Middlesbrough Diocese Promotes Married Clergy

Blogged by James Preece 1 Week ago...

Okay, okay.. so married clergy is a discipline rather than a dogma.  The Church could theoretically change the rules and in fact has made plenty of exceptions for Anglican converts and Ordinariate priests (er, hold on.. that's the same thing).  I get it.

I get it that Catholics can in good conscience completely disgree with the Church on this.  They can organise themselves in to a committee, write a mission statement and campaign their little hearts out.  Unity in diversity and all that Jazz.

Then again.. Pope Paul VI writing in his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus seems fairly sure that won't happen when he quotes here his raving modernist Vatican II calling predecessor Pope Saint John XXIII...

During the Roman Synod, with the sincere approval of all the clergy of the city, he spoke as follows: "It deeply hurts Us that . . . anyone can dream that the Church will deliberately or even suitably renounce what from time immemorial has been, and still remains, one of the purest and noblest glories of her priesthood. The law of ecclesiastical celibacy and the efforts necessary to preserve it always recall to mind the struggles of the heroic times when the Church of Christ had to fight for and succeeded in obtaining her threefold glory, always an emblem of victory, that is, the Church of Christ, free, chaste and catholic."

I wonder how Pope Saint John XXIII would feel, then, about th "Movement for Married Clergy" being promoted by the Diocesan Adult Formation people.

Surely their remit is to teach and support that which the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us "radiantly proclaims the Reign of God" - not to campaign for it's abolition.

Joyfully Sharing the Gospel

Blogged by James Preece 3 Weeks ago...

I would like to highly recommend to you this upcoming day of talks which will be happening in York on 16th May.

The School of the Annunciation is a very good thing.  I have to say this sort of quality catechetical and Lunch for only £15 is incredible.

Important Update: The venue for the day has changed, it is now St Wilfrid's Church, Duncombe Place, York, YO1 7EN.   This is the central Catholic Church in York, right opposite the Minster and easy to find.

In support of our priests, our families, and our Church

Blogged by James Preece 1 Month ago...

You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to me or to one of the coordinators:

Mark Lambert (mark@landbtechnical.com) or Andrew Plasom-Scott (andrewplasom_scott@me.com)

The letter:

Dear Sir,

We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald, http://bit.ly/19kuBkl

As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.

It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.

For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.

We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.

Yours faithfully,

Marriage: A Vocation

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

A vocation is a calling to make a sacrifice of our lives and follow Christ and Marriage is a way of doing this.

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church

[Ephesians 5:25-29]

All Christians are called to follow Christ and Paul explains that our Marriage is a way of following Jesus by giving up our lives for others. Men and women are treated differently, but both are asked to make sacrifices.

Marriage is not a system for deciding who gets to make the decisions, it is a radical decision to give up ones life for another. Anybody saying “it's not fair, why should I be subject to Him?” has missed the point.

Am I living my marriage as a vocation, as a way of making a sacrifice of my life like Christ did on the cross. Do I obey my husband? Do I love my wife as Christ loves the Church?

All Christians are called to a life of following Jesus and making sacrifices of our lives. Marriage is a way of doing this, it's not a case of “I'm not called to priesthood so I'll 'just' get married”.

Dolche and Gabanna are wrong..

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

I remain perplexed.

One moment I'm being lectured about the unique talents women bring to the table, that companies with more women on the board tend to perform better and how the government ought to impose quotas on the number of female MPs.

The next moment I'm being told that in the family, the number of women involves is absolutely insignificant.  Women being nothing to the table.  Two men can themselves up as Mr and Mr Dad and only a nasty bigot would dare suggest that something is missing from the equation.

So I've got some sympathy for Stefano Gabanna (of Dolche & Gabanna) when he says.. "I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents." "A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother."

However, this is where we part company.

Let me be clear: Children born through IVF are innocent children, they didn't choose their parents or the manner of their birth.  Dehumanising them with labels such as "chemical offsprings" "children of chemistry" "synthetic children" is seriously out of order. 

God loves those children. Elton John is wrong about a great many things, but he is not wrong to be upset about this.  What a thoroughly stupid thing to say.

I firmly believe that a child needs a mother and a father, but with friends like Dolche and Gabanna - who needs enemies?

Stations of the Cross

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

Just returned from a great night at the West Hull Parishes Youth Club.

Tonight it was the young people's turn to lead the Stations of the Cross.  Even the younger primary schooly ones read short passages for each station and I got a proud dad moment when Leona read her piece.  It was really good to see the older teenagery ones helped coordinate things giving them nudges to go up and shuffling the microphone up and down so they could be heard.  No adult intervention required.

At first sight, Stations is so boring and repetitive. Read, pray sing. Read pray sing. Repeat fourteen times. Blah, blah, blah.. but the kids seem to really go with it.  Maybe it's the handy progress bar telling you you've done 12 of 14 and it's almost over... but I think a lot of it is in the events described.  Even quite young children know something serious is going on and it seems to draw them in.  It's a compelling narative and a powerful evangelisation tool.

Anyways... Flame organisers.  Now you know what to do next time... :)

How to Give Atheists the Chance to Give God a Chance

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

John C Wright writes..

