Monday, 27 February 2017

Bigoted, misogynistic, and controlling – scathing critique of Catholic Church by its own members

By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor THE TELEGRAPH

The Roman Catholic Church is bigoted, misogynistic, controlling, judgmental, outdated and pharisaical – in the view of some its own most devoted members, according to an unprecedented official snapshot of opinion in the pews revealed by Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric.

The frank and at times blistering assessment of opinion among the faithful is disclosed in a report, published by Cardinal Vincent Nichols ahead of what is expected to be a historic gathering of bishops in Rome next month which will discuss issues including divorce and homosexuality.

Cardinal Nichols said it was vital to be open about the nature some of the comments, which he said showed the Church as a “lively, passionate family” which has its arguments rather than simply a “PR exercise”.

Pope Francis’s decision to call a special Synod of Bishops to discuss the family is being viewed as the centrepiece of his drive to recast the Church’s traditional teaching with a renewed emphasis on the idea of “mercy”.

It has opened up a vocal debate about the exclusion of divorcees who remarry from Holy Communion and the Church’s approach towards gay people.

As part of a process of “discernment” following a preliminary Synod last year, bishops in England and Wales asked Catholics to send in their own responses to a series of broad questions about the struggles of family life, marriage, and parenthood.
While many spoke of family life as a “blessing”, others told of feeling trapped in failed marriages and deep sadness, a situation some argued was compounded by the teaching of the Church.

"I believe it is important for our bishops to know that marriage is not always a ‘gift’ and that Church teaching on marriage has led to untold misery for many couples and has had lifelong, detrimental impact on the mental, physical and spiritual health of their children,” wrote one.

When asked if they had passed on their faith to their children, one wrote: “We are ashamed of our faith – so misogynistic, controlling, self-opinionated.”
Another added: “As children grow into young adults they do not identify with an organisation that holds outdated and misogynist views.

“They live their lives according to what they think is right ... How can it be right for people living with HIV/Aids not to use condoms?

Image result for hiv and condoms

“How can it be right for divorced and remarried people to be refused Communion? How can the Catholic Church's view on the evil of homosexual, cohabitation be right?

“Thank God for the secular world which has blown in to the murky corridors of the Vatican.”

Another remarked: “Children and young people … see a Church which discriminates against those who are divorced, gay, against women, and yet hides internal corruption and displays huge riches in the face of international poverty.”

One diocese summed up responses from its area remarking: “There was a general consensus of the church being pharisaical in its response to who can and cannot receive the blessed sacrament.”

Cardinal Nichols said: “A Synod like this and consultations like this are not PR exercises – it’s not about wanting to put in front of you something that says how good we all are – this is a church of sinners, we make a mess of things, it is messy.

“You can hear all sorts of voices: you can hear those voices, I’ve got letters from gay people saying don’t believe them we are very accepted in our parish, others say it is the opposite.
“What we’ve got is a lively, passionate family and we have our arguments and we have our different points of view and that’s fine because we a shared Lord and we have the places where we meet. And it’s very important that we learn more about how to make everybody welcome in those places.”

On the question of receiving remarried divorcees back into Holy Communion he argued he Church should approach the issue on a case-by-case basis rather than a sweeping change in teaching.

“One of the great issues without a doubt is to see what is the pattern of conversion for people who have experienced failure in their marriage and have found a precious new partner.

Image result for bishop condom cartoon

“That can only be answered one by one. Marriage and divorced people are not a category and there will be no categorical solution, because they are not a category they are people on a pilgrimage like all of us.”


  1. Love the Condom crown lol was never very good at wearing them myself but would always recommend them even to priests lolololololololololol.
    By the way was it not one of the Popes in the pee 1980 reigns make it available for Nuns in Africa in case of rape. So the contraceptive argument is lost

  2. Playing the old record here. Church so preoccupied with sex and rules they forgot about the Trinitarian model of love and relationship

  3. Lol like His Eminence is really interested in hearing anyone else's opinion - I speak as someone who has tried to raise something with him and met no interest at all. This is a public relations exercise: under the surface he is 'the bishops have authority'.

