Thursday, May 26, 2016

Expanding Papacy: 2

Image result for popes cartoon

I am sure Archbishop Ganswein used the term 'expanding papacy' to mean simply a changing or developing papacy: de facto the Papacy has changed since the First Vatican Council. De facto Pope Benedict's resignation was the key change. Ganswein describes Benedict as homo historicus, quite what he means I don't know but Benedict has the clarity of vision to see what is likely to happen in the future. I am sure he expected the St Gall mafia's candidate to be elected. I am sure he understood the inevitable confusion that would result. I am sure he would look beyond his papacy to the next and beyond. One of the principles that seems to be at the basis of Benedict's thought is that truth will triumph, because Christ is truth.

Benedict has introduced the idea of a Pope not dying in office, he himself promising obedience retired to a Vatican monastery and has rarely broken his silence. The important question is not what Benedict will do but what would Francis do if retired or was forced from office. Presumably he would not retire to life of prayer but probably become a curate in some poor South American parish, would he remain quiet? It is highly unlikely, and probably impossible for him.

With a chatterbox former-Pope giving daily interviews with Scalfari or some other journalist of choice, or just picking up the phone and sharing his ideas with anyone in the world he wants to - well this produces a very interesting slant on an 'expanded papacy'. Not only will the Cardinals in the future be electing a Pope but also someone who might in just a few years become an ex-Pope.

John Paul set down strict rules about forbidding lobbying amongst Cardinals, human nature would suggest this unreasonable. I am sure wherever two are three Cardinals are gathered, and they have kicked their shoes off they start talking about who is likely to be the next Pope, and who is likely to vote for who. For the good of the Church it would be irresponsible not to do so. In the same way I am sure any conversation between Cardinal is a bit like a job interview - with the under-riding idea of will this man be a suitable next Pope.

I think one of the things that could well develop is a fixed term papacy, an expectation that the Pope will retire after five or six years or when he has reached 80 or 85 he will become a former-Pope. Would it be possible that with two or three pope's emeritus around they develop a particular role, as advisers to the reigning Pope? I rather like the idea of retired Popes Home with popes  in vary states decrepitude eager to advise their successor, whilst they scheme and skype friends in the media, some maybe doing an occasional television interview or 'going viral' on the net.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Expanding Papacy

Archbishop Georg Gänswein’s recent remarks are always interesting, his recent interview is of particular interest. Gänswein, like his master Pope Benedict, is a subtle creature and should not be underestimated. I have always admired Ratzinger, especially as over the years his thought has developed.It is unlikely that Gänswein speaks with out Ratzinger knowing what he will say.

It is fascinating what Gänswein says about the two rival groups before the last Conclave, it is also fascinating what he leaves us to speculate about the election of Pope Francis in the light of these rival factions.

People have been pondering what the Archbishop meant by an 'expanded Papacy'. I think that we need to start with Pope John Paul's Et in Unum Sint  88ff - a document which seems to be as much the work of Cardinal-Prefect Ratzinger, as Pope Wojtyła. It recognises the role of the Pope today. it goes beyond the teaching of Vatican One's Pastor Aeternus, where the Pope is seen as the locus of the authentic Church, and the ultimate judge, or rather definer. of where authentic Christianity ends and heresy begins. It is role well suited to a non-travelling Pope, with a limited staff, whose concern was essentially doctrinal, with a Secretariate of State, whose role was essentially concerned with relationships Catholic princes, and few other Cardinal's with a tiny staff who held particular offices.

Mass communications above all have changed the role of the Papacy, today he is no longer the prisoner of the Vatican. We are more likely to be familiar with the image, actions and words of the Bishop of Rome than we are with our own Bishops. The Pope is no longer 'just for Catholics', he has another role, that of pre-eminence not only among Christians but among 'faith leaders' too. As a 'world leader' he has a moral authority which goes beyond that of any other leader.  He is also the head of one of the largest and most active NGO in the world.

