Friday, March 19, 2010

An Attempt to explain my silence: the problem of bishops who disagree with the pope

I'm sorry this isn't going to be very good. I'm tired and there's too much going on in my head and heart.

There is a reason, at least in recent months, why I have remained silent on the matter of dissident and/or silent bishops. During these difficult times I have fought hard to hang on to a belief in the Catholic way, that I should be obedient to my bishop. For a long time the problem has been, what if the bishop himself is not orthdox. What then?...................................................

Here in France, until the arrival of Pere Marchand, the bishop allowed a situation to develop in which I was more or less forced in diocesan churches to receive Commubion in the hand, standing up. In the local newspaper, he spoke out critically against the Summorum Pontificum. That was before the Pope's visit to France. He's been pretty quiet since then. But at least in France the Conference numbers 100 bishops, not including auxiliaries. There is room for the Pope's spirit to grow. As a result it IS growing, and it is healthy. In England and Wales, the Conference numbers 21 (excluding auxiliaries) and there, the SP was downplayed, or completely ignored, or misrepresented. They all seem of the same type. There is no room for a difference of opinion amongst the members of this hothouse. All follow the same road as regards appeasement of the government on matters of gay adoption, abortion, Catholic education etc. And it is unhealthy. It is definitely not Catholic. (apart from the three northern bishops)

Were I in England, I should have to be obedient to ++ Nichols. As Iam in the Diocese of Angouleme, it is now easier to be obedient to +Dagens because we have a priest not driven by considerations that influence his English counterparts. (I'm not yet sure how Pere Marchand was appointed or whether he is a member of an Order on loan to the diocese. I hope to find out during the coming week and will let you know.)

I would, with terrible pain, say goodbye to the Latin Mass for ever, if bishops would once again unite under the Pope, and say 'end of': abortion is murder; there is no such thing as marriage between same-sex couples within the Church; and whilst the Church says so, priestly celibacy remains the norm; and she does not have the authority to ordain women..

But in my heart I know that the Mass and moral Theology are connected, that is the old Mass and the understanding of it, which could have prevailed in the new Mass, had it not been hi-jacked. And it is why I understand what the Holy Father says about rupture and continuity. Not only that. It is why I have always known he is right about another thing, and it comes first above all else, from which so many, priests and laity, seem to have strayed. Priests can run all over the place, tiring themselves out, but if they are badly formed, if they do not start out with, and hang on to, that special relationship which alone in theirs with Jesus in His Eucharistic Presence on the Altar, all their works will be as second best.

Look around you now.

I know that everyone here will be praying for the Pope and praying for priests.


sandy said...

Dear Jane!
I know what it must have cost you to write these words,good, loyal catholic that you are.There is plenty of evidence for your conclusions in this area, as you know.I await, in hope ,for some support for our Holy Father from our bishops,especially now, when he is being attacked from every corner.Do I hope in vain?I fear so!
His letter today to the Irish church, moved me,so full was it of sorrow ,shame,and a bit of anger I think.Surely nobody could read it in its entirety and not be affected by it.Yet ,even for some now it is not enough.My loyalty is to him ,as an English catholic I can look to no other.

Jane said...

Sandy, thank you. You will see above, that I've managed to post again on the subject of the Holy Father's letter and prayer as regards Ireland.

Your words echo in my heart as I go to bed, "My loyalty is to him, as an English Catholic I can look to no other."

God bless you always,

David A. said...

Dear Jane,

I have only now just read your posting here. You convey your pain well. I feel I just have to say the following to you but I hope it doesn't come across as 'preachy'!

Your pain seems to me to be at least partly due to focusing on the the wrong things. Or should I say, the wrong persons. You should switch your focus away from the bishops, human as they are, and focus on Jesus and Mary. The devil loves discouraging us and if you keep reflecting on weak humans you will forget the purpose of our existence, to know God, to love Him and serve Him.

I would like to encourage you to investigate Medjugorje which is such a source of spiritual nourishment but unfortunately my experience of bloggers in general is that they seem to have been 'conditioned' to view events there negatively. But if you do continue to be spiritually a bit 'down', how about going in search of Mary there in Medjugorje? After all, the Holy Father is now formally doing just that!

God bless you.