Sunday, May 04, 2014
I was pleased to read Bishop Campbell's press release on Protect the Pope, Bishop Campbell is one of the good guys, I am glad he faced up to the furore that has surrounded the closing of this blog, not only here but throughout the world. It is regrettable, looking over the Google feed, that it seems there is a very strong sense that the orthodox, those who might indeed Protect the Pope are legitimate game, whilst, unless you are actually wishing a Pope dead, like the recently dismissed Tablet journalist, you are free to say what you will. Dr Joseph Shaw highlights the problem, focussing on one particular priest, whose writings are in one of the Catholic papers which are distributed in many catholic churches and cathedrals. Fr Henry makes a similar point about the last edition of Catholic Life.
There seems to be a growing sense, especially over the last few months that the Church is moving backwards, away from concern for the Truth to a superficial 'Unity'. There seems to be an increasing sense that those who had discovered or rediscovered 'orthodoxy' under Pope Benedict are not welcomed any longer. The most obvious example is Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, still silenced, still unaware of any specific charges against them after all these months. The 'Kasper theorem' delivered at the Consistory gives the same impression, whatever label you want to give; orthodox, traditional or conservative there is large group of 'concerned' Catholics, especially amongst those touched by St John Paul's theology of marriage, which elsewhere in the Catholic world is a huge number. Again here, the distancing of the entire Bishop's Conference from the Bishop of Portsmouth's reiteration of Cardinal Burkes: no communion for politicians who pass laws contrary to Catholic teaching, is unnerving, for some. It appears that an unsmiling stern-faced Pope Francis was saying a similar things on a broader range of issues, to 'corrupt' Italian politicians only a few days ago in St Peters. In the UK too the resuscitation of ACTA and its apparent promotion by some bishops gives the impression that being a dissenting Catholic carries no consequences, whilst trying to be a faithful one does, most especially if one who is a cleric. Indeed for the dissident a great deal of space is given for dialogue, one is virtually clasped to the breast but for those who oppose them there is only the cold shoulder. It is particularly sad that Bishop Campbell's statement adds to this sense.
The consequences of course are that Deacon Nick's blog will disappear but criticism will not, "unless a grain of wheat ...", on the contrary, it will grow. Fed by our Holy Father himself, who has told younger people especially to make a mess. There are many lay people out there who share the Pope's sentiments about careerist authoritarian bishops and functionaries, as well as ideological, liquid, bat-like, superficial Christians, or Christians allergic to preaching with watered-down faith, weak-hoped Christians and oh yes, my favourite those, "pastry-shop Christians", these critics seem to be making their voices heard increasingly.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake