Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The fallout from the Morris dismissal Pt 2: Protestants speak up for Bishop Morris...

In the first part of this series on the fallout from the Morris affair, I suggested that part of the problem is that some of the most basic important concepts of our faith, such as the content of the virtue of obedience, are not actually shared ground between those who subscribe to the tradition, and modern liberals.

Catholics or protestants?

In this next part of the series, I want to suggest that many of those who identify with Bishop Morris and his ideas seem to be outright protestants, and not Catholic in any real sense of the word at all.

Worse, they seem to lack any awareness of the difference between Catholicism and protestantism.

I've long given up hope of seeing anything vaguely catholic in sentiment at the aCatholica Forum run by Mr Coyne, but in the last few weeks Cath News has seemingly also given up even the pretense of catholicism (the very welcome absence of 'blog watcher' this Monday notwithstanding.  I'm hoping this is a permanent change, and wasn't just a case of Mr Mullins needing the time to write his Monday Eureka Street diatribe!).

Priests and the Eucharist

Take today's Cath Blog by a Presentation Sister, Dr Mary Coloe who teaches Scripture at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.  If today's blog post is anything to go by, one can only wonder why her authority to teach has not long since been revoked.

Sister spends most of her post attacking the Pope and the hierarchy over the dismissal of Bishop Morris. 

Then she laments the declining availability of the Eucharist. 

There are the usual attacks on migrant clergy - (really, truly, it is not the colour of their skins, but 'lack of cultural awareness', she claims) - one even had the temerity to dismiss a parish pastoral council!  Hmm, one can just imagine why...

Bishops must foster vocations!

But her grand slam conclusion is a claim that God will judge our shepherds for seeming "to prefer a Eucharist-less church than consider other possibilities".

She omits, of course to provide any evidence for the claim that our shepherds would prefer a 'Eucharist-less Church'. 

Probably because there isn't any!  In fact of course all the evidence goes the other way - the Pope has removed a bishop who has utterly failed to cultivate the vocations of enough priests, or recruit priests from elsewhere to serve his people. 

Hopefully, the Pope will now appoint someone who actually does want priests in his diocese rather than lay or religious 'presiders'.  He will hopefully appoint a bishop who will take the steps necessary to support vocations and recruit missionary priests to help fill the gap in the meantime.  We know it can be done - just look at the dioceses where bishops have taken this task seriously in the last few years!

But secondly, just what 'other possibilities' is Sister trying to suggest that there are other than recruiting priests? 

Though Sister Mary obfuscates Catholic doctrine by talking about our being nourished by nourished by the 'Word and the Table', the reality is that the Catholic Church actually believes in the Mass as a sacrifice, not just a 'Eucharistic Table'.  And it is a sacrifice that can only be offered by a validly ordained priest (of whatever country of origin!).

So no, we can't pretend that Anglicans, Lutherans or Methodist 'Eucharists' are equally valid, or that a woman could be ordained to fill in the gap.  Such options might provide a type of blessed bread.  But it would not be the Body and Blood of Our Lord as Catholics believe.

I must admit I remain puzzled as to why those who believe in these options don't simply defect to a protestant denomination.  Most liberals purport to reject the value of a distinctly catholic culture; they don't believe in the necessity or validity of the sacraments as the Church understands them, so exactly what is holding them back?

Protestants unite...

That Sister Mary seems uncommitted to the Catholic perspective is perhaps unsurprising given the state of religious life in Australia and other countries (bring on that US Religious Visitation Report!). 

But what is truly breathtaking is the utter lack of shame or perhaps it is simply lack of awareness, of many of the commenters on her (and other related) post(s).  Take this small sample:
  • Commenter 'Greg' lauds Sr Mary and Fr Gerald Arbuckle's attacks on conservatives, calls for the rejection of  '2000 years of bureaucracy', and concludes "Perhaps we need another visionary like Martin Luther to begin a Reformation." [Last I heard Greg, Martin Luther left the Catholic Church some time ago...We don't need another Reformation - but perhaps we do need a Counter-Reformation!];
  • Commenter 'Jeffrey' notes that Bishop Morris' attack on the sacrament of confession "upset those who still believe in the confession box although most adult Catholics no longer use it" [objective truth and the practice of many catholics today are not necessarily or even it seems often the same thing!] and comments that "as to the 'priesthood', well, that is a dying institution. [Well no, it isn't actually.  The number of seminarians in Toowoomba and other liberal dioceses shouldn't be confused with the total number of seminarians in general, which is actually increasing rapidly!] It's not that we don't need 'presiders'... and those can be both women and men of virtue."; [!] and
  •  'Jah' notes that  "Bishop Morris was only asking what we are thinking 'Is the ordination of married men and women of greater importance than the lack of access to the Eucharist for us?'" [But it wouldn't be the Eucharist Jah...].
The legacy of fifty years of liberalism....turning this around is going to take a lot of time and effort!

Of course, it would be a lot easier if everyone, especially quasi-Church bodies like Cath News, actually supported the hierarchy rather than constantly providing a forum for those who wish to subvert it.

Part III of this series continues here.


Joshua said...

Why don't they just become Protestant?

Because even mainstream Anglicanism would offer Catholics rather too much of a good thing - i.e. better preaching, better taste in music, a rather better class of person at church, etc.

And those at the more Proddy end of the spectrum would be far too earnest in their beliefs, let alone knowledge of the Bible!

Sad to say, most of these nominal Catholics would be considered very third-rate by Protestants and Anglicans: and they would be right.

"Australian Catholics" love to hug themselves, when in fact they are embarrassingly ignorant and mediocre.

Anthony S. Layne said...

I guess my flabber is still gasted by the stunning lack of insight in "Jah's" comment ... apparently the True Body and Blood is irrelevant to him next to adopting Protestant mistakes.