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Friday, July 3, 2009

Bishop Criticizes Liberal Dissent: Disobedience is Harming the Church

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue and Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton join priests before the tomb of St John Vianney in Ars, France (Photo: Northampton diocese)

via: The Catholic Herald, Britain's Leading Catholic Newspaper

Bishops who have deep theological differences with the Pope are undermining the unity of the Catholic Church, a prominent English bishop has claimed.

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue said that such differences prompted parish priests to ignore the authority of their bishops.

He said: "The idea that there could be theological differences between a bishop and the Pope is just an incredible thing to admit but it is the truth. I suppose if priests see bishops showing disloyalty to the Pope, it is hardly surprising that they in turn should show disloyalty to their bishop. We all know what Jesus said about a divided house."

He added: "It is not uncommon for cliques to grow up among priests against the current bishop that ignore with disdain directives and advice from their bishop. Sometimes it seems that the parish priest and parish declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] from the bishop and the diocese. There is also a danger of this developing in a group of bishops' attitude to the reigning Pope."

The bishop said this disunity created a "conspiracy of silence" in the Church.

He said: "This cocktail of dissent, disobedience and disloyalty has resulted in what I call 'a conspiracy of silence' amongst groups in the Church. There is no real dialogue or willingness to talk openly and honestly about our differences.

"For example, I don't know why my Fit for Mission? documents hit a wall of silence among the bishops in this country. All I did was reiterate the teaching of the Church, but this has been treated as unacceptable and unspeakable. Why?"

Bishop O'Donoghue offered his analysis at a retreat for priests of the Diocese of Northampton in Ars, the parish of St John Vianney in France in May. He called attention to the fact that "countless individual priests, and laity, even bishops, believe they are free to decide what it means to be Catholic for themselves". He suggested that accepting the Church's teaching on sexual morality was a "litmus test" for Catholics.

"For example, we have witnessed a wholesale rejection of the Church's perennial teaching against contraception. This is the litmus test of the acceptance of the obedience in the Church. How many priests support Gaudium et Spes's crystal-clear rejection of contraception, upheld by successive popes - Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI? If we reject their teaching on this matter we are saying as priests that we know better than the successor of Peter! Is this tenable in a priest?"

Bishop O'Donoghue not only criticised liberal dissent but also had sharp words for traditionalists who he said were in danger of falling into "liturgism".

He said: "By this I mean the tendency among clergy and some laity to solely focus on the liturgy and sacramental life, ignoring our mission to go out of the church building into the world where suffering humanity lives. For a century the Church has been saying that social justice should be a concern of Catholics equal to attending Mass on Sunday. How many believe this? How many priests encourage this?"

Bishop O'Donoghue also discussed the life of St John Vianney, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated this year and who is the patron of the Year for Priests, drawing parallels between the challenges faced by the saintly parish priest and the priests today.

He argued that St John Vianney had a "keen sense of the need for salvation" which he expressed in his "whole being as a priest". Bishop O'Donoghue urged the priests who were taking part to reflect on a number of questions about their roles and identity as priests in the modern world. This included questions about attitudes to consumerism, alcohol, confronting evil and true repentance.

He also asked them: "Is it possible to talk to young people about salvation today? And is it necessary to go to confession regularly? What do you think the Curé d'Ars would say?" Fr Paul Hardy, a priest who took part in the retreat, said: "He was very good. He talked about the challenges facing us - do we duck them or do we face up to them."

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Obama's Pro-Abortion Record

"I Am Personally Responsible for over 75,000 Abortions"

*This video was made during the campaign to ban abortion in South Dakota. Bernard Nathanson repented of his ways and has became Catholic.*

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Randall Terry, founder Operation Rescue, addresses the assassination of George Tiller. Mr. Terry urges the pro-life movement to not surrender words and actions under the heavy opposition from child killers and the Obama administration.

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Books for Children

  • Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss
  • The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith, by Josephine Nobisso
  • The Princess and the Kiss, by Jennie Bishop
  • Angel in the Waters, by Regina Doman

More Recommended Reading

  • Abortion: Yes or No? by John L. Grady, M.D.
  • Changed ~ Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One's Abortion Experience, by Michaelene Fredenburg
  • Ending Abortion Not Just Fighting It, by Fr. Frank A. Pavone, M.E.V.
  • Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), by Pope John Paul II
  • God Is Love, An Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI
  • Humane Vitae: A Challenge to Love, by Pope Paul VI
  • Is the Fetus Human? by Eric Pastuszek
  • Led by Faith, by Immaculee Ilibigiza
  • Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibigiza
  • Living the Gospel of Life ~ the pastoral statement issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops
  • Noise, by Teresa Tomeo
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hope for the World by Dan Lynch
  • Render Unto Caesar, by Charles J. Chaput
  • The Way to Love, by Anthony De Mello
  • Won By Love, by Norma McCorvey

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Patroness of the Americas, Intercessor for the Pre-born
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