Saturday, October 11, 2008

National Conference of Priests

I have never been a supporter of the National Conference of Priests, every year some idiot would raise some criticism of the Holy See, or the Pope, or demand the ordination of transexual pandas or something as equally daft. It is most probably a reflection of my friends but most of them have thought it to be irrelevant, all except for one, who has been going along year after year hoping it would eventually get better.
He phoned me last night and paraphrased the introductory speech, which I paraphrase in turn, so it might not be entirely accurate.

Fathers, what is wrong with the Church? Come on, there are lots of things wrong with the Church, what is wrong with the Church?
(pause, a nervous hand or two being raised)
If you want to know what is wrong with the Church, take out a mirror and look at it! That is what is wrong with the Church! It is you, its me!
It is not the Pope, it is not the Bishop. It is not Rome or the diocese, it is you!
Your people have a duty to work with you. You have a duty to work with you fellow priests, and your Bishop. He has a duty to work with and in communion with you and the Universal Church and the Pope.
You have a duty to preach the Catholic Faith, not your own crackpot opinion.... You have to celebrate the liturgy of the Church, not some weird ceremony you've made up...
Most of the discussion was along these lines.
According to the last ad Clerum the NCP have at last started asking why most clergy can't be bothered with it, and what its future should be, if this is what was at the heart of the conference I would be happy to go along.


Anonymous said...

It was a great conference. There wa s a bit of humility there, which has been growing over the years.
Only sour note was a bishop who didn't seem to give a fig about anything, even his priests. That was sad for most of us.

Anonymous said...

Don't think you are fair with the logo, Father.

The Bones said...
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Volpius Leonius said...

The NCP is divisive and should be abolished is my initial impression,what is its purpose, to empower priests to resist their superiors?

Just like the Bishops Conference of England and Wales seems to be about empowering the Bishops to resist the Rome?

What good have either of these organisations done?

They are a blatant attempt to subvert the hierarchy of the Church set in place by the Apostles it seems to me.

And he logo seems to fit perfectly judging by what this group have been pushing.

Fr Michael Brown said...

I normally look at the annual report for about three minutes before putting it in the shredder but it looks as if I may have to spend a little longer looking at it this year!

Anonymous said...

I once walked into Trinity & All Saints College and saw a group of middle-aged men in sweaters talking animatedly about confession. I thought it must be a convention of someone like the Catenians, and only when I saw them all processing into the Chapel later that day vested for Mass did I realise they were priests. It was the NCP conference.

Still, my impression, very much as an outsider, is that the NCP is getting over its Trotskyite past. Good thing too. A genuinely Catholic forum for priests to get together and talk should be a valuable resource. Though of course, there is always the Merton Training Week ...

JARay said...

Here, in Australia, there is a similar organisation of priests and it has had a similar outlook to this organisation in England. It has argued about similar strange topics.
There is also a completely different organisation of priests and I. although not a priest, support this one. I contribute with my small subscription, as a retired laymen and receive its bi-annual publication called "The Priest" and the occasional extra flyer which advertises its Conference (not open to those like myself).
They have a web-site and one can read the quality of the articles in The Priest by accessing it.
For anyone interested, this organisation of priests is called The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and its web-site is:-
Quite a different organisation of priests!

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

One of the Church's biggest contemporary weaknesses is its tendency to form structures that mimic secular models, but have no connection with ecclesial tradition.

The result is that Bishops' Conferences look and sound like the board of directors of the subsidiaries of Catholic Church Inc., the local bishops resemble divisional CEOs, the diocesan curias behave like senior management, lay diocesan officials are essentially departmental heads etc. etc.

It's hardly a surprise, if the hierarchical structure of the Church becomes a management reporting line, that priests will form a trade union. I've always rather cynically nicknamed the NCP the "National Union of Priests." But it is good to hear that there seems to be a trend away from the shop steward approach to one more focused on priestly holiness and other Catholic essentials that were previously lacking.

Anonymous said...

This is very encouraging. Please God the Holy Spirit will continue to open hearts.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, any priest can go along to these conferences now, not just those who drew the short straws. I wonder who will pay for them?

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