Friday, 22 July 2016


I would like to ask the readers of this blog a very important question: “IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS AN INSTITUTION REFORMABLE”?

Or is it now at the stage where reform is impossible?

Personally I lean on the side of believing that it is IRREFORMABLE!

Here OF COURSE I distinguish between, as one must, the Catholic Institution and the Church of Christ.

I DO NOT accept that the Roman Catholic Institution is the same thing as the church Jesus founded. 

The RC institution is really the Roman Empire Mk 11 which emerged in the 4th century when Constantine made Christianity the official state religion. That's when the church began to deteriorate and to merge with the state. 

That began the gradual deterioration in the church with it becoming increasingly an institution rather than a church and increasingly interested in becoming politically, instead of spiritually "powerful".

And so today we have:

1. A Vatican that is a worldly state instead of the Kingdom of God on earth that Jesus intended.

2. A pope who is a king / president / prime minister instead of the leader of the "apostles".

3. A government cabinet (the curia) instead of the body of apostles.

4. A Body of Legislation (Canon Law) instead of a people that are governed by The Book (Bible) according to Jesus' Law of Love.

5. A Central Bank - the Vatican Bank - pretending to follow the Man who said: "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no where to lay his head".

6. People living in Apostolic and episcopal palaces pretending to follow the man who lived in poverty and simplicity in Nazareth.

7. Cardinals like "Mother Burke" in scarlet and ermine Cappa Magna's robes pretending to follow the Man whose simple robe they cast lots for.

JESUS ??????

8. A Vatican Diplomatic Corps in 164 nunciatures ignoring the Man who said: "Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are God's".

9. "Apostles" flying around the world in First Class pretending to follow the Man who entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. 

10. Celibate ???  prelates preoccupied with human sexuality pretending to follow the Man who never mentioned sex.

Some people boast that the Roman Catholic Church has 1.2 billion members.

So what?

At the pivotal moment of Christianity - CALVARY - Jesus only had 5 "followers" - Mary his mother, Mary the wife of Cleopas, Mary Magdala (whose feast day is today - July 22nd), John and Dismas the Good Thief.

Gandhi said: "If a million people follow you ask yourself: "Where have I gone wrong"?

Are those 1.2 billion followers of the Roman Empire Mk 11 or followers of Jesus?

In the USA many good Catholics - well over a million of them - have stopped following the Roman Empire and are now Independent Catholics. 

Julie Byrne has written a very good book about the growing number of independent Catholics in the world.

Is it time that we had an INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC CHURCH in Ireland?


  1. Well, yet more splitting would certainly be good news for the enemies of the Church -- divided we fall. This is a time for calm judgment with no rashness. Most strength comes from prayer. God bless.

  2. I too am concerned with the early Church being implicated by Constantine. What you have eloquently furnished, Bishop Pat, is what I would have wanted to express - but unable to do so descriptively. I am reminded of the Antioch crisis when some Judaizers tried to teach the people that Jewish law (Circumcision in this case) was an additional requirement for salvation. And - fast-forward to the Reformation - it was inevitable that Luther could not idly stand by as Five-Star Indulgences were being sold as a ticket to Heaven. In more recent times, I am reminded of the spectacle on the Manuagua airport runway when Fr. Ernesto Cardenal (Culture Minister) was openly berated by John Paul as he (the Culture Minister Minister) knelt before him (see Acts. 10:26).
    I am of the opinion that the Holy Scriptures - the Bible - is the all-sufficient means for acquiring salvation. Also: I am circumspect of those who have claimed to have seen the Lord Jesus Christ - why? - because such is at variance with Holy Scripture; "Men of Galilee, why do you stand staring up into the sky? This same Jesus Who has been taken from you will return again in the same way as He left" - Acts 1:11.
    I personally have been edified and uplifted by reading the Word of God. Jesus never mentioned Indulgences, celibate presbyters or the rubber-stamo-style of canonizing saints, as is the practice of Rome.

