Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Listing Barque

Poor old bishop Kieran Conry has just made a bit of a twit of himself (see almost every Catholic blog - eg Holy Smoke, Hermeneutic of Continuity).

He has fallen victim to what I call the listing barque syndrome.

Some years ago (1950s) it seemed that the barque of Peter (aka The Catholic Church) was leaning a little too far to the right. The Second Vatican Council suggested a few minor and moderate changes to stabilise the ship, but the main message was steady as you are. However, a few of the watch leaders over-reacted and rushed to the left, calling everybody to follow them. The crew, being largely obedient types, followed suit, with the inevitable result that the boat lurched to the left.

Some observant souls noticed this, and rushed to the right to counter the list; unfortunately, some went too far and fell off altogether (eg into sedevacantism). Seeing this, the watch leaders leaned further to the left, not noticing the thousands of souls behind them falling off to the left.

And every time anyone suggests that there is a problem, they say 'Look, we can't go back to the right, look what happens!' pointing at the unfortunate few who fall off the barque that side.

And thousands continue to fall off behind them on the left.

And bishop Conry is still telling us that regular confession is a bad thing because (conceivably) in the 1950s some people went out of habit... And of course adherence to the traditional Mass is very dangerous; whereas altar girls, innumerable extraordinary minsters, liturgical dance and so on are necessary correctives to the dangerous tilt to the right (which may have been almost discernible more than 50 years ago!).

I used to think that we needed to await the next generation of bishops for this silliness to pass- and by and large I think that's true. But the bishop of Lancaster has proved me wrong, at least in one case: most recently by his brave and necessary decision to sever links with (soi-disant) Catholic Caring Services, as despite all his efforts they are determined to follow an anti-Catholic path.


Andrew said...

It's only by Divine intervention that the ship has not run aground with the many daff people manning it =)

Ben Trovato said...

Indeed: as promised by Our Lord: The gates of Hell shall not prevail against her!

Adulio said...

I would not say that the 1950s were leaning to the "right". The church under Pius XII was very flourishing and the church boomed in places like Africa.

You would be correct however in saying the the late 1950s and early 1960s seemed to have naive optimism about the future.

Ben Trovato said...


Good intervention!