There are two ways to reach the rational atheist. First, every honest man has something he holds as his highest good, a paramount value or principle or rule of life which serves him in the place of God. The rational atheist will give God a chance once he realizes that his paramount value is arbitrary and irrational in a universe where there is no God.

Second, the rational atheist, if the arguments are put before him, will come to see that the Christian worldview was as worthy of respect as the worldview of Aristotle or Confucius or that of any other pagan sage or philosopher. This can only be done by Christians being willing, as Lewis and Chesterton were, of supporting the reasons behind Christianity.

And, once he sees this, he will see that only monotheism can support the highest value he regards as valuable.

The way to cure ignorance is through knowledge.

The ignorance of the atheist has seven very powerful allies keeping him blind: lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. We for our part have very powerful allies shining light in that darkness, brighter than the lightningbolt:

The first is justice: no coherent account of life can truly be erected on a logically consistent atheist foundation. A fair examination of the various worldviews offered to the modern man will always award the Christian view the laurel.

The second is prudence: the atheist culture, and the atheist man, have no means to avoid floundering in the mire of lust and powerlust, lust of the eyes and the ratsace of chasing after material possessions, which, in the long run, never bring the satisfaction at first glance they seem to promise.

The third is fortitude: no atheist can stare without flinching into the utter abyss of the infinite death that confronts him, death that will one say consume wife, children, nation, race, and the whole earth.

We Christians can rejoice in the smallness of the Earth in the cosmic scheme of things for the same reason we rejoice in the humbleness of our prince being born in a smelly stable in the remotest corner of the Empire, or the humiliation of a god suffering the death of a slave.

But the atheist can only be aghast at the smallness of all human efforts: we live on a speck of dust circling a medium sized star in the smallest Arm of the Milky Way. The Andromeda Galaxy is ten times our size, and will collide with us in three billion years. At that point in time, there will be no record of anything you can name, for even the constellations will be gone. The atheist can be an atheist only one of two ways: by pretending to possess a philosophical stoicism in the face of death which no real person can long maintain, or by pretending to be a philistine who ignores the grand scheme of things to concentrate on pleasures and distractions, growing ever more frustrated as they pall.

And atheism is terribly lonely. There is no companionship with anything other than frail and treasonous fellow man to look to for comfort. There is no forgiveness.

The final is temperance: the fact of the matter is that human beings do not have the power, by exercise of their own self control, to live happy, prosperous, virtuous and peaceful lives. If we all lived like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, lives of incomprehensible joy in the face of suffering, we could conquer the current world order just as our ancestors conquered the Roman Empire, without ever drawing a sword or raising a fist in our own defense.

So much for the rational atheist.

The irrational atheist does not doubt God but instead hates him. This leaves the irrational atheist free to indulge in every vice and sin their darkened hearts can conceive, and indulge in every slander the Church the dishonest imagination can supply, or otherwise their hatred cannot be maintained.

The only way hatred of God can be eroded is by love.

You, my fellow Christians, must be willing and able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live lives so remarkable for your charity and love and peace and joy that the irrational atheist will be shocked and surprised and ask you about your source of joy.

You have to live lives he envies, without abortion, without divorce, without the sins that create such misery.

Read the full thing here.

CYMFED Flame 2: A Participant's View

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

A reader who attended the Flame 2 event writes..

This event seemed like a box ticking exercise rather then something that is authentically evangelising our young people.

Here are my concerns with Flame 2 after attending the event at Wembley:

  • The speakers seem to more reflect the likes and theology of the organisers rather then being picked for their dynamism for communicating the Catholic faith authentically to young people.
  • The line up for Flame 2 was the same old liberal ‘circuit’ speakers and fronted by unethical organisations such as CAFOD that dominate youth events with boring platitudes without proclaiming the truths of the faith. (Of course this is all done under the guise that they are meeting young people where they are at)
  • Throughout the event there was a sentimental notion of mercy and joy divorced from the proclamation of the gospel of repentance.
  • In fact the language of sin, repentance and interior conversion was completely missing from the event.
  • Substitution of youth ministry ‘buzzwords’ throughout the event for the Word of God and the teaching of the Church.

There's a young man I occasionally converse with about religion who will often bring objections and arguments about the truth of the faith.  We talk a bit and he will often concede that his arguments are not very convincing and it's likely there is something in it.

Then he says... "I'm sure God will forgive me though, if I'm wrong" because his Catholic education has taught this young man only one thing - that God (if He exists) doesn't care at all how people live..  That the message of Christianity is "do whatever makes you happy and God will clean up the mess afterwards".

Sadly, the mess is all to real because sin ends up being it's own reward.  I'm old enough now to know plenty of people in their twenties say "I'm sure God will forgive me" turn in to people in their thirties saying "why did God let these things happen to me?".

The truth is that God does care and not because He is an authoritarian monster who likes bossing people around but because His will really is what is best for us. When we live in opposition to his will, we put ourselves in harms way. 

So yes, God's mercy is real - just like hospitals are real.  But if it's all the same to you, I'd rather my children be taught how to look both ways before they cross the road.