deserve to be taken into consideration, this must be done with a careful and discerning spiritual eye, lest we elevate our contemporary “experience and wisdom” to the level of divine revelation.

  2. +JMJ+

    I would also like to point out what Vatican II says concerning birth control (which falls under “Catholic sexual teaching”).

    It is mentioned in Part II, Chapter 1 of Gaudium et Spes (“Some Problems of Special Urgency: Fostering the Nobility of Marriage and the Family”): “[S]ons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law (14).”

    Footnote 14 says, in part:

    Cf. Pius XI, Casti Connubii (AAS 22 (1930), DZ 3716-3718); Pius XII, Allocutio Conventui Unionis Italicae inter Obstetrices (AAS 43 (1951), pp. 835-854); Paul VI, Address to a group of cardinals, (AAS 56 (1964), pp. 581-589). Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment.

    1. Jeffrey –

      I respect your noble effort, but I have the impression that most Catholics have long since made up their mind on this, whether we like it or not. I recently read that 90% of Catholics disagree with HV, but among those of childbearing age, 95% disagree. So it’s pretty widespread among the rank and file devout, practicing Catholics, obviously. For these people, I rather doubt that any quotations from Paul VI or Pius XI or any other Pope would make the slightest difference.

      I also have the words of Cardinal Suenens ringing in my ears – he begged the Pope (in vain) to let the Council fathers discuss the issue, because “We don’t need another Galileo case, one is enough.”

      Those trying to bring the whole church around to agreement with the magisterium on this issue have a steep climb indeed ahead of them.
      awr

      1. +JMJ+

        Unfortunately, Fr. Anthony, your respect for my noble effort gets no one anywhere.

        Yes, there is a steep climb ahead for those Catholics who desire to bring their friends and loved ones (and any other person) to acknowledge and accept the Church’s teaching on on this matter. There is also a steep climb ahead for those Catholics who are, dare I say, addicted to a contraceptive way of life, who want to break out of it and embrace a natural approach to sexuality.

        I think it is less about quotes from Paul VI or Pius XII — although there are some people who just have never read (or heard) for themselves just what the Church teaches and why, so for them, quotes might help. But I think it is more about “quotes” from family members and friends who have accepted the Church’s teaching. In other words, it’s about Catholics engaging others on this matter at a personal (and pastoral) level.

        And how are we to approach other matters of faith and morals that large numbers of Catholics just don’t feel like believing? Is the so-called “primacy of conscience” now the supreme authority?

        “Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality.” (Gaudium et Spes 16)

        What the Catechism teaches about conscience (#1777-1794) is far more robust and nuanced than mere “primary of conscience.”

      2. The implicit question becomes, “By what means did the faithful come to these conclusions? Was it through a mature consideration of the teachings of the Church, at least in part, or the result of an ambient culture’s influence for good or ill?” In the face of a world where the pleasure principle is the highest good, and where life is measured by its utility rather than its dignity, the Church is right to maintain its magisterial teaching. I think it’s important to remember that the Church doesn’t exist to condone or strengthen this culture but to offer a radical alternative.

        The Blessed Mother gave her Yes –her Fiat– to God’s grace and love, and her selfless act became the means by which Our Savior entered the world. This example of love and responsibility through the exemplar of Our Lady seems to me nothing less than a countercultural course of true, selfless love. While Vatican II called Catholics to engage the world, it did not ask us to be of the world, but to be its preserving, purifying salt (Mt.5:13-16; Lumen Gentium 9).

        To tie this back to the larger blogpost: In the end measure, how can we be best faithful? By cooperating with a culture that is increasingly selfish? Or by seeking the narrow gate that Christ has thrown open to us, and eschewing the broad highways of the world (Mt.7:13-14)? I’m concerned with a culture that is inimical to the Christian faith and I look to the Holy Father, who is asking us to re-evangelize in humility rather than proceed as we are.