    1. Sadly I can believe this to be entirely true.

  4. Pat this article from the DT is over three years old. The survey was produced by the CBCEW in preparation for the FIRST synod on the family convened by Pope Francis at the start of his pontificate. The photograph of HE with his Mrs is very good though. Where in God's earth did you get that? Vinnie was apoplectic with rage when it was published and has hunted down every copy.

  5. Seen a poster in the porch on Sunday for vocations. I wonder if there'll be many new applicants this year.

  6. I agree that this information was sought about 3 years ago and was so purposefully long winded and verbally confusing I gave up trying to complete it. Even our priest said it was like sitting an A Level exam.

    I am an unhappily married woman and have endured a loveless, celibate relationship for about 8 years too ashamed to admit to friends, family and parish that it cannot be made to work. I have had three lots of counselling and the last one told me that 'not only has the ship sailed in this relationship, I believe it has also sunk'. But I am trapped in a sense of guilt that I am not adhering to 'for better or worse', that I don't want my children to have divorced parents, that I don't want, in front of my parish, to go from receiving Communion to being given a blessing. Yes maybe too much pride but actually I am not driven by pride but more oppressed by shame. I have no idea how I would tell my very strict elderly parents. When I broached the subject with my mother once her answer was that that was marriage. I know marriages have ups and downs but there is no love here. If there was love it would be worth fighting for. Even my teenage daughter tells me to get divorced. Love is a gift from God but marriage is not a gift in my opinion.

    1. 17.50. You don't deserve hell on earth. Speak to Pat. If I were to follow the RC letter of the law I should be rotting in hell by now. Maybe it is still more difficult in Ireland. Jesus was crucified once for all. Avoidable suffering does nobody any favours

    2. 17:50, I'm sorry that your marriage is so unhappy.

      You sound intelligent and wise, but all too human. Be careful not to live your life, including your marriage, solely for the benefit of others, or to avoid their censure. YOU deserve consideration, too.

      That expression, 'for better, or worse', does not, to my mind, mean you have to maintain a matital sham come what may. It doesn't, for instance, mean you have to remain with someone who treats you like a smelly substance stuck to the instep of their shoe.

      If there is not mutual love in a marriage, then it isn't really a marriage, wedding rite or no wedding rite. Maintaining a sham marriage is living a lie. Appearances do not make a marriage.

    3. To the poster at 17.50

      I think it's worth remembering that most happiness doesn't come from what you get, but from what you give - - and the only real love that you retain is the love you freely give away - - That can require a huge turnaround of mindset. But in the end, it's the only thing guaranteed to bring about real lasting change for the better. (You've already found out that nobody can do it for you....)

    4. M C Right again. The mammy had a saying fek the begrudgers. Jesus said thieves and prostitutes are making it into the kingdom of heaven. Not suggesting this lady is either but she needs to stop beating herself up

    5. 17.50, I hear your pain and I know only too well that feeling of being trapped. I was in the same position as you once - having come from a single parent family myself, I was determined that my children would not have to experience the same. I was equally determined that I would not be viewed as a 'failure' by the observers. Thankfully I received excellent counselling (after a few false starts!) by a lady who knew how to explore what I was going through in a non-judgemental manner. The turning point for me was when I laid out all my excuses for not walking away, including the kids...she gently asked 'And what do you think they'll see if you stay?'. Didn't take me long to realise that the last thing I wanted was for them to believe that type of relationship was the 'norm' to be put up with at all costs. Ten years later I'm remarried and happier than I once thought possible. Totally agree with Sean's mammy, she was a wise woman - feck the begrudgers. They don't live your life. I wish you every strength regardless of what you choose.

  7. 17.02 That is a very good question. Clericalism has lost touch with reality. We need to get back to basics again

  8. 17 .50
    What about your man,did he go for counselling with you ?
    What is his problem....have you asked him?
    Why is there no sexual attraction ?
    You need to address all these questions before deciding to divorce
    So many couples think that sexual attraction ends after 50, they are so wrong
    I m a widow well over 70 in a relationship with a widower of same age.
    I too have to think of family etc but I can tell you that there is life and great relationship for any of us who just happen to fall in love twice in a lifetime.
    If all other avenues fail, go and live your life to the can be who want to be at any age.