Saturday, 13 May 2017

AN INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC CHURCH 11

AN INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC CHURCH 11

HOW IT MIGHT WORK

KEEPING THE DISCUSSION GOING

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Here's how it might work - SUGGESTIONS:

1. Get a small group of diverse people together and form a steering group.

2. Seek widespread opinions, support and prayer

3. Study some models of existing independent Catholic churches.

4. Construct a preliminary and simple "constitution".

5. Get advice about charitable status.

6. Elect, appoint or nominate a lay chairperson, secretary and treasurer.

7. Launch the Independent Catholic Church.

8. Outlaw notions of clericalism, hierarchy and patriarchy.

9. Use the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament as the new body's rule book and guide.

10. Affirm the basic teachings of catholic Christianity:

The Godhead.
The Trinity.
The divinity of Christ.
The Virgin Birth.
The death and resurrection of Jesus.
The ancient creeds.
The Seven Sacraments.

11. Adopt the analytical approach to the Bible.

12. Celebrate the good things in traditional Christianity.

13. Acknowledge the evil things about historical Christianity and vow not to repeat them.

14. Adopt the vernacular Vatican 11 liturgy.

15. Make room for people who need other things like the Tridentine Liturgy.

16. Make decisions on the appointment of ministers - deacons, priests and bishops.

17. Affirm OPTIONAL celibacy.

18. Affirm a gender neutral diaconate, priesthood and episcopacy.

19. Develop a new spirituality and theology of human sexuality.

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HELPFUL THOUGHTS FOR THOSE CONSIDERING THE NEW CHURCH:


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Motto of the Unitarian Church of Dublin

"Love is the doctrine of this church. The quest for truth is it's sacrament,
And service is it's prayer. To dwell together in peace. To seek knowledge
in freedom. To serve humankind in fellowship to the end that all souls 
shall grow in harmony with the divine. This we do covenant with Each 
other and with God".

What a beautiful motto and mission statement.

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This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama

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Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Albert Einstein

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Religion is meant to teach us true spiritual human character. It is meant for self-transformation. It is meant to transform anxiety into peace, arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man and his love for the Source, which is God.

 Radhanath Swami

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

Galileo Galilei

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Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Yesterday our esteemed contributor Tom Woods mentioned my 1994 creed:



A PERSONAL CREED

Bishop Pat Buckley

I believe that in this world it is impossible to understand God.
I believe that God made this wonderful universe and all that exists.
I can find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment.
I believe that God made all men and women,
That He made them all equal,
And that He loves and cherishes them all equally.
I believe that the whole human race is the family of God.
I believe that there may be intelligent life on other planets
And if so, they too are part of God’s family.
I hold that religion and faith are two different things,
That religion can be both good and bad
And that it is spirituality that counts.
For me your religion is an accident of your birth
Or a gift of God’s great providential diversity.
There is no one true church.
All churches and all religions contain aspects of the truth.
But only God is truth.
No man is infallible.
A Buddhist or a good atheist is as acceptable to God as a good Catholic.
I believe that sex is good and so is the body.
The only sexual act that is sinful is the one that uses or abuses.
I believe in people, especially suffering people.
I believe in the power of weakness.
I believe that all men and women will be saved.
I believe in a packed Heaven and an empty Hell.
And even Satan might get another chance.
I believe in the freedom of God’s sons and daughters.
I believe that dogma is often evil.
I believe that life is a journey towards God
And that no one has the right to insist that you go a certain road.
I believe that God and reality are too big for my poor words.
I believe therefore that I am only at a beginning.
Only knocking at a door.
And I believe that the best is yet to come.

(1994)

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70 comments:

  1. Good luck with the formfilling if you are applying to the Charity Commission. I am sure lots of those keen posters will be anxious to contribute to your fundraising and will volunteer as Trustees. Some people have lots of time on their hands, so you won't be short of help.

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    1. We might meet a kind lawyer?

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    2. Here is the most didactic(but sincerely helpful)thing that I will say to you - - Don't even think about setting up a Constitution document without a lawyer or well-informed solicitor. A surprising minefield but I haven't time to explain the cracks and loopholes...

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    3. Some local groups of beleivers will find themselves as "One or two, gathered in His name," whilst in other areas there might indeed be a church full. Two or three meeting in each others houses, might need nothing other than a contribution towards refreshments, larger congregations may need to hire a community hall etc. Some degree of constitution, once sums of money are involved or any sort of gift of garage, tin shed, who knows, maybe larger property, to determine ownership and propriety in dealings is essential really for everyones protection. Would these arrangements be just for the local Church or would this form part of an affiliation with the Mother Church in Larne? If contributions were to be made to the Mother Church, what would these be used for, for example, perhaps supporting poorer congregations, what about stipend? It seems many old catholics don't support clergy through stipend but expect them to support themselves by the same means as the laity. Could I suggest we adopt the new testament term "saints" rather than laity? It always has felt to me like a second class. My suggestion would be, let local groups get off the ground, if they grow and need to manage funds, let them adopt a constitution to manage this, that states an affiliation with and allows for fuller integration into a formally constituted member of the ICC when the time and finances, either locally or at "Head Office!" are right. A yearly synod might offer the opportunity to assess how things are going, agree on any major changes and iron out problems and let members worship and socialise together.