  3. ‘One of their aims is the “Full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council”, which, according to them, includes “An equal place for women in all areas of Church life, including the governing systems and the various forms of ministry” and “A re-evaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice that recognises the profound mystery of human sexuality and the experience and wisdom of God’s people.”’

    Hurrah! It’s about time.

    Jeffrey, when you put +JMJ+ at the top of your posts, is that to ward off evil spirits, or just to make a conspicuous show of your personal piety? I notice it’s not on all of them.

    1. +JMJ+

      Rita, it is neither to “ward off evil spirits” (though if it accomplishes that, I’m all for it!) nor to “make a conspicuous show of [my] personal piety.” If it has come off that way, I apologize, and I certainly hope it doesn’t offend anyone here.

      It’s a very recent thing I’ve been doing (since yesterday or the day before) to remind me to write with charity. I’d rather not say distasteful or otherwise uncharitable things under the “signature” of the Holy Family.

      If anyone finds it inappropriate, I could suppose I could accommodate them by simply deleting it from the top of my comments after I have written them, although I’d really hope that degree of censorship would not be asked of me.

      (After-thought: if writing it as a reminder to be charitable is essentially a “conspicious display of [my] personal piety,” then I amend my response accordingly.)

      1. My dear Jeffrey, I now see what you are trying to do with your superscription. Thank you for explaining. Speaking for myself, however, I must say that this practice seems ostentatious to me. (At least, on a blog. It would be different on a personal letter or in a diary.) It rouses the suspicion that you see yourself either as holier than others who post, or more in need of divine help. I am all for charity, but I would encourage you to reconsider this practice in light of Matthew 6:1–8. God bless.

      2. Jeffrey, make sure you remove any crucifixes from your walls, too. And never wear a scapular. If you go to confession make sure no one sees you in line.

      3. Kathy, you know very well those aren’t the same. I think it is all too rare for people to be as helpfully honest to others as Rita was.
        awr

      4. Ms. Ferrone,

        It seems to me that you are more than welcome to refrain from using the “signature” of the holy family if you find it ostentatious or even offensive.

      5. I guess I have to decide between following my conscience in this matter and respecting the wishes of the editorial staff of Pray Tell.

        Is my inclusion of the “signature” in my comments uncharitable or disrespectful in any way? Does it constitute a personal attack or libel? Is it ecumenically insensitive?

        I apologize again to whomever I irritated or aroused suspicion in, but I wish to make it clear exactly why I have been using the “signature”, which is to remind and inspire me to uphold the Comments Policy of Pray Tell (especially #3).

        I’ve stated my intent. If it is still the desire of the editorial staff for me to discontinue its use, I will respectfully obey.

        (I think I may have lost either way. By using the “signature” and explaining/defending myself, I have probably come off as pretentious and “holier than thou” despite my best efforts.)

      6. Jeffrey – I leave it up to you. It didn’t bother me much, but I appreciated Rita’s honesty because I suspect she speaks for many others. I took your practice to be sincere personal piety – but frankly, when JD hopped on the bandwagon I thought it was getting a bit obnoxious and divisive. I know what I’d do if I were you, but you can do as you wish.
        Pax,
        Fr. Anthony

      7. +JMJ+

        Fr. Anthony, I cannot speak for John Drake, but I never intended for my gesture to be obnoxious or divisive, any more than your frequent signing-off with “Pax”, which no one seems to takes issue with.

        In light of your gracious permission, I will continue to use it. Thank you, and “Pax” back atchya. 🙂

    2. Isn’t it interesting that, when I offer a bit of support to Mr. Pinyan in his use of “JMJ”, I am suspected (accused?) of being obnoxious or divisive, but Ms. Ferrone, with her undeniably uncharitable crack about warding off evil spirits or conspicuously showing personal piety – and thus triggering this side thread – gets a free ride. I guess, as they say in the military, RHIP.

      There. The dead horse has been beaten.

