Post by Beinidict Ó Niaidh on Dec 16, 2010 12:25:49 GMT
It is clear that there has been zero delivery on Religious Education and, though it doesn't concern us here, most of the time spent on Irish language instruction has been wasted. However, it is interesting no one has suggested the state take any role in the moral formation of pupils. No one commenting on the growth in the number of atheists/agnostics/non-religious in the census should result in more children in the schools of this affiliation. In other countries, these children have to take ethics or the equivalent. What about here?
In the end, the whole education system needs an overhaul, but there is another thread about that.
As it happens, I have occasionally seen suggestions in the IRISH TIMES (usually from philosophy dons, though I think Fintan O'Toole has also put it forward) that religious teaching should be excluded from the formal school curriculum and replaced with secular ethics and philosophy classes such as have existed for a long time in France and such as those which the Zapatero government is currently making compulsory in Spain (to the chagrin of the Church, which has pointed out that these amount to secularist indoctrination). This is one of the problems with the view I often see advanced here, that the withdrawal of the religious orders from direct involvement in education is a positive thing because such matters should be left to the laity. This assumes education is a neutral process but it's not, and the withdrawal of the religious has contributed to a gap which is increasingly being filled by secularist forms of education.
The national media in Ireland is so horribly monotonous. Damian Thompson's blog at the Daily Telegraph (where he is blogs editor) has an enormous readership and has amassed huge influence. Could you imagine any mainstream Irish newspaper allocating a blog to someone of Damian's views? It is totally inconceivable.
The Irish media encourage people to see themselves as victims of 'clerical power'. I think this is partly a generational thing. John Cooney in particular appears to be living in something of a time warp. So many of our journalists when writing about Catholicism give the impression that the Church hierarchy is still mentally stuck in the medieval era and that any reform in the Church since the 60s is entirely to be credited to external forces, particularly the media. It's like the Second Vatican Council never happened. I could count on one hand the sum of times I've heard clergy talking about sexual morality but media discourse on Catholicism is totally dominated by the Church's relationship with matters corporal.
I also find that the Dublin 4 elite, despite priding themselves on being cosmopolitan and modern, can in fact be horribly backward and insular. RTE's Would You Believe? a few months ago featured a discussion on 'reforming the Irish Church'. All the predictable liberals were present: Fr Enda McDonagh, Fr Tony Flannery, Soline Vatinel, Bishop Willie Walsh etc. To Dublin 4 it is self-evident that the Irish Church is in need of massive 'reform'. Alternative perspectives are unheard and unsolicited. That enables them to create a consensus.
Thankfully the flowering of the blogosphere has made the situation more balanced. Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Tablet, recently commented: “If you developed an interest in British Catholicism by reading the various ‘Catholic’ blogs that have sprung up in recent years, you would conclude that we are in the midst of vicious cultural wars.” While I agree that many blogs do go over the top, at least the Church Establishment is finally being held to account. And they don't like it one bit.
It's actually physically much easier for some curiacrat in Rome to get his information about goings on in the local Church from the (generally orthodox) Catholic blogosphere than from the (generally liberal) established Catholic press. That has implications for the appointing of bishops, and much else besides.
Increasingly people are getting their information from online sources and forming their views on the internet. No less than former Irish Times editor Conor Brady described newspapers as a 'sunset industry'. This has a hugely democratizing effect on information transmission. Virtually anyone can start up a blog and potentially acquire a readership far surpassing the circulation of prominent newspapers. The English Defence League and the American Tea Party are examples of secular political movements that generate most of their momentum from online networking.
We need to make Catholicism in Ireland internet-friendly.