I think Benedict has always wanted to reform the Papacy, it is not unconnected with his attempt to reform the Liturgy. His writings recognise the rootlessness both in scholarship and tradition of Paul VI's liturgical reforms, which rather than being a popular movement was something imposed from above through Papal authority. Vatican II, I am sure he welcomes but he has spoken and written about the Council of the Documents and the Council of Media. He has spoken of course of two hermeneutics, of rupture and continuity. Most especially in regard to the liturgy the Papacy itself has been the source of the hermeneutic of rupture, a rupture in the liturgy would for Benedict be a rupture in the entire fabric of the Church.

My personal feeling is the Archbishop is right that neither Vatileaks or conspiracies were responsible for Benedict's resignation, his devotion to Pope Celestine, his his symbolic leaving of his pallium on his shrine happened as early as April 2009, in retrospect it was an obvious sign of his intention to resign. I am sure his increased tiredness and difficulty in walking hastened it somewhat.

His resignation has changed the Papacy, more than any other event could have done. It has 'de-mystified' it. It has taken away the sense that the Pope is in some sense a sacred person, rather than a human being, brilliant or otherwise, fulfilling a sacred role. It strikes me as being highly unlikely that Pope Benedict was blind and deaf to "the so-called St. Gallen group” that included “Cardinals Danneels, Martini, Silvestrini or Murphy O’Connor”, what is perhaps interesting is that the Archbishop should mention them by name, and it is unlikely that he was unaware of who was their preferred candidate and where he would take the Papacy.

So what are we to make of the idea of an 'expanded' papacy? I cannot help see that it is significant that in the light of Amoris Laetitia and the confusion that it has created that Archbishop Gänswein should point out that the Pope Emeritus is still alive and able to comment, albeit by his choice through the Archbishop. The 'expanded papacy' is presumably a reference to the fact that as long as Benedict is alive Pope Francis has to take his legacy into account. In the past once a Pope was safely in his grave his successor had the freedom to make use of his predecessor's legacy as he wished, this is not an option for Francis. Benedict still has the capacity to cry out from his cloister, as we have seen recently over a misrepresentation of his words about Fatima.

Gänswein, by this speech has rather clearly shown himself to be one of the chief custodians and defenders of the Ratzingarian legacy. It is not by chance that he reminded the world that Ratzinger was elected after his sermon on the evils of Relativism. Perhaps when Pope Benedict is dead we will see what those who keep legacy which has perhaps grown rather and will grow rather than fade, will do and are capable of doing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Vatican II: A Pastoral Council, Hermeneutics of Council Teaching

I am very pleased to hear that Fr Serafino Lanzetta's book on Vatican II has just been published in English, it is the translation of his lectureship thesis presented at Lugano in Switzerland. it has a preface by Bishop Philip Egan.

The book aims at clarifying and indicating a possible hermeneutical principle, leading towards a more faithful reception of the Second Vatican Council, which respects the Council in its precise identity and so gives the conciliar teaching its true place in a revealed and defined structure. Hopefully this historical and theological research, involving numerous archive documents, might help looking at Vatican II as a way which will foster unity within the Church.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Diminution of the Holy Sprit

A thought for discussion:
A real reading of Vatican I gives us a rather beautiful understanding of the role the Pope, it is moderate, it is far from the idea of secular leaders of the 19th or 20th centuries or even our current age, it places the Pope as the servant of the Church, and yet its interpretation, the Spirit of VI produced some of the most inflated, aggrandised Popes ever. Popes who on a whim chose to abolish centuries old Tradition, Popes who saw themselves as innovators, rather than faithful servants who passed on intact what they themselves had received.
Whilst this going on there is a movement which at least has the appearance of being against, or to diminish the Holy Spirit, first of all Pius XII abolished the ancient Vigil of Pentecost and Paul VI abolished the Octave of Pentecost. Presumably this was done so as not to overshadow Pius XII's reform of Easter and Holy Week, but I can't help thinking it gave an imbalance to our understanding of the Holy Spirit and therefore our theology as whole.