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    4. And that's only the beginning of the myriad of questions and decisions! (After a while you eventually see why the Church had to have rules and authority, otherwise there would be chaos)

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  2. Green shoots at last! Keep your hands to the plough, +Pat and Tom. There are many of us waiting in the wings to join you. Family, friends and comfort zones may hold us back. Engagement with current parish structures also feels like " home" and it is difficult to completely break ties. One of the gifts of the Spirit, however is Courage. Let us pray for discernment in this.

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    1. It does not have to be either / or.

      There are many ways to support and be part of.

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  3. God bless the searching and striving. It is not(should not be) an "up yours" to R C or any other denomination. Seek to work in communion with other like minded Christians/groups. Follow the law of God and of the land. I'm sure I'm stating the obvious but what an ambitious and challenging mission

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  4. Needless to say discussion, controversy, money, argument, debate are never far away.

    For example I may not like ASPECTS of items containimg in the like in 3,9,13,14,15,16 & 19.

    But then for others it may be 1,2,5,6,7,11,17 and so we see how it can go.

    I carry out as much ministry as I can every week to all and sundry, I may only meet with them once or twice and usually never more than 12 times, sometimes even under the noses of the established churches, but I can say hand on heart that when interacting with these people they want certain things from a church so maybe you should launch a consultation/open forum for the want of better words, in the social media worlds, about their expectations.

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  5. great news Pat. I can see you being invited to Asissi in the years to come to stand with all the other christian leaders.

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  6. I am committed to not shutting doors wherever possible. I envisage local Churches devising liturgical expression (s) that nourish their spiritual life and give glory to God and pastoral care that supports and restores the whole person. If other denominations wish to help, that I imagine would suit many. If any wish to shut a door on us, that is their own doing and we will hope and pray that in love, they may again open it to find a warm welcome!

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  7. Great news - WE HAVE A NEW NUNCIO - Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo a Nigerian , just what the irish church needs, some one to beat the fear of God into the Irish bishops. I am hoping he is god fearing and will change the way the church is in Ireland.

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  8. Pat, they're all having you on. Flattery is oxygen to a narcissistic personality like yours. Get real for God's sake!

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    1. There is one thing your comment proves - you do not know me at all.

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    2. New Nigerian Nuncio - Amazing indeed!

      Timo apparently was overheard at the counter in Easons placing an order for a book by Iva Craving PhD - "Weaknesses of the Nigerian Psyche and the Subtleties of Flattery".

      In Dublin diocese a number of The Disappointed are taking night classes in Hausa dialect and Nigerian cuisines.

      Please secure your pet goats in Dublin and surrounding districts! ;-)

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    3. Does that mean they are going to import loads of Nigerian priests?

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    4. Jane, I certainly don't consider that I have the pulse of irish RC Catholicism in the pews, but I would suggest that the man needs to get into the country, cities, towns, villages and humbly listen and talk with ordinary people. If he just sits in his office and if, as you query, they import (hardline?)Nigerian priests to enforce a hardline, I cannot but see that increase the exodus from the RC Church, but I offer my two penneth as much to stimulate conversation. I realise our Anglican friend Desmond Tutu was from South Africa, but a man in his mould would be an asset. I have no knowledge of Archbishop Okolo and wish him well and every blessing for and in his new role.

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  9. pat continue your great work, you are beacon , a truth seeker

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    1. I'm also very human and a sinner.

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    2. You will have to grant yourself a new title. Bishops are two a penny in the various independent churches.

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    3. There will be no new titles. Nor will there be "archbishops", "patriarchs" or "His Excellencies".

      Deacon, priest, bishop is enough.

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    4. Why the distinction between priest and bishop? Where is that in the bible?

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    5. Look at the Acts of the Apostles.

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    6. Presbyter and episkopus are used interchangeably in the Acts of the Apostles, so why are you proposing a distinction in office which did not exist at that time?

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    7. In the early church there was a development, as the community got larger, from ONE presbyter to a GROUP of presbyters to the emergence of a senior / presiding or overseer presbyter.

      It was not about power or control but about service

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    8. But we don't see that in the New Testament. So why would we jettison the New Testament model in favour of a model that communities at that particular point in time believed to be suitable? I see no reason why an Independent Catholic Church should follow a model that was not adopted by the Apostles?

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  10. Pat, be sure to aware the new Nuncio of your concerns and copies of blogs about Maynooth, "Gorgeous", "King Puck", etc.

