Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fr Andrew Pinsent,

Fr. Pinsent
Aleteia has a very interesting interview with Fr Andrew Pinsent, the most brilliant priest of my diocese. He used to work on the CERN project, he was one of those scientists who was drawn into worship by the wonder of the infinite. I have always had a great admiration for him and his insights. The interview begins with Father saying:
We do a certain amount of pre-Communion preparation and maybe confirmation preparation and that gradually dies off into adulthood. If a student is lucky enough to have a good university and a good university chaplaincy, there’s a chance of getting input during university years. After that, in my experience, there’s almost nothing.

When you think about it, this is completely crazy. They expect young people to go out with pre-Communion training into the world, and be fruitful as Catholics.

Well perhaps by some miracle, some of them still go to Mass and some still practice their faith, study their faith and so on. But what we’re doing doesn’t seem very sensible.
A lot of it is about Evangelium, which he co-authored with that other remarkable priest Fr Marcus Holden, there are lots of interesting insights throughout, but this is perhaps the most important.
Grace is actually the number one issue in the Church and in Catholic theology today. And the issue is really this: What is a Christian? In practice, in the minds of many Catholics today, a Christian is really just like anyone else, perhaps just trying to be a bit better. And this is not what a Christian is.

A Christian, by grace, becomes an adopted child of God, able to call God “Father.” That’s a unique privilege of the grace of Baptism, and people don’t know this. What we’ve got actually is not anonymous Christianity; it’s more like anonymous Buddhism with Christian language. That’s quite a common kind of spirituality today.

What I want to do is recover a healthy sense of the proper distinction and relationship between the life of grace and the life of nature.


Bill said...

I recently read a quote, which I unfortunately cannot duplicate verbatim, but I can paraphrase it. Catholics are really protestants who attend Mass on Sunday. It really says a lot.

Cathy D said...

I know this priest!! He studied in the states at my university and I did his visa!
So nice to hear about him!!!!

El Codo said...

For some yeats Evangelium held their annual Conference at the school where I was Head Master.I was very impressed by both Father Pinsent and Holden and they made me think that there is real hope for the Church.

Jacobi said...


I'm an old person. Was at a Catholic school early 50s. When I left school 1955, I knew a lot about the Catholic Faith, probably about say 90% of what I know now. Can't say I took it all that seriously. It was just family, school, and friends and background.

Until, I looked and saw the mess the Church was in, low in the water and going down fast.

So I understood and I trust, started to do something about it.

Young people today can't and won't see that They are just too ignorant. Yes, you see then with parents at post-Sacraments classes, (as Father has said), Then that's it. Very few young unattached at Mass. Virtually no young males.

Only doddery oldies, mainly women now, since even the doddery male oldies seem to have had enough.

The answer is simple. The Catholic Church, and by that I mean you priests standing up in the pulpit, and Catholic schools, have got to teach what was called Religious Knowledge, i.e., doctrine, and just as important, Apologetics.

Without that you will certainly get a few Catholics around on Grace only - but not many!

Frank Karwatowicz said...

I too am an old guy and I fully agree with the observations above.
For me and perhaps younger adults there is not much spiritual/Catholic stimulation or rejuvenation experienced from attending the obligatory worship hour and perhaps even attending Eucharistic adoration
What I discovered what works for me is the great wealth of Catholic history, dogma, theology etc. available on the internet
For me it all started with the iPhone and the discovery of many, many podcasts, lectures and teachings both written and audio
My daily walks always include listening to these programs and when I visit the Eucharistic chapel I listen and silently recite prayers as well as reading
The John Henry Newman app of his sermons I can't get enough of, as an example
My day starts with the liturgy of the hours app followed throughout the day by rosaries, chap lets,stations and adoration
It's like getting theology classes all over again, only this time I like it

Victoria said...

Well said Jacobi. The bishops of the Church, at least in the English speaking world, presided over the implosion of authentic Catholic knowledge of the Faith in Catholic schools and from Catholic pulpits. What is needed now is for bishops to supply and mandate the use of the true teachings of the Church and then choose Faithful Catholic teachers to go round the schools to ensure that the truths of the Faith are being taught. Bishops need to visit their spiritual sons the priests and ensure that the truths of the Faith are being spoken of from the pulpit. The bishops commission needs to stop composing articles coming to the aid of gay, indigenous whales and start remembering that they are the shepherds of the flock exposed to the wolves.

Will this reform happen? I don't think so. The parents of the young weren't given the authentic Faith and the teachers weren't taught the truths of the Faith and they can't give what they haven't got. People of my age are the last of the generation who were given the authentic teaching on the Catholic faith; our grandchildren think we are crackers when we witter on about the Blessed Eucharist and Confession and our beloved Faith.

John Simlett said...

Many writers and speakers let the words get in the way of the message. Fr Pinsent, however, has that rare gift of clarity: he takes a complex subject and explains in simple terms exactly where we have gone wrong. The solution should be as simple, but of course it won't be, it will be buried in the words and complexity of all sorts of self-serving causes of modern society.

Gregkanga said...

I hope Fr Pinsent's bishop, the competent authority who can act on his insights and observations admires him as much as yourself Fr Ray. Not so long ago in Australia we celebrated the Year of Grace and not a single bishop or priest for that matter, publicly talked or wrote in a Catholic publication anywhere about the primacy of Christ and his grace in the Christian spiritual life. Our leaders wrote about things such as asylum seekers, refugees, woman's roles in the Church, climate change, Aboriginal dreaming and justice etc. but nothing about the primacy of Grace. Yet, the entire goal of the Catholic Christian life is to become through grace what Christ is by his very nature: children of God. The divine Sonship of Christ is the type of our supernatural sonship. For all Catholics this should be our basic preoccupation. Fr Pinsent's observations and insights is what the upcoming Synod on the Family should concern itself with rather than communion for the divorced and remarried.

Nicolas Bellord said...

As Jacobi says the Religious Instruction we oldies had was on the whole very good. However I do not think it was perfect. If religion boils down to loving God and following his commandments there was, rightly, great emphasis on the commandments but perhaps our personal relationship with God was not emphasised enough. The idea that each had a vocation which might be other than a vocation to the religious life was not taught. To-day we have gone to the other extreme of just saying God loves us all whatever commandments we ignore which ends up with the response of 'why bother if that is the case?'. The drama has been taken out.

Sixupman said...

I know a priest who preached and preaches real Catholicism. His parish was closed-down and he was booted-out. The views of his bi-ritual parishioners completely ignored by the diocesan chancery and bishop. The diocesan 'association of clergy' [cannot recall their specific appellation] cheered! Rome was not much help and the priest rendered a vagrant [for want of a better term].

gemoftheocean said...

I don't think it was Vatican II per se that has killed the church as much as basic catechism not being taught at all that killed the church. Even in Catholic schools it's hard to find any apologetics being taught, much less in the average parish.