Paul VI introduces oriental epliclesis into the Rite of Mass - Fr Hunwick has pointed out that in the ancient Eucharistic prayer of the West, the Roman Canon preserves within it a theology of God which is pre-Nicean, the point of being in the Eucharist, at least, almost binaterian . The Eucharist is confected by the Church through the priest offering bread and wine to the Father and he in turn giving us his Son. It is an exchange of gifts and there is no mention of the Holy Spirit in the Eucharistic Prayer, apart from the present doxology at its end. In the East Eucharistic prayers, and the novelty Eucharistic Prayers introduced by Paul VI all, except the earliest, have a calling down of the Spirit.

What has happened is an abandonment in the post-VII of a very Western understanding of God - I wonder if the disorientation this caused has resulted in the rise of the Charismatic movement, a movement where the saving death of Christ is often replaced by a personal, ecstatic or emotional experience of the Spirit. Our Western understanding seems to be that the Holy Spirit is the unseen agent of Holiness, drawing us gradually into a deeper communion with the Father and the Son, within the Church. He is unseen but he is experienced. I think this was very much the understanding prior to Nicea and the later Christological Councils.

What I fear it has brought with it is a sense that the Holy rather than 'welling up' and being 'within' is something which comes down from above. In the day to day experience of Christians it is something from outside. There is a connection here between S Vincent of Lerins, understanding of Catholicism as quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est - everwhere, always and by all believed - to what the modern neo-Con might believe, which put crudely, is Catholicism is that which the Pope believes and it is imposed from above on those below. It is the most hideous Ultramontane distortion of the faith, and I suspect it relies on a distortion of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Yet it does seem that from VII onwards the role of the Holy Spirit is greatly diminished whilst the significance of the Papacy increases, these two things are surely not unconnected.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Come Holy Ghost

Octave of Pentecost – I have always regretted that Pope Paul VI abolished the Octave of Pentecost in the Ordinary Form of Mass, This year, in our Ordo, there are no feasts during the coming week, so I shall offer  votive Masses of the Holy Spirit throughout the coming week, remembering most especially the Vicar of Christ, and safety of the Church in her mission to teach, with clarity, the nations.
Join me in this petition.

