I do not wish to comment on Fr Fisher (any more than I did on Kieran Conry after his fall) and for similar reasons: it is bad form to kick a man while he is down, and we do not know all the circumstances.
However, as with the Conry affair, I think it raises questions that are both legitimate and important to address, with regard to the episcopal oversight of the affair.
Soon after Fr Fisher's appointment, many were speculating about the bishop's intention in appointing him to the parish. Even given the most charitable of interpretations, it was clear that something had quickly gone very wrong. But there was no episcopal intervention, merely a bland letter.
Now it seems that there were already plenty of reasons to suspect at that time that Fr Fisher might have been in a fragile space, with regard to his faith and his vocation. Either these were known of when he was appointed to Blackfen, in which case I think he was the victim of a gross dereliction of care; or they were not, in which case I think my observations on Toxic Ignorance (which I voiced at the time of the Conry scandal, apply).
For the victims of this are not merely those who loved the traditional Mass at Blackfen, nor just those who liked the new ways at Blackfen, who have lost their new PP after less than a year, but also Fr Fisher himself, who seems to be going through a bad time (and which is really not helped by vitriolic attacks which some have made in comms boxes or on Facebook and Twitter: Catholics should know better than this). What he needed at that time is more likely to have been excellent pastoral support, not being thrown into what was bound to be a very difficult position.
I can only conclude that the crisis in the Church in the country continues, and that a major factor in this is widespread episcopal failure.
We do have good bishops, of course, and it is important to listen to them and support them.
And we have others. We must not be led astray by them, nor allow ourselves to be scandalised by them, or led into behaving badly ourselves, in our frustration and anger.
We must pray for them all, and for Fr Fisher, and all affected by the developments at Blackfen.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio's book "A disaster" - This is a must watch. "It is a disaster...it is casting aside the message of the Gospel"
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