A few items of interest for your consideration.
Bishops, transparency and accountability**
Aka, what did the bishops talk about for seven days last week (other than Bishop Morris' dismissal!)?
Finally, some attempt to tell us, via Melbourne Archdiocese's Kairos magazine (picture above from that story).
Unfortunately the story itself is more tantalising than overly concrete - Archbishop Coleridge, for example, has apparently been developing a proposal for a 'Year of Grace', which would provide "an opportunity for Catholics to come together with a renewed sense of grace and joy in their experience of Church". Sounds promising. But what does it actually mean?
All in all, it is a big a step backwards from the reasonably comprehensive media release eventually put out after the last Plenary meeting.
And, unless of course one happens to be one of the head honchos of liberal-central Catholic Religious Australia who apparently attended the whole thing (if you are going to have others attending, why no lay representatives?).
The lack of transparency certainly stands in huge contrast with the meetings of the USCCB, whose next meeting is going to be televised and covered via facebook and twitter - which will probably be worth watching for the discussion of the latest report on the abuse crisis which (rather implausibly) blames it all on the Woodstock Syndrome.
***A press release on the meeting has now come out, I will post on it separately when I have a moment or two!
John Allen and the Liberal dissent movement
Secondly, Life Site News has a useful (though rather long) opinion piece on Fr Z's great and allegedly 'fair-minded' friend, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, and his attempts to legitimize dissent.
Allen has done a lot of damage over the last few years, seeming all the more plausible for his seeming reasonableness.
But in reality Allen coined and popularised the term 'Taliban Catholic', and has regularly defended the indefensible.
The Queen in Ireland
William Oddie has written a useful article in the UK Catholic Herald that puts a bit of context around the trip, in the form of Britain's appalling record there.
Australians, I suspect, are rather more familiar with the history of British brutality than most Brits are, and Mr Oddie's article barely touches the surface of the issues. Still, it is a very useful scene setter. Here is an extract:
"There is a good deal to acknowledge, for the fact is that we consistently behaved abominably in Ireland. We like to think of ourselves as a tolerant and civilised people; and on the whole we are. But we also have very selective memories; we are inclined to think that apart from a few untoward and probably unauthorised events, we can’t have been all that bad in Ireland. But what happened at Croke Park represents only the tip of a very large iceberg (of that, more presently). You can read about what happened on the first “Bloody Sunday” on the GAA’s website, in their own sober and incontrovertible account):
“The night before [a Gaelic football match at Croke Park in November 1920] Michael Collins sent his ‘Squad’ out to assassinate the ‘Cairo Gang’, a team of undercover British agents working and living in Dublin. A series of shootings took place throughout the night which left 14 members of the British forces dead.”
The following day British forces, including the infamous “Black and Tans”, exacted their vengeance: they opened fire on the crowd at the match in Croke Park, killing 14 civilians. That evening, three IRA prisoners in Dublin Castle were beaten to death by their British captors. In the GAA’s own low-key assessment, “The events of the day had a profound impact on the people of Ireland; it seemed as if the British authorities had deliberately chosen an easy target – a stadium full of innocent people – to exact revenge for a military loss suffered the night before. Bloody Sunday shocked the British public too and while it is too simple to say that it helped end the War of Independence it must certainly be considered a key factor”.
He goes on to talk about the history of the black and tans more generally, pointing out that they:
"They burned and pillaged towns and villages throughout Ireland, including Tuam in County Galway, and Trim, Balbriggan, Knockcroghery, Thurles and Templemore. They even, in effect, laid siege to Tralee, as a reprisal for the IRA’s murder of two RIC officers. All the businesses in the town were closed down and for a week no food was allowed in; three civilians from the town were shot dead. They killed a priest and threw his body in a bog. Most astonishing of all, they sacked and burned down the entire centre of the city of Cork, which the Queen, God bless her, will also be visiting. You can see footage of the Black and Tans in action (including the burnt out city centre of Cork) on Youtube."
The Pope on prayer
And finally, for some, as always, great spiritual reading, the Pope (pictured above on a gondola during his recent Venice trip) has embarked on a new series of General Audiences on the subject of prayer.
The first and second of the series is now up on the official website, but unless you'd care to read it in Croat (OK so it is available in French and Italian as well!), the third will no doubt take a little while yet to meander its way through the translation process...
Space station talk
Finally, the Pope is giving the astronauts on the International Space Station a call this Saturday night - it will be livestreamed on Vatican Radio and TV at 1356 Rome Time on Saturday May 21 - that's 9.56PM Australian Eastern Standard Time.
Hmm, positively invites some photoshopping possibilities...in the meantime here is a golden oldie.