Monday, May 09, 2016

A New Oratory in Bournemouth

It seems as though England is going to have yet another Oratory, this time in Bournemouth, yes another pastoral initiative in the diocese of Portsmouth
From the parish website - A new Oratory in-formation is being inaugurated at Sacred Heart Church in Bournemouth on the 8th of September of this year (2016).
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has invited Fr Dominic Jacob CO (co-founder of the Oxford Oratory) and Fr Peter Edwards and Fr David Hutton, generously released by the Archbishop of Southwark for this project, to begin an Oratorian Community of St Philip Neri as part of a major evangelisation drive for the diocese.
Fr Peter, Fr Dominic and Fr David will begin their ministry on the feast of Our Lady’s Birthday, at the church which is situated in the heart of Bournemouth, surrounded by students living in university accommodation, many international language schools, diverse ethnic communities, and the homelessness, beside long-standing residents, all within an active town center known its hospitality industry, business and commerce.
In accordance with the charism of their Patron, St Philip Neri, the Oratory in-formation will be devoted to offering sacramental support through daily Mass and confessions, Eucharistic Adoration and formation in the spiritual life, alongside pastoral care of students, the growing number of homeless, others in need, all who make up the local population, and the thousands who pass the doors of Sacred Heart each year.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth states: “The Diocese has areas of real deprivation and poverty. There are immigrants and foreign nationals from Eastern Europe and overseas, as well as university and college students living far away from home. This is a pastoral situation that is urgent. It impels action.”
Bishop Philip goes on to say, “We need to engage with those who have not yet met the Lord Jesus in Person nor taken to heart the salvation and eternal life He offers. More than ever we need today to be confident and clear in witnessing to the Person of Jesus Christ and the truths of the Catholic faith, in order to help people find the Way to authentic humanism and happiness. This is why I am delighted by this new project beginning at Sacred Heart parish.”
St Philip Neri, Apostle of Rome and Saint of Joy, continues to inspire secular priests today to form communities, without vows, living together in the bond of charity, with the Oratorian charism of prayer, preaching and celebration of the Sacraments, not least in the confessional.
St Philip’s primary apostolate of forming young people in the life of prayer and pastoral care, particularly for the sick and needy, also attracts many by excellence in liturgy and music, through catechesis, and in the New Evangelization through culture and the arts.
This latest Community of St Philip Neri is a Society of Apostolic Life under the direction of the Oratorian Confederation’s Procurator General in Rome for whom the Oxford Oratory and York Oratory-in-Formation have been the formative inspiration.
More information about the Oratory-in-Formation for Sacred Heart Church will be forthcoming in the parish newsletter and on the parish website.
Parishioners and friends of Sacred Heart church are asked to please keep Fr Peter, Fr Dominic and Fr David in their prayers as they prepare for this wonderful apostolate.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Yesterday was the annual St Margaret Clitheroe Procession and Mass in York, it was a nasty wet day, not a day for the best vestments to be out. Attendance was down, so what is interesting is youth of those attending. There are obviously people of all ages but it is the number of younger people that is significant. Here is a link to picture file.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ken Livingstone's Blind Spot

Labour MP John Mann confronts Ken Livingstone outside TV studios in Westminster today
I can't help thinking Jeremy Corbyn is rather like Pope Francis, trying hold things together but in reality is presiding over its fragmentation, God promises the survival of the Catholic Church but not the Labour party. Corbyn's election like the Pope's was a harking back to a time that many had thought had past, an attempt at popularism. The problem for both is the political environment they now face is not that of their youth.

Watching Ken Livingstone being confronted by John Mann seems to demonstrate how the 'Left' cannot hold. Limestone's defence too is bizarre, "Hitler was a Zionist", he says. It is half remembered and reinterpreted history, seen through a certain lens. Yes, Hitler certainly wanted Jews to have some kind of homeland, many politicians of the time did, suggestion ranged from Palestine, to a bit of Australia, to Madagascar and eventually to 'the East', and history reveals the atrocities that happened there. Hitler's 'Zionism' was borne out of a deep hatred for Jews, and a desire to enslave, and ultimately to destroy them.

I really do not think that Livingstone wants to apply any sanction to 'the Jews', the problem is one of modern intellectuals inability to understand that someone's religious identity, might actually have a social and political dimension. Livingstone's 'anti-Semiticism' is on the same level as his anti-Christianism, more specifically his anti-Catholicism, it is shared by the rest of the Guardian reading establishment. It stems from an inability to realise that a religion has a certain cultural impact that overreaches ordinary politics and claims an affiliation beyond national borders. Religion, politicians on both the left and right fail to understand, binds people together, it has a super-social dimension, it unites people to a history beyond a merely national one, it has a political vision beyond the narrowness of contemporary politics.

For post holocaust Jews the State of Israel has replaced an international Jewish fraternity that followed the diaspora caused of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jews were a distinct group marked not only by belief but by a distinct culture: kosha food and dress, the need to live together and separated from those they lived amongst, and their internationalism and their shared history of persecution make them distinct. The problem is that politicians like Livingstone underestimate the importance of this. In the same way they are incapable of realising the distinctiveness of other groups, like Catholics, whose vision incorporates the social Kingship of Christ.

The blind spot for people like Livingstone is their failure to understand the social, cultural and political significance of Islam. For them Islam merely represents potential Labour votes. Naz Shah whose unguarded pre-election comments started this brush fire for Labour probably do not represent the views of most Muslims but they do represent of some and I would suggest not an insignificant 'some'.