  4. ‘This sounds to me like an implicit call for women’s ordination’

    – Yes, it does. And why not ordain women as Priests, Bishops & Popes?

    ‘Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment.’

    – Would a female Pope make a more objective judgement?

  5. Well, fortunately with all of this contraception and whatnot among Catholics, it means that the next generation’s Catholics will all be brought up in large, devout families, and will be completely on board with the Church’s teachings.

    😛

  6. +JMJ+

    Jeffrey, I was charmed when I saw the JMJ on top of your post. Perhaps Ms. Ferrone is too young to remember when it was a common practice for Catholics of all ages to place it on their schoolwork, letters, and so forth. Maybe it is time for a restoration! In fact, our young (under 30) associate pastor writes the JMJ on top of the white board when he presents a lesson at, for example, RCIA.

    A nice practice, the loss of which, like abstaining from meat on Fridays, has weakened our Catholic identity.

    1. I’ve watched some episodes of Bishop Fulton Sheen’s “Life is Worth Living” on EWTN, which is where I learned of the practice, although I’d also seen +JMJ+ and +AMDG+, etc., on forum comments and blog posts.

      It seems to me like a harmless (and helpful) invocation.

    2. All through high school I used to draw a small cross at the top of all my school work.

      In the Philippines and other former Spanish colonies, it was the practice to make the sign of the cross each time you passed by a church.

      At the UN Security Council no Arab delegate makes a speech without saying “In the name of Allah” at the very beginning.

      Secularization.

      1. Calling anything we don’t like or can’t handle “secularization” is intellectually lazy. It makes me wonder if you’ve really tracked everything posted on this conversational thread.
        awr

  7. Pinyan on July 29, 2010 – 3:28 pm

    Quote
    I guess I have to decide between following my conscience in this matter and respecting the wishes of the editorial staff of Pray Tell.

    Well, I guess you didn’t read my comment, in which I said “I would encourage you to reconsider” something in light of scripture. I thought that was the essence of using one’s conscience.

    But enough. This is a tangent, after all. Back to the subject of the thread.

    1. If you’ll allow a reply: I did read your comment, and I read Matthew 6:1-8. I am not doing this “in order that people may see [it].” I assumed (perhaps incorrectly), given the rest of your comment, that you interpreted Matthew 6:1 differently than I did in this matter.

      1. No, the difference between us is that you assume I would urge you to go against your conscience, something I have not done, and would not do. OK. We’re clear now. Basta.

  8. Jeffrey,
    I think its quite wonderful to keep the +JMJ+ on top of all your posts. It seems to me that its a wonderful reminder of our Catholic identity and it also reminds us of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, whom we should love with our whole being.

  9. Elsewhere in the same newspaper an editorial said about the summer process of reassigning priests:

    “I can’t help but think that there’s a certain amount of cruelty in the randomness of the process of filling clerical vacancies. In one instance a young priest was moved five times in his first five years – a new parish every year. In another instance a newly-ordained priest was left in his first parish for 13 years before being moved to a parish almost 50 miles away without a bye or leave.”

    “Speaking to a group of newly consecrated bishops in 2002, Pope John Paul II reminded them that the promise of priestly obedience is not a one-way street and that it puts a responsibility upon the bishop as well as the priest.”

    These Irish priests not only have to face the sex abuse scandal, they seemingly have problems about how they are assigned, they are going through many clusterings and reductions in number of parishes, and it looks like they may have some reductions in number of dioceses.

    Andrew Greeley has always maintained that priests are a happy bunch. I don’t think I would be very happy if I were in their shoes, not knowing what is going to happened to the parishes or even the diocese.

    If these priests don’t realize that they need a support group, then they probably need therapy.

  10. Other reports found on Clerical Whispers:

    “We don’t expect any opposition because we are within our rights to have an association like this. We have things to say and we are prepared to say them,”

    “He said they did not want to form a trade union but an association that would “articulate the views of priests” as well as taking on board their rights, both civil and ecumenical.

    “Up until a few years ago, we had the National Conference of Priests but since that collapsed we have operated in a vacuum and found it difficult to represent our views.”

    It was agreed there was a need for such a coherent voice “in light of the increasingly strained relationship between priests and their bishops” and what was described as “the debilitating reality that, without a platform to express their views, priests find themselves unable to represent their own perspective on issues pertinent to priesthood, church and society today”.

    Seems like this initiative is not only a response to the very threatening surrounding situation, but also to the collapse of previous vehicles of expressing their viewpoints.

    Canon Law gives us the right to freely associaton and make our views know to our bishops.

  11. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Anthony Ruff, OSB :

    Calling anything we don’t like or can’t handle “secularization” is intellectually lazy. It makes me wonder if you’ve really tracked everything posted on this conversational thread.
    awr

    I like putting the cross at the top of my school work. I like making the sign of the cross when I pass a church. I like it when devout Muslims say “In the name of Allah” at the beginning of an important activity. By “secularization,” I meant the process by which we “cultural Christians,” as Nicolas Szarkosy described himself and others like him, no longer practice religious acts in public.

    1. Vic – OK, I can respect all those practices. But I think we have to be careful using “secular” or secularization” as a blanket term which only has a negative meaning, given everything the Church teaches in Gaudium et Spes about the goodness of ‘secular’ culture. Also, as I think Rita’s comments suggest, the reason for not doing these pious things could also come from the teachings of Jesus, and not merely from declining faith. Finally, I don’t have the impression that any contributors to this blog are “cultural Christians” in the sense of Szarkosy, so I tend to think that your use of “secularization” isn’t entirely relevant to this blog discussion.
      awr

      1. +JMJ+

        I don’t think Vic is saying that “it’s all about externals”, but rather that an environment which shuns or forbids external displays of religious belief is a “secularized” environment. Vic is not speaking about the empty acts of an ostentatious person, but “filled” acts of a devout believer.

        It is very discouraging when an internal notion (like honor for Allah, or love for Jesus Christ) is not permitted to be displayed externally because someone is stifling it.

  12. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jeffrey Pinyan :

    +JMJ+
    I don’t think Vic is saying that “it’s all about externals”, but rather that an environment which shuns or forbids external displays of religious belief is a “secularized” environment. Vic is not speaking about the empty acts of an ostentatious person, but “filled” acts of a devout believer.
    It is very discouraging when an internal notion (like honor for Allah, or love for Jesus Christ) is not permitted to be displayed externally because someone is stifling it.

    Thank you, Jeffrey, for saying what I had intended to say in the first place. I’m new here and have yet to get used to the __________ atmosphere. I should have been warned. Fr. Anthony can be rough with his comments, no pun intended. But I don’t mind being corrected when wrong or challenged when unclear.

  13. Well, Mr Pinyan has certainly succeeded in taking the spotlight off the initiative of my confreres and getting everyone to go on and on about echt catholic obsessions. This is just what the new organization wants to cut through. The Irish nation has been submerged in crawthumpery for more than a century and it has drowned out every rational or creative voice. The new organization is not meant to represent all the priest of Ireland but only those who see the problem and are trying, desperately and at the last moment, to reconnect with the creative resources of Vatican II. Unfortunately all such initiatives in the past have come to nothing and the eternal noise of ignorant pietism goes on and on even as churches empty and the laity turn to other religions or none.

    1. +JMJ+

      I don’t know what “echt catholic obsessions” are, and I was not trying to deflect attention from this priests’ association. My initial posts were about two of the issues they were raising.

      I am interested to know just how closely the vision of these Irish priests matches the vision of Vatican II.

  14. The Irish nation has been submerged in crawthumpery for more than a century and it has drowned out every rational or creative voice.

    So Joyce, Heaney, et al. were not Irish?

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