The point about the use of "power" in liberal comment on the Church is much simpler - it's used as a substitute for argument. The assumption is that the orthodox in general and the Church hierarchy in particular hold the views they do not because of their intrinsic content but purely and simply as a means of gaining power; the appropriate answer therefore is for the faithful to empower themselves by shaking off this usurped authority and doing whatever they feel like doing. (Look at Maurice Curtis's books on Catholic action for example - he does highlight quite a few problems with the versions of Catholic social teaching advocated in Ireland in the first half of the twentieth century, but his central assumption, which is so deeply embedded that he never even bothers to articulate it, is that it was simply a means of forcing the authority of the hierarchy and the activists on the population. The fact that the activists were recruited from the population and were presumably inspired - at least to begin with - by more than mere power-lust is completely irrelevant to his mindset, and their stated motives are seen as so irrelevant that they need not even be discussed.) This is sheer reductionism, and those who dismiss their opponents' motives out of hand in this manner generally object to having their own views subjected to similar reductionism.
The conservative American commentator James Bowman compares the way in which Chinese official history glosses over the darker aspects of post-revolutionary Chinese history lest the regime be discredited, with the way in which dominant narratives of American history (produced by a media class whose attitudes derive from the cultural changes of the 60s) emphasise the evil aspects of the pre-60s American past while downplaying what was good about it. Comparisons with the attitude of Irish culture-formers to pre-1960 (or, increasingly, pre-1990) Ireland, or the attitude of liberal catholics to the pre-Vatican II Church, may come to mind.
EXTRACT Think about that for a moment. If there is no mystery as to why the Chinese historians emphasize only the best in Chinese history and leave the bad stuff out entirely, there certainly is one as to why American historians mostly do the opposite. As Mr Sutherland’s wishful whitewash suggests [in a GUARDIAN article the literary critic John Sutherland suggests it is right that a planned biopic of Martin Luther King should exclude any reference to his academic plagiarism and womanising lest tarnishing his image should slow down the progress of blacks in American society -HIB], both narratives are alike in their rigid adherence to the progressive assumption that what serves the utopian project is all the truth you need to know. The past must always be supposed to have been less good than the present and must therefore only be of interest insofar as it explains how the superior present has come — or the superior future will come — into being. Beyond that, both are in the business of trashing the past for fear that people dissatisfied with the present might want to return to it. END
Allen's contributions are interesting because they take the conversation in different directions to a purely Irish discussion. He is clearly the most knowledgeable of the panel. What marks him out from the rest of the panel is that he does not assume the liberal Catholic narrative. He is aware that there are other views in the church and he does not assume that these views are inherently wrong.
He refers to a talk by Maire Keenan a psychotherapist. She was also featured on the Would You Believe documentary in January. I find her views troubling because, unlike even the most militant of the victims groups, she seem to put the blame on Catholic theology for the crisis. And she has the authority of mental health professional. She is not just another liberal theologian.
First problematic statement: That the church should be a "moral and social proposition" and less of a power apparatus. I don't know what she means by this. Of course as orthodox Catholic I want the church to propose a morality to the world and that the church leaders shouldn't abuse their authority. But is she actually proposing that a sort of congregationalist Church is the only one that is psychologically healthy.
2) She wants the distinction between clergy and laity to become more symbolic. Again is the outcome of this a form of congregationalism.
She makes an interesting point that the unfair treatment of priests accused of abuse could be a another manifestation of the desire to protect the institution at all costs.
“Maire Keenan a psychotherapist… She makes an interesting point that the unfair treatment of priests accused of abuse could be a another manifestation of the desire to protect the institution at all costs.”
Very interesting, humphrey, in light of the article in The Irish Catholic 7/4/2011 by Michael Kelly “Concern over Church delay in abuse allegations.”
Excerpt: “Two priests of the archdiocese stood aside after complaints concerning “safeguarding” issues were made to Church authorities. However, the two priests in question have not been returned to parish ministry by Cardinal Sean Brady despite a spokesman for the Cardinal conceding that police and social services “have no further interest” in pursuing the cases…. “these two cases are currently the subject of a canonical inquiry.”
The article goes on to say that a number of priests of the Armagh archdiocese “expressed a mixture of “dismay”, “disappointment” and “annoyance at the slowness of the process”.”
Maire Keenan’s point does appear to reflect the facts.