There is an inability of the 'Left' to recognise how distinct the culture of the Judaism makes Jews and also fails to understand how the culture  Islam makes Moslem distinct. Livingstone and his ilk believe in assimilation, they cannot recognise that religion makes people distinct. Jews look to Israel, Christians to the Kingdom of Christ and Muslims to the Ummah. The failure to bother to understand and to take seriously the significance of the theology which underlies religious groups at the moment is a catastrophe for the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.

In France, in Belgium, in Germany and through out Europe I am sure that most politicians believe that assimilation will eventually change immigrants but the truth is that religion is actually a much stronger bond than passing political parties, religions endure politics and politicians pass.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Dragon is tamed not slain

Dragons exist, do not be deceived!

In the legend of St George the dragon is not slain but wounded and the fair maid once terrified of him ties a cord or a ribbon around his neck and leads him captive into the city.

This is a profound truth in the spiritual life, the dragon is still a dragon, the fair maid, the Christian soul, with the help of the victorious warrior, who is a type of Christ gives us power to subdue something which unchecked can be destructive.

We see this constantly in the conversion of the saints, they don't become different people but virtue takes on a courage and sin is tamed. Saint Peter is an obvious example, I doubt its historic truth but I love the quo vadis legend about Peter, Peter decides to leave Rome during the persecution, meets Christ on the Appian Way and immediately turns back to go to his death., it is so Peter, rash and impetuous always, until the end. It is same with St Francis or Ignatius of the Loyal or countless others, Christ tames the dragon, he is not slain.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Victim Souls a Voris Video from 2010

I thought it was pretty obvious that Michael Voris had struggled with what he has revealed recently, He has made no bones about his distance from God, and hinted that part his problem, like many people's was sexual, this video reveals something rather beautiful that seems to be the experience of some of my parishioners.
... but moving on the real question every Catholic who has viewed the Votex has is about the hair,, err, is it a toupee? Will Cardinal Dolan's New York Archdiocese dirty tricks department reveal that? Apart from that, I don't think there is much to see here, the Church is full of repentant sinners - thank God!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Secular clergy are unattractive to the young

I am told by a priest of the diocese that in Westminster diocese there are no ordinations to the diocesan priesthood this year but apparently -according to the com-box there are seven however in Buenos Aires, this year has only three, my own diocese has only two seminarians spread over the whole six year course, some diocese have no seminarians, some diocese have far more bishops (active and retired) than seminarians..
But my own rather odd little parish, 'least of the cities of Judah', prays regularly for three men who came here to Mass and were very much part of our parish. One is at one of our English Oratories, another has joined one of the Traditional priestly societies and yet another has joined the most ascetic monasteries in Britain.

One of the things that attracted these young men here is Old Mass, all three came to it, all three had a great love for it. It does seem to be a source of vocations. As one teen age lad said, "I don't understand a word of it but at least it gives you a chance to pray". Prayer, communion with Christ is the source of vocation.

Personally I found it easier to speak to young men about priesthood when Pope Benedict so often spoke about the great value and the significance of the priesthood and the Sacred Liturgy. Now, there seems to so many warnings to young priests, so much criticism of young priests, even suggestion they might be mentally ill, it makes it far less attractive, perhaps there is sense that maybe young men considering the priesthood might be better off being tender hearted social workers, rather than servants of the altar.

One of the things that is at the back of mind is that young men are certainly not choosing the secular or diocesan priesthood though some religious orders aren't doing too badly, especially those with something of traditional about them. The traditional Mass priestly societies are flourishing, and some religious orders are making steady progress, this year the Irish Dominican province had more ordinations than all the Irish diocese put together. I think as we grow older, we secular clergy become increasingly unattractive to young men, there is something of the smell of the geriatric ward about us. Like attracts like. In fifteen years time half the present diocesan clergy of England and Wales will be incapable of saying Mass, most of us will dead or in a home! In France, for most people it will be easier in ten years time to get to the Traditional Mass than the Novus Ordo. I think many of us secular priests have a sense failure about them, whilst young religious communities have a sense of mission and growth, a hopefulness about them. I was speaking to a young SSPX priest some time ago, he was full of hope and spoke about the development of their mission about rising numbers, he had an almost charismatic sense of excitement about him.

For all the rather sad holding on to the 1970s of some of the most senior clergy this is not where the Church will be in ten years time.

photographs from here

Monday, April 18, 2016

Trads are a little more flexible

The poor old Pope seems to be getting bashed by various Italian journalist Magister and Socci for example. I have always said that he is essentially an Argentinian Peronist, left of centre, yes but more a populist, so no wonder those within the Church, especially actively involved tend to be critical, whilst the masses, especially the media and even the secularly powerful adore him. Gagliaducci talks about his popularism in his column this week.

 When I bounded up to a couple of Argentinians from Buenos Aires to congratulate them on his election the day after, they met me with tight lips and stony faces and told me that they had always hated Jorge Bergoglio. Just after his election, when newspapers like the Guardian were trying to lay on him support for the Government against dissidents in the 'Dirty War', that proved baseless but what did emerge was his own rather tortured relationship with his own Jesuit Order. He had certainly brought division to the Argentinian Province, which they are still suffering from when he was Provincial, half loved him and half hated him. His own relationship with the Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach was so bad that it was not until he was Pope that he was allowed to enter a Jesuit house.

He has always been divisive, it is his nature. Reading the blogosphere recently, this division seems to still be there, in fact it is intensifying. The two Synods on the family were deeply divided and brought to the surface many divisions in the Church, the Church after Beroglio will be more divided than the Church was before him.
Cardinal Burke has been saying Amoris Laetitia changes nothing, it is interesting how his failure to condemn or at least to side with those who are deeply disturbed by this document have vented their anger against him.

Trads, rather than Neo-Cons, are always a little more flexible, a little less alarmists. If you are still faithful after have seen what appeared to be the total destruction of everything you had loved: the Mass of Ages, which you had always been told was unchangeable swept away and, although mistakenly, were told it was now illicit or forbidden, if countless churches stripped of their furnishings, altars replaced by a cheap wooden table, if you had seen priests dancing up the aisle or the Bread of Life treated with irreverence. If it seems to be the Pope rather than some lunatic priest or renegade bishop that is at the back of all this, then perhaps one is less likely to see all as catastrophic and place one's trust in Jesus Christ, the Lord of history, and not in Princes, even in the most exalted of the princes of the Church.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Avoiding the Rupturists Agenda on Amoris laetitia

Liberals are getting angry about Amoris laetitia, according to Joanna Redman, (Tablet and Guardian) who the BBC got to voice the progressive, rupture, conflict stance: good Pope Francis was held back by evil old men in the Vatican, who want to oppress women, gays, the divorced and remarried. It is not position any sensible or orthodox Catholic would want to get into.

Amoris Laetitia, has its problems, but let's not follow the liberal agenda and talk up either its problems or its importance.
Any sensible reading of this not very important and non-magisterial document must stress the importance of placing it in the light of the Church's tradition, of its Magisterium and of documents of greater weight, but most of all in a Spirit of Continuity not of Rupture. Having praised its stance on gay marriage, on transgenderism, on its support for life-long monogamous marriage, on the rights of parents, on its openness to life, etc etc, and that the Holy Father is Catholic and not some crazed lunatic who wants to ally himself with the anti-Christ, only then should we point out that Pope Francis is perhaps not one of the greatest Thomist scholars and might actually have misunderstood the Church's teaching, perhaps that he seems to be a bit deaf to advice and that Catholics certainly should treat his teaching with respect but it is not infallible, and is in the words of the Holy Father himself not in any sense binding.

One might then point out that the Holy Father, in the words of Ms Redman, is a like a kindly, old, much loved parish priest, but whose heart tends to rule his head. What we should never do is take up the agenda of the Rupturists, a more precise and less 'soft' name for Liberals, that this document changes everything, that is simply not Catholic.

God Bless Our Pope (his successors and predecessors).

Friday, April 08, 2016

Amoris Laetitia‬ and truth

I know I shouldn't read emails before Mattins but I do. This morning I was a bit surprised to find I had been sent from three sources, not people I actually know, a PDF of the embargoed Papal Exhortation, all three were the English translation, which would indicate a common source. Later, when I had finished Lauds, a friend, and then journalist also wanted to discuss the document, they too had received the document, so much for Papal secrets.

It doesn't strike me as being a terribly interesting document, perhaps the difference with this exhortation, is the way in which it has been given to the press, and most especially the way in which the press has been prepared for it before hand. Most papal exhortations have already been forgotten, I think I am the only priest in my diocese to take seriously Pope Benedict's exhorting us to retain the use of the communion plate, for example. The very length of this document is a source of confusion, search and you will find what you will, oh for the day when papal documents were brief and clear, rather than of manifesto proportions. Whilst dictators speeches dragged on for page after page, Popes could say something revolutionary in a brief address.

Others will provide an analysis but I fear that as Fr Zuhlsdorf points out people will interpret it according to their preferences, either positively or negatively, but for many it will make no difference, who will wade through its two hundred pages? The bottom line is that those who shouldn't receive communion will still come up and do so, it is the pastoral reality of Catholic life today. And yet the document itself tells us that doctrine and pastoral practice are to be interpreted according to culture. This, if Cardinal Kasper was right, is revolutionary character of Amoris Laetitia‬; since Nicea the Church has sought to bring into unity, now that seems to be reversed, time will tell.

I think the crisis in the Church is one of integrity. Benedict interpreted it as a crisis of the disintegration of the liturgy, following the idea that we believe what we say and do in the liturgy, lex credendi lex orandi. It stems of course from the 2nd Commandment,  that if we keep Holy the name of God, nothing we do in the name of God should be trivial or false, that our "yes means yes and no means no". The ending of our  prayers, "Through Our Lord Jesus Christ ..." turns them into a sacred oath. Lies and obfuscation have no place in the Christian life. There must be something very different in way Christians speak, most especially bishops and priests, Christ after all spoke with authority, unlike the religious and political leaders of his day. His words were witnessed to by God himself, the Father and the Spirit witness to Him as the Truth. It is as the Truth that Pilate is incapable of recognising Him, and therefore as the Truth that He is condemned and crucified. Those who are on the side of Truth listen to His voice, because He is the Word of God, the Son of the Father, full of Grace and Truth.

The child abuse crisis and consequent episcopal cover-ups revealed the Church or rather its leaders as being without integrity, as being far from the truth, in fact many were shown to be downright liars. If we are to witness to the truth of Christ we need to be men and women of total integrity, the knotty wood of the Cross is the great sign of integrity, it is through our trustworthiness as witnesses to the resurrection that others are called to believe, if the Church cannot be trusted we cannot be faithful witnesses.

Perhaps it is not just in the Church but in society in general that there is a problem with the truth, manipulation by politicians, journalists, spin-doctors, political correctness, language manipulation all in one way or another create an environment of mistrust in which communion/communication between human beings breaks down. Its the tower of Babel situation there are so many voices crying out but no-one can hear what is being said. The Church is supposed to be different, making out of many nations one people, with one certain truth, down the centuries the Church has sought truth, the One Truth, now it seems to me that the Church is following the world, that bishops are emulating politicians, that we are not so much concerned with truth as its application or spin, that we no longer see truth as person but a commodity.