Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Cardinal Nichols' Rebuke

I read Cardinal Nichols' rebuke to the brave priests with interest and puzzlement. How was he, I wondered to myself, going to tell priests off for fulfilling an essential part of their vocation: viz, proclaiming the Gospel?

A tricky task, one might think.

But not for Cardinal Nichols. He is up to any such challenge. Here is his statement, as quoted in the Catholic Herald:
Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established. 
The pastoral experience and concern of all priests in these matters are of great importance and are welcomed by the Bishops. Pope Francis has asked for a period of spiritual discernment. This dialogue, between a priest and his bishop, is not best conducted through the press.
So the naughtiness of the priests is not proclaiming the Gospel (phew) nor even, apparently, doing so in the public forum (phew again) but rather using the press as the channel of dialogue with their bishops.

That might seem reasonable enough (heavens, it might even be reasonable enough) if  this letter were addressed to the bishops; or even if the priests had good reason to believe the bishops would listen to private dialogue; or even if the bishops themselves were reflecting prayerfully on all this. But none of those conditions is clearly met.  

In the first case, the letter is more of a public proclamation of loyalty to Christ, His Church and its teaching (and why would any bishop object to that?) than anything else. True, it concluded with an exhortation to all those attending the Synod - but that group is by no means the same as the bishops of these priests. Only three from England and Wales are attending; and many others from many other nations are. 

The second issue is sadder; it seems that many priests, perhaps with good reason, do not believe that the bishops listen to private dialogue. 

And as for the third, it seems that Cardinal Nichols has already gone public with his view, contra the Bible, the Catechism, Tradition and just about everything else, that divorced and remarried people could be readmitted to Communion under certain conditions, according to The Pill.

Some of the more cynical amongst us wonder if the real problem is that the Cardinal and the Conference like to control the narrative, and that control has been wrested from them by the internet, much as samizdat broke the Party's control of communication in the USSR.

And who knows where that might lead? Why, even the laity may forget to hold their tongue, and start demanding that the Faith be taught and lived: and then where would we be?

5 comments:

Pétrus said...

Ben, I have written on this myself and have come to a fairly similar opinion.

http://menarelikewine.org/cardinal-nichols-press-not-the-place-for-synod-debate/

There is clearly something rotten in the state of Denmark when a Cardinal is rebuking priests for defending the faith.

Bruvver Eccles said...

Breath-taking hypocrisy from Nichols, a man who loves appearing on television and radio and the press. Worse than that, though, as he is clearly on the side of changing the rules (has he ever spoken out against all the dissent in the Church?)

Just do your job, Cardinal, which is to uphold the faith. Is that too much to ask?

Mark Lambert said...

He uses the media to criticise priests for using the media? I think this is a huge error of judgement from Cardinal Nichols, he has tipped his hand here and revealed that he has a very dodgy agenda. Those of us who have tried to think the best of him in the past now know exactly what his agenda is.

Ben Trovato said...

A priest sent me this comment by email, to be posted on the blog:

"One of the 450" writes:

As a boy and as a young idealistic priest, Vincent Nichols' hero was St John Fisher.

Now he has become a Cardinal, sadly it appears that he takes as his role model St John Fisher's contemporary - Cardinal Thomas Wolsey whose conscience was determined by what was politically expedient and politically correct.

It is ironic that Cardinal Nichols recently celebrated Mass in Leicester for King Richard III as it was in Leicester where Wolsey died and is buried.

Just before he died Wolsey famously said: "If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he would not have given me over in my grey hairs".

How sad it is that Lord Acton's words ring so true: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely".

Simon Reilly said...

If the laity have any sense they will demand that the territory of England and Wales should be reverted to a vicariate apostolic.