    Jarlath Vaughan

  3. The Vatican as an institution gives the church leverage on the world stage but needs to be sorted out. I've been saying for years the church on the ground needs a modern Reformation -Brexit if you will. Many are talk and no trousers

  4. I believe the Church is reformable. Perhaps it needs a huge structural overhaul. More subsidiarity and less centralisation. The Body of Christ is an organic entity and change and growth should happen at the cellular level just like in living organisms. Maybe it was more like that in the early church. It's argued that the celtic church in Ireland grew quite organically and idiosyncratically, cut off from the faraway roman church.The Pope should always have authority in doctrinal matters of faith and morals but does Rome need to worry about governance like the appointement of local bishops? Couldn't a local church even decide on disciplinary matters such as clerical celibacy? It still could be in full commuinion with Rome whilst at the same time ensuring it has enough priests to minister. Christ is as much at the periphery as in the centre. The way the Romans and Italians process the world is surely different to other cultures in Africa or Asia. Canon law is probably heavily influenced by Roman law. It may not be universally accepted in all times and all places. Power seems to be the aphrodisiac that impedes the movement of the Holy Spirit. Or else fear of stepping out of sync with the powers that be. The Roman curia exerts a huge power over bishops and bishops over priests. It's very hard to let go of that power especially when coupled with money, privilege and prestige. However a time comes when things become so unwieldly that the centre can't hold any longer, be it the emperor in Rome or the politburo in Moscow. I think the church was in a healthier place in the distant past when roman inteference was minimal and when the local church had more of a say in something as simple as appointing a bishop of its own choosing. Even the catechism is now universal. In the past decrees from Rome often took generations to implement in distant dioceses. It seems now there is too much control exerted from the centre.It emasculates local churches and turns bishops into branch managers accountable to faceless bureaucrats in Rome. It also fosters a blandness and uniformity and downplays the role of culture. That sort of roman cultural imperialsim is turning people off. Also the canonical roman language and turn of phrase sounds pompous to many people who just switch off completely when it comes to roman pronouncements or ornate roman rituals.

  5. There is already a Communion of International Catholic Churches whose Holy Orders are accepted as valid by Rome, having grown out of the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht. There are a number of ordained clergy in Europe and North America under episcopal oversight. It ordains married clergy. Perhaps that might be the answer for faithful Catholics in Ireland?

    1. So where and who exactly are these churches. 22 July 13 56

  6. Of course the Church can be reformed and is being reformed - constantly throughout history! ECCLESIA SEMPER REFORMANDA!

    Jesus did not found an "independent" Catholic Church. He appointed Peter - not any Tom, Dick and Harriet who decides to go his/her own way.

    It suits your agenda, Pat, to think the Church is irreformable - but your are wrong and in error.

  7. MourneManMichael22 July 2016 at 14:18

    I think there are many who might be regarded (by ultra conservative traditionalists?) as "enemies of the church", who are simply sick sore and tired of the shennanigns of the bloated self serving Roman institution this blog is about. Its demise is long overdue, so anything that helps this descent into oblivion is welcome.
    Christ, whoever he was, (and I say that as a non deist), led by example and followed the Golden Rule (love and care: do as you would be done by). So kicking out the trappings of clericalism to allow for a more purposefull interpersonal spirituality and fellowship can only be good.

  8. I truly believe that there is a necessity for an independant catholic church.
    I have become so disheartened with the catholic church of today with all its falsity and overwhelming wealth and all the scandals that have left it's followers completely disillusioned. There is a deep requirement for change!

    1. I hear the cockles but where are the muscles. O agree Molly

  9. Divided what falls? A monolithic, power mad, political institution. Hardly a big loss. Any war I have heard of or read about had "God" or religion involved. Get rid of religion, give peace a chance.

  10. The church of Rome is full of rot and disease from the top down . It's like a farm with foot n mouth the poison needs burned out and started again

  11. Maybe we Catholics could learn a few things from the Dalai Lama . When asked what religion meant to him he replied: My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

    1. And the Catholic Church founded by Christ is also very simple..Love thy neighbour as thyself!

    2. PS. If you do enough research you will find reports of sexual abuse within every religion including Buddism. People really need to be more critical in their thinking and suppositions.

  12. Pat, check out Richard Sipe's website.

    It bears out much of the concerns raised here about Maynooth except this is in the USA:

    (Here he accuses a retired American Cardinal - Theodore Mccarrick of being a practicing homosexual and seducer).

  13. Maynooth??? Hello?? Read this!!

  14. My granny was on a par with the Dali Lama on this one. Shortly before she died at a sprightly 98 she was asked what religion meant to her. Absolutely nothing was her reply. God is everything!!