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    1. Yes. That is a good idea. Since he might in fact be a hardliner, as so many African Christians are (as I understand it) maybe he can flush out the nonsense.

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  11. So the parameters are already set without discussion for Deacon, Priest, Bishop

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    1. Are they not the ministeries we find in the early apostolic church?

      Deacon, presbyter, overseer?

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    2. I'm really concerned about a Nigerian Nuncio. I worked very close with Nigerian communities in England and Nigerian Priests. Many are nice and good people, however some including their clergy have an air of arrogance. They tend to be brash and very loud, even fellow Africans find them a handful. Some laity and Clergy are into all kinds of scams and tend to have fingers in many pies. What concerns me the most is that the majority of Nigerian Clerics I encountered have totally right wing view points. They detest homosexuality with a vengeance to the point of hate. They do not tolerate gays at all and view it as a punishment on people by God. I don't think this is a good move but I can understand why the Vatican sent him in light of Maynooth problems etc.

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    3. Maybe he will sort out Maynooth and Dermo and Gorgeous?

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    4. I rather guess Pat that is why he is being sent. Cardinal Arinze was Nigerian with a foul temper. Even the African branch of the Anglican Church made no bones about the fact they would note vote for or accept gay clergy.

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    5. I feel he may be a diplomat to the end of his fingers and lack interest in rolling up his sleeves?

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    6. He will and he will be rightwing, safe and a company man.

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    7. To your comment @16:37, we see only two offices in scripture - deacon and elder. There was no office of bishop distinct from that of priest - both are referred to as elders.

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    8. In the brave new world of "Animal Farm" all were to be equal, wasn't that it? (But of course some were more equal than others!!)

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  12. And what about the sisters or are they just for making the tea? Apostolic tradition only goes as far a what was written down and if it is this that is to be the guide the hetrosexuality rules the day so its exculsion all over again.
    All the man made rules will cause nothing but division. After all I remember someone saying that Jesus was a subversive along with his memory. So in reality what did Jesus want? What did he create? What guidance did he leave?

    It only took the mention of a Black Papal nuncio from a different religion to throw the blog of course, it's difficult to see how another Independent faith will get off the ground if it make itself busy worrying about the splinters of wood in the eyes of other faith.

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    1. If there are women whi want to be "sisters" in the Independent Catholic Church then they will be treasured like everyone else.

      But maybe such women might prefer to be equal deacons, priests and bishops?

      And I as a bishop am happy to be the tea maker.

      We Christians believe tgat Jesus was "priest" and shared his priesthood with all.

      EVERYTHING will be up for discussion and community decision.

      Are you suggesting that ministeries should be abolished?

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    2. I think, Pat, that you are confusing ministry with office. Ministries are various in the New Testament, they are not synonymous with the office held.

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    3. And - how many angels can stand in the head if a sewing needle?

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    4. Witty no doubt. However, perhaps unwittingly you have imbibed rather more Roman clericalism than you care to admit?

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  13. The earliest organization of the Church in Jerusalem was, according to most scholars, similar to that of Jewish synagogues, but it had a council or college of ordained presbyters (Greek: πρεσβύτεροι elders). In (Acts 11:30 and Acts 15:22), we see a collegiate system of government in Jerusalem chaired by James the Just, according to tradition the first bishop of the city. In (Acts 14:23), the Apostle Paul ordains presbyters in churches in Anatolia.[5]

    Often, the word presbyter was not yet distinguished from overseer (Greek: ἐπίσκοπος episkopos, later used exclusively to mean bishop), as in (Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5–7 and 1Peter 5:1)[b][c] The earliest writings of the Apostolic Fathers, the Didache and the First Epistle of Clement, for example, show the church used two terms for local church offices—presbyters (seen by many as an interchangeable term with episcopos or overseer) and deacon.


    A 6th-century image of Saint Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius.[8]
    In Timothy and Titus in the New Testament a more clearly defined episcopate can be seen. We are told that Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete to oversee the local church (1Tim 1:3 and Titus 1:5). Paul commands Titus to ordain presbyters/bishops and to exercise general oversight, telling him to "rebuke with all authority" (Titus 2:15).

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    1. Lets just say that I do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

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    2. I think by getting back to the biblical understanding of bishop, synonymous with priest, usually part of a plurality of overseers, and called (and dismissed) at the behest of the local church, isn't chucking out the baby with the bathwater. It is looking at the awful connotations throughout church history of the term bishop, its connotations of power, the misuse of that office, and saying "Look, in 2017, is this an appropriate term to use to describe the local overseer?". Any structure whereby there is a two tier priesthood (the tradition which distinguishes between priests and bishops objectionably teaches that only bishops have the fulness of priesthood) should definitely be rejected out of hand.

