Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I avoided commenting on the 'Sleeman intiative' over the weekend as the press scans for comments and I didn't want to be quuoted. Now that it has been a flop I can pass my remarks. My own experience was that there were no noticeable absentees from the 9.30 here in the Friary but one woman seemed (she was at the back and I can't see much beyond six feet without my glasses) to wear a scarf over her face and dark glasses. The glasses alone would've been wierd. She didn't come up for communion and was gone before we had left the church (we wait outside to greet people - very 'protestant' but it can lead to useful conversations). I was furious and I still feel it as an insult to the Mass, the congregation and myself.

In addition I heard today that a priest in a wealthy parish in Blanchardstown welcomed anyone wearing a green armband and proceeded to speak up for women's ordination with some dodgy exegesis. It's this kind of theologically illiterate dissent that has us in the state we are in. Doesn't anyone try to find out the truth? Is no one interested in obedience and humility? No wonder there are Sleemans in the Church if there are pastors such as this doling out their opinions rather than serving the Gospel.

After Mass on Sunday I had a long conversation with one of our regulars who, despite being quite mature, is studying theology. She told me of the sacramental theology she's getting and from what she told me it does not qualify as Catholic. It seems that some theologians are too intelligent to believe in the Real Presence.

The more I see and hear the more I believe that there's a deep unseen crack in the Irish Church that could split open any day. At that point there will be great pain. I am haunted by Jesus' question 'When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?' (Lk 18:8).

The good news is that the mature student I spoke to knows the Church's teaching and can challenge those who pretend that something else will suffice. There are faithful Catholics who struggle to hand on what so many others are denying or abandoning. We live in a time of iconoclasm but there are those who still choose Christ.


Anonymous said...

Brother Tom,

3rd level education really ought to be on the agenda for the apostolic visitation.

Any hope?


Legion Sister said...

I am also worried by the number of times the argument for the ordination of women is based on politics, as in, it has a certain level of support among certain people. An appeal to numbers is always political. Catholics should only ever appeal to truth. And in truth there is no reason why the Church, as a means for salvation of the soul, cannot function with priests of one gender. Christ gave us sacraments, and a priesthood to administer them. Any elaboration upon this is a work of politics, the things that are Caesar's, if you will. I dont say I am against the idea of a two gendered priesthood, per se, but to suggest the church lacks anything as our means of salvation because the priesthood is celibate and male is to suggest it is deficient as the bride of Christ and unequal to His salvation plan. Further, it is to suggest it has always been so. Why would someone with such views want to be Catholic, never mind a priest? The answer can only be for the power they perceive, perhaps wrongly, that priests wield in this world. Politics.

Anonymous said...

Well said Fr.

Tom said...

The Apostolic visitation will,apparently, look at seminaries but whether that will cover colleges like All Hallows etc., I don't know. I'm not holding my breath for any major changes.

Laughing Peasant (love the name!)- I spoke at Mass today on a similar line. The Church has always suffered from the effects of 'philosophical fashions' e.g. ideas about equality and analyses of relationships through the lnes of 'power'. Well, equality is a legal fiction - useful but limited. As for the idea of power - this just reduces responsibility to a form of oppression and runs in the face of Christ's own teaching that we are servants of a King. It's HIS Church, HIS Kingdom, not ours. But somepeople just don't get that. As for how much power clergy actually have - from my own limited experience not much.

gurnygob said...

The more I see and hear the more I believe that there's a deep unseen crack in the Irish Church that could split open any day.

Dear father do you not think that the hierarchy may have to share some of the blame. there is a big disconect between them and the little folk. they are strangers for the most part and rich ones at that.
I truly believe they live in a different world from the rest of us. The church is failing because the leaders are to busy with the ways of the world. I invite you over to my little blog and hope you would leave a comment or two.
The Quest for the Pearl

catholic gone A.W.O.L

RJ said...

As someone who has been through 3rd level theology in Dublin, I second what anonymous says above. It is absolutely necessary to clean out the Augean stables.

As you say brother, I believe there is an incipient crack under the surface. Perhaps it is already a reality in the internal forum. I hope it will be healed before it breaks out. I don't think this problem is unique to Ireland.


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