John Allen’s article of 8/4/11 in the NCR states that Marie Keenan put forward a few concrete proposals to reform the church:
. A new theology of priesthood. which would treat the distinction between the clerical and lay states as “more symbolic and less literal”
· A new ecclesiology which would treat Catholicism more as a “moral and social proposition” and less as a “power apparatus”
· A serious study of decision-making procedures within the Catholic hierarchy
· Rather than creating its own child safety protection offices and review boards, which Keenan said are fast becoming “bureaucratic, legalistic, and costly,” the church should simply “cooperate fully with the state” and independent bodies devoted to promoting child welfare.
In the end, Keenan didn’t seem optimistic about the short-term prospects for much of that happening.
“In the context of the current leadership of the church in Ireland, I see little to give me hope,” she said. “There’s a lot of talk about renewal, but the church still holds to its old top-down model.”
This really goes to the heart of the matter. This amounts to a demand for the abolition of the Catholic church - it is absolutely intrinsic to Catholicism that priests have sacramentally-conferred powers which the laity do not possess, that the Church is hierarchically organised, and that it is that way because Jesus made it so. This does not mean that authority is not abused, or that priests and bishops and superiors cannot do wrong and misuse their powers, but to say that they should not exist at all is to abandon Catholicism for a form of congregationalist Protestantism (let's see how that is doing...) This sounds suspciciously like paving the way for the eventual suppression of Catholicism on the pretext that it is inherently abusive.
BTW I wouldn't treat every psychologist's theories as gospel, any more than I would accept the word of every theologian.
Therefore, it was simply a matter of waiting a few days before this fine initiative was attacked in The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill aka RU 486 aka FishnChipsWrap).
Here is a letter accepted by RU for your disedification in the 9 April number. My emphases and comments:
Dubious models of priesthood?
It was interesting to read about the new Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in the British Province of Pope St Gregory the Great (News from Britain and Ireland, 2 April). The theologically dubious description of the priest as being an image of Christ, acting in the person of Christ, and possessing an “active instrumental power” all in a way in which the layman respectively is not, cannot, and does not, betrays a clericalist and power-based notion of priesthood at odds with any notion of service. This could all be put down to a traditionalist nostalgia for past priestly status or to an outmoded and flawed theology of the priesthood, were it not for the fact that psychologists and others are very aware that it is precisely that kind of power-focused selfdefinition that has in part contributed to the abuse of power within the priesthood, including the sexual abuse of children. [Nasty business, this. Affirm that there is a difference between the priesthood of the laity and the priesthood of the ordained and you on the same course as a child abuser. Tell that to the feminist nuns who abused kids.]
John J. Dunne Bridge of Earn, Perth
Okay… take a moment to … I don’t know… perhaps to wash your face after that slimy green-ink diatribe.
I don’t think any Catholic publication, even one such as The Tablet, should print a letter like that. Shame on the editor.
And to the writer:
I, a priest, can consecrate the Eucharist and absolve sins, and even confirm if necessary. If you are a lay person, you can’t. Even if you are a deacon, you can’t.
I, a priest, act in the person of Christ when I consecrate or absolve or forgive your sins during sacramental confession. I, a priest, am alter Christus when I do those things in a way that you, a lay person or even a deacon, cannot be. I, a priest, when I do those things, do them by Christ’s power through my poor and unworthy person.
I, a priest, can hold certain offices in the Church, which you, if you are a lay person, can’t.
I, a priest, am not better than you, if you are a lay person, but I have received a sacrament which made a change to my soul. I am different. I will be a priest in that sense forever, even after death, in heaven or in hell (God forbid).
If you are a lay person, you share in the priesthood of Christ insofar as you are baptized, but you are not a priest in the sense that I am a priest.
That’s how it is in my Church. The Catholic Church.
I hope the English Confraternity grows in numbers quickly. Let it be attacked often in the pages of The Pill.
Lay people can join as “friends” of the Confraternity.
