Wednesday, 4 May 2011

It's tired out... time to put the National Council of Priests out of its misery

Cath News (predictably) gives ongoing pride of place to ex-Bishop Morris' complaints.

(PS I've seen a few overseas bloggers refer to Cath News as the equivalent of the US National Fishwrap.  Unfortunately though, Cath News is a little different - it actually operates under aegis of the Australian Bishops' Conference, believe it or not.  Yep, a lot of spring cleaning still to do...).

Wolves in sheep's clothing

And of course to the dissent-ridden National Council of Priests (surely the bishops must now direct their priests to resign immediately from this organisation), with this gem:

"We are concerned about an element within the Church whose restorationist ideology wants to repress freedom of expression within the Roman Catholic Church and who deny the legitimate magisterial authority of the local Bishop within the Church.

Let me point out that a bishop has no power to determine independently of the Magisterium (viz the Pope, or the Pope in concert with the Council of Bishops, or the entire Church including the Pope) what the faith might consist of, but rather is bound to 'teach the truths of the faith which are to be believed' (Canon 386). He must 'defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church' (canon 392).

The NCP continues:

Jesus rightly condemned the righteous scribes and Pharisees of his time for adhering to their interpretation of the Mosaic law at the expense of God’s ultimate commandment of love.

Let me suggest to these errant priests a rereading of this key text from Matthew 7:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits."

A diocese with no vocations, whose ex-bishop leaves behind him the same number of priests (though much older on average one suspects) as the diocese had in 1929!  Yep, real good fruits.

And still they took no heed of that devastating flood...

The views of the people

Their media release goes on:

Many of the people influencing these decisions have limited pastoral experience and appear to show little concern for the sensus fidelium."
 
Let us not confuse the consensus infidelium with 'sensus fidelium'; let us not confuse the consensus of the Galatians or Corinthians, deceived by false teachers and properly admonished for this reason by St Paul, with the true sense of the Church, guided by the Magisterium and guaranteed through the successor of Peter. 
 
The power of the Pope
 
Oh and one more little lesson from (Catholic) Theology 101 here.  The NCP's appeals to the Pope:
 
"as the Bishop of Rome in his acknowledged role as first among equals and the source of communio within the Church to listen and build bridges of trust, faith and love..."

But the Pope is not simply 'first among equals'.  As Canon 331 of the 1983 Code sets out he:

"...continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely."

Here endeth the prolonged squawk.  This blog might really be dead hereafter.  Unless someone wacks it over the head again.

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