Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Action in Brisbane at last? **updated**

Cath News from Monday reports that Archbishop Bathersby has finally set a time limit - of 1 December - on St Mary's Brisbane - by which it must conform or action will be taken. The story is short on detail as to what this actually means, but still it seems a distinct step forward.

Of course, one step forward, one step backward seems to be the way of things at the moment, as Bishop Patrick Power, auxiliary of Canberra-Goulburn, came out making noises of sympathy with the parish in question, suggesting that theirs is the way of the future.

The Cath News story also notes that no action has been taken against Fr Dresser of Bathurst Diocese in relation to his heretical book denying the divinity of Our Lord.

Bishop Power's 'clarifying' statement

Cath News reports that Bishop Power (presumably under pressure) has issued a statement saying he didn't mean to undermine Archbishop Bathersby...Here it is with my comments:

"The Canberra Times report (3 November) of my comments on the South Brisbane parish might have appeared as my undermining Archbishop Bathersby's role in a very complex and difficult arena. [Indeed. Just why did the bishop feel the need to make public comments about a situation in another diocese? One can only speculate...]

In fact, in my conversation with the journalist, Graham Downie, I sought to do the very opposite. Part of the report read "Bishop Power described Archbishop Bathersby as Australia's most open and accommodating archbishop, who was committed to dialogue." [Indeed, we already knew that AB Bathersby is in fact in the same liberal camp as Bishop Power and is only being forced to act by virtue of appropriate action by Rome.]

I also expressed my understanding of the archbishop's insistence on compliance with the universal church's regulations on such things as the wearing of liturgical vestments, the use of authorised Eucharistic prayers and the restriction of the homily at Mass to priests and deacons.

At the same time, I gave voice to my admiration for parishes, such as St Mary's South Brisbane, for their reaching out to homosexual people and other groups of people who often feel marginalised by the Church and mainstream society. [The problem is that they are reaching out inappropriately - instead of calling them to repentance, they are encouraging them to continue sin. There is nothing admirable about this.].

I think that all would agree that many people who find a haven in St Mary's are close to the heart of Jesus. [Well, in as much as Jesus came to heal sinners, yes. In as much as heretics, schismatics and those in a state of mortal sin are cut off from God, no.]

Trying to find a balance in such matters means walking a fine line. [Hmmm, I don't think so. What is needed is clarity and insistence on the truth.]

It is my hope that in all such situations the will of God can be found through dialogue, mutual respect and a humble search for the truth. [The tired old cliches coming out yet again...]

Bishop Pat Power"

You might by the way, want to check out the Biblical text to which the picture above refers (Ezekiel 34, which providentially came up in my Scripture reading plan yesterday. It is a text that the Fathers generally see as a warning to bishops.


dingo said...

The critics on all sides of this debate (ie traditionalist, liberal, restorationist, etc, etc) appear to emphasise the presence of differences between Catholics. Unfortunately, this often appears to be at the expense of focusing on the things we have in common.

If you are gay or lesbian, and reading this comment: WELCOME TO TRADITIONAL CATHOLICISM! God loves us all. He created us all in His own image. (To suggest otherwise might be blasphemy). And, I hope that you love God too. We can’t offer you gay marriage at present, but we can offer…

From the Bible (both OT and NT), this appeared to be a problem in the time of Moses and Jesus. When Moses pronounced The Word of God, he said,

"Audi Israhel Dominus Deus noster Dominus unus est diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et ex tota anima tua et ex tota fortitudine tua eruntque verba haec quae ego praecipio tibi hodie in corde tuo"(Deut 6:4-6)

Similarly, Jesus Christ was asked about the greatest commandment. He pronounced The Word of God as previously announced by Moses,

"Iesus autem respondit ei quia primum omnium mandatum est audi Israhel Dominus Deus noster Deus unus est et diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et ex tota anima tua et ex tota mente tua et ex tota virtute tua hoc est primum mandatum"(Mk 12:29-30)

(If you are unsure of the Latin translation, then I suggest that you count the number of words that are similar in both of the above passages. The final meaning is ultimately the same.)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not forget the following Words of Our Lord,

"secundum autem simile illi diliges proximum tuum tamquam te ipsum maius horum aliud mandatum non est" [NRSV translation: “The second greatest commandment is this, that you shall love your neighbour as yourself, and there is no other commandment greater than these.”] (Mk 12:31)

A few words of wisdom… Both traditionalist and liberal segments of our Church are responsible for bringing people to Christ for salvation. Many gay/lesbian Catholics have found there way back to the Church thru liberal parishes like South Brisbane. In time, many have discerned the will of God and discover our traditional Catholic heritage. Let us not deprive them of using their own intellect here. The work of the Spirit has to start somewhere.

Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon. Many of the current issues with regard to homosexuality existed before VII. It is not easy to be Catholic for many contemporary gays/lesbians. For this reason “they must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (CCC no. 2358).

As St Paul noted, sometimes we might not like someone, but as Christians we must love all our fellow brethren in Christ (1 Cor 13). This applies to those on all sides of this debate (so called conservatives and progressives). All of us share a common interest: the salvation of souls. For many of us, it is a life struggle. Who is worthy to cast the first stone?

Terra said...


The question is what Christian love requires. This ain't about casting the first stone, it is about the duty of fraternal correction.

It is a false love that allows someone to continue in sin unwarned - and sin includes heresy. We can't offer gay marriage 'at the moment'???! How about ever. It ain't going to happen.

I do sympathesize with homosexuals who either do live or at least struggle to live faithfully in accordance with the Church's teaching. I agree that chastity is difficult for everyone, but especially those who suffer from this disorder and face pressure from peers to join the gay cult.

But I very much doubt whether South Brisbane has bought anyone suffering from this problem back to the Church. Back to a heretical, schismatic cult, perhaps. To the Church? That is a different matter.

As for focusing on differences - I don't have a problem with different schools of legitimate theological opinion, and perhaps we do sometimes lose sight of the things we have in common.

But when you use labels like 'restorationist', you show your colours. I'd also have to point out that the things happening in Brisbane, as even AB Bathersby has acknowledged, really do emphasize that we are not all part of the same Church.

Personally I want to belong to the Church which is founded on Peter, in union with his successors. Do you?

Remember that passage about wheat and chaff, and gnashing of teeth? That is the one you and your liberal friends should be pondering.