NO, I haven't - the bishops seem to be incapable of any concerted action. The big question surely ought to be what is meant by "reform the church model". Everyone, liberal and orthodox/traditionalist alike, has run into clerical arrogance at some point (ask anyone who has been involved in "consultations" on the wreckovation of a local church, in which the "consultation" consisted of being lectured on how wonderful are the plans which the PP or the diocese have already drawn up, everyone who does not actively oppose the proposals is assumed to be in favour of them, and the authorities reserve the right to change the rules if they don't get the response they wanted).
What worries me is that a lot of the talk about "reform" appears to assume that (a) the only reform that anybody could possibly want is to attenuate the link with Rome to vanishing point and ditch any doctrines which are unacceptable to the editorial page of the IRISH TIMES (b) that the changes put forward (for example, by certain people in the association of Catholic Priests) amount to changing a "model" of the Church, whereas some of them are so fundamental that if they were implemented they would not be the same church (c) that the reforms proposed by the liberals would make the Church a "democracy" whereas by its nature the Church has to be an oligarchy - they would simply replace clerics with lay bureaucrats as the oligarchs (d) abolishing the central doctrines of what the priesthood and the sacraments are about would be a magic cure for clerical abuse, although anyone familiar with American evangelicals knows that their very different theology of ministry has not prevented sexual scandals.
Last Edit: Apr 25, 2011 15:55:39 GMT by hibernicus
Christ is the morning star who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the light of life and opens everlasting day
“NO, I haven't - the bishops seem to be incapable of any concerted action.” Not only concerted action, hibernicus, but also individual and/or concerted proposals.
This is particularly worrying. If the bishops needed a large sum of money they would have appointed a high-powered lay committee to raise the funds by now. Why do they not set up a committee, with representatives from all sections of the church, to bring forward concrete proposals for reforming our Irish church?
As usual these proposals would only be advice and could be ignored by the bishops, but at least Irish Catholics could see what are the options.
The problems in the church and the resulting evils have been well documented. Let us now have some solutions. Yes there will be options put forward from different wings of the church that will arouse controversy, but surely a group of core proposals can be agreed?
I very much doubt whether a group of core proposals can be agreed where there is fundamental disagreement about what causes the crisis. For example, referring to earlier posts on this and on the Maynooth thread, a "conservative" or "traditionalist" would argue that a necessary reform measure would be a revival of some traditional features of seminary training which were discarded in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. a crackdown on heterodox teaching, insistence on teaching philosophy to seminarians from a Catholic perspective rather than asssuming that the secular perspective which dominates Irish university philosophy departments is value-neutral, emphasis on Eucharistic devotion and a "high" theology of the priesthood, cultivating a degree of quasi-monastic seclusion in the seminary environment, promoting a strong sense of loyalty to the Pope and the Papacy as an institution) while the "liberal" view is that these things, and the theology which underlies them, are in fact a major cause of the problems and should be eradicated. The fundraising analogy does not stand up, because there everyone is agreed that the funds should be raised. The current situation is like asking people to raise funds and contribute for a resolution to the Middle East conflict without having decided in advance whether the funds are going to be donated to Hamas or Gush Emunim.
BTW in case anyone thinks I was unduly dismissive of Marie Keenan's credentials as a psychologist, psychology by its nature is a very subjective discipline and there is a long list of instances where practitioners have projected their own presuppositions on to it with unhappy results (try Freud's views on what women want, or the long and nasty history of right-wing psychologists describing left-wing political beliefs as products of mental illness and of left-wing psychiatrists doing the same to right-wingers). Ms Keenan's analysis should be judged on its merits, not accepted on authority because she is a psychologist.
