The Divine Fr Daniel O'Leary
Blogged by James Preece on 1st November 2009
I will begin this blog entry with a simple theological question:
Who is both human and divine?
If you answered "Jesus" then you don't win a prize because it's a very easy question and I don't have any prizes. Perhaps you could pause for a moment to enjoy the feeling of smug self-satisfaction that comes with knowing how to tie your own shoelaces.
Now, a trickier question... Who is being spoken about here:
To be tormented by restlessness is one of the many frustrating consequences of being both human and divine at the same time!
If you answered "Jesus" then you are wrong.
Who else is both human and divine?
Well, I didn't say it. That was written in The Tablet last July by a certain Fr Daniel O'Leary, a priest "in good standing" of Leeds Diocese. According to Fr O'Leary, all of us are human and divine. You can read the full article (warning, PDF) here.
Why do I mention this now? Well, yesterday the Diocese of Middlesbrough hosted an "Inspirational Study Day for Lay Ministers of the Word". Personally, I can't use the word "inspirational" with a straight face these days but I'm not laughing because for this Inspirational Study Day the speaker is none other than Fr Daniel O'Leary.
For some reason this particular Inspirational Study Day isn't listed on the Middlesbrough Diocese website. Maybe they are hoping nobody will notice? I would certainly want to keep it quiet. An earlier article of his in The Tablet was described as follows...
"To be excessively scrupulous in trying to eliminate all sin is to miss the point of Christ's example and, as one priest finds, too much virtue can even hurt you"
So we are divine and if we try to avoid sin then we are missing the point.
Maybe some people find that inspirational?
A priest in Leeds Diocese (I'll keep him anonymous) writes...
Fr. Donal O’Leary (as his name used to be) is probably a material heretic; I remember arguing with him about the sacraments at a deanery conference. He believed the sacraments were ceremonies celebrating what is already there in us, rather than an infusion of grace from God.
Me? I saved my parish £10 and went to a youth day instead.