The new issue of the IRISH CATHOLIC notes that a few days ago Caoimhin O Caolain of Sinn Fein complained in the Dail that the religious orders which ran the Magdalen laundries are still receiving money from the state, without mentioning that the money is used to fund front-line charities which serve the most vulnerable in society (soup kitchens for the homeless, etc). This little piece of church-bashing should serve as a reminder of how idiotic it was for the Christian Solidarity Party to ask its supporters to give their second preferences to Sinn Fein on the basis of a shared "Euro-realism" and because it does not challenge the dominant consensus on abortion in Northern Ireland. Anyone who has studied SF's recent history knows that that party (a) has a considerable far-left and pro-abortion element (b) place more emphasis on "exceptions" to the pro-life issue than do either the DUP or the SDLP; the latter IMHO is clearly the most pro-life party in the North (c) has a long record of lying and deceiving the public in general and its own followers in particular (remember how often they said there would be no decommissioning, and the number of times Gerry Adams has said he was never in the IRA (d) Is very tightly run by a centralised group which stifles internal party debate and have a record of sudden policy shifts. My own view is that the CSP's decision was motivated by the fallacious view that nationalism and Catholicism clearly go together, so that the more nationalist you are the more Catholic you are, however much evidence there must be to the contrary
margaretann: Is anyone hanging out white and yellow bunting for the Popes visit this year as we did for the last Popes visit.
Apr 1, 2018 15:57:13 GMT
maolsheachlann: I hadn't planned on it but it's a good idea.
Apr 4, 2018 12:52:39 GMT
maolsheachlann: I remember our parish priest complaining about the lack of flags for the Eucharistic Congress.
Apr 4, 2018 12:53:02 GMT
Magus123: I don't know what to believe about Medjegorje now. I was there in 1989. I saw the Priest and 2 of the visionaries. Is it real?
Apr 23, 2018 2:17:30 GMT
Magus123: Please, talk to me.
Apr 23, 2018 2:18:56 GMT
Young Ireland: No Magus, it is not. Anything miraculous happening there is the result of people's faith and not the apparition.
Apr 23, 2018 18:18:29 GMT
i like the nuns: i like nuns
May 19, 2018 19:56:19 GMT
Frank In: Hello
Jul 24, 2018 17:55:53 GMT
Nov 6, 2018 11:04:25 GMT
myholylandartifacts2: Definitely, the seven joys are different devotion. Yesterday I bought a beautiful handmade Rosary from holyland-artifacts.com/collections/frontpage/products/2 blessed in the Holy Sepulchre. The Rosary is mainly use by Roman Catholics while saying s
Nov 9, 2018 11:54:02 GMT
Claritas: Medjugorje ? I leave the visions / visionaries up to the Church. As for Our Lady - She is there. Go and experience the grace for yourself for a week. I was completely skeptical of Medjugorje until I did. It's an indescribably spiritual place.
Nov 17, 2018 2:53:29 GMT
maolsheachlann: Why did you go if you were completely sceptical?
Dec 18, 2018 19:36:25 GMT
woody: Medjugorje is a big hoax!
Dec 25, 2018 15:50:19 GMT
Claritas: It was not my intention to go until a series of events led me there. I'll leave it up to the Church to decide what is and is not a hoax, I can only judge what I personally experienced, and those of others pilgrims I met. My only regret is not going sooner.
Jan 16, 2019 22:58:04 GMT
Claritas: Maria, Regina Pacem, ora pro nobis.
Jan 16, 2019 22:59:12 GMT
Colmcille: Forum is all into politics of the world and mickey measuring instead of any depth of spirituality - wrong focus. No salt or light. Pray and Fast. May God bring blessings to you.
Feb 27, 2019 19:42:56 GMT
maolsheachlann: Well, that is because it is a forum. I suspect everyone who does post here prays and fasts and cultivates a spiritual life. But these are things we agree on, so it doesn't really make for discussion.
Feb 28, 2019 10:18:21 GMT
maolsheachlann: Of course, if you want to take it in a different direction you are welcome to post something.
Feb 28, 2019 13:18:15 GMT
Colmcille: Political nonsense. You don't have to disagree with the depth of Catholic spirituality, lives of the Saints and treasures of the faith in order to discuss them.
Mar 3, 2019 16:48:29 GMT
maolsheachlann: This is why I disabled the shoutbox on the Irish Conservatives Forum. People with substantive contributions to make will do so in the forum.
Mar 4, 2019 13:57:20 GMT