      If one were to argue that one is chucking out the baby with the bath water, we would then need to ask, "what is it about the office of bishop (as distinct from priest) that makes it an office worth keeping"? I can't really think of anything that validates the distinction on a practical level.

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    3. You make a lot of good points.

      And maybe it does not matter if it is one community / congregation.

      But if you have a group of communities as part of an entity then the bishop is perhaps the presiding / overseeing presbyter of the group.

      I suppise the Presbyterians have solved this by bring the different presbyters together in the presbytery and calling their presiding elder the "moderator"?

      I agree that bishops have given the episcopate a very bad name historically.

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    4. Maybe we need a new definition if bishop?

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    5. Well a good number of them in the RC church have been child abuse enablers.
      What's the Latin for that?

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    6. Pat you lifted this article on 'presbyter' out of Wikipedia without making any reference to your source.

      Where you cut and past material from other authors will you please reference these. It will help readers to make a judgement on the credibility or standing of the material you lift.

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  14. I think that given the extensive history of bishops, it is synonymous with pomp and authority. We can't eradicate that history and so any continued use of the term inevitably conjures up those images.

    A Presbyterian moderator is not presiding, he simply chairs proceedings as it were. Though I quite like their system, as it preserves Church coherence, whereas the congregational model is a mishmash.

    The whole concept of distinguishing the office of priest and bishop, with its false theology, has to be done away with. Moreover, the idea that one individual is presiding has to disappear. A Priest Overseer looks after a congregation or a number of congregations, but must never be in a position where he has any elevated position over another Priest, whether in title or in fact. Any all Priest Overseers are subject to the authority of the congregation acting in general meeting.

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  15. So just to be clear the girls should they wish play a roll in whatever level of the IICC ??

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    1. I first ordained a woman 19 years ago!

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    2. So each and every seminarian who had sex with another man was abusive to straight and celibate seminarians? In what way? Genuinely mystified.

      I agree on your view of the Christian ideal. But I note your use of the word ideal...

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    3. No.

      But EVERY seninarian there were supposed to cimmitted to and living celibacy. In not doing so they were living a lie.

      Is that not "bearing false witness"?

      That gulf between the ideal and the real is ultimately bridged by Christ.

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    4. But every single Mass going Catholic is supposed to be committed to chastity appropriate to their state in life. Is that bearing false witness too? So is any Catholic who receives Communion but hasn't declared publicly that they have had gay sex or straight sex outside marriage in the same category as those seminarians? Because that is the logic of your argument.

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    5. That is certainly the teaching of the RC church.

      Of course we distinguish between objective and subjective morality.

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    6. I'm not arguing in favour of the teaching. I don't agree with it.

      But the theology you are proposing argues for one rule for seminarians and a different rule for other laity. It isn't intellectually sustainable.

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  16. Sexual Theology of the ICC:

    "The only sexual act that is sinful is the one that uses or abuses."

    So that the is Maynooth seminarians off the hook then (leaving the fairly doubtful incident in Bray aside)...

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    1. Were the Maynooth Gay Community not abusive to straight seminarians and celibate seminarians?

      I do think the Christian ideal is one to one love and not promiscuity.

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    2. The above definition would be far to vague and open to ambiguity and misinterpretation. This is because with the old guidances and certainties abolushed, one person's idea or judgement of what constituted "an abuse" or a "misuse" could be vastly different from another's etc. Once you remove the moral compass, people can debate and argue their way out of anything, claiming that they have no problem with it and didn't realise anyone else would find the issue or action in question to be objectionable. That is why statements like that make such bad law.

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    3. The Maynooth seminarians are in the RC Church and not the ICC.
      The ICC proposes optional celibacy, the RC Church mandates (or rather, forbids man dates ;-) ) celibacy.

      Whether it be intrinsic or due to psychiatric pathology, some people, including to date, myself, have profound difficulty holding down a one to one relationship yet still experience sexual feelings that they may wish to express in a mutual encounter.
      This is why I hope the ICC will generally be happy to adopt "The only sexual act that is sinful is one that uses or abuses." The arbiter of this is essentially the parties involved and within that, levels of use and / or abuse. The most severe may have crossed into illegality and be subject to criminal prosecution, the lighter may leave one or other parties feeling unwholesome, which the church may be able to assist healing by it's counsel and / or referral to medical or other services. One size doesn't fit all. What may be sinful for one, may not be for another. We are not being fed milk anymore.

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    4. Isn't it hypocritical to hold the seminarians to standards you don't believe in? Essentially what you're saying is that there is nothing the seminarians have done which is objectively wrong. But their crime has been to remain in the religion they were brought up in. And to behave in a way we are told is perfectly acceptable in the Independent Catholic Church.

      Given all that, what exactly is the purpose of the campaign being pursued by this blog?

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    5. The ICC will not have the same teachings, doctrines and demands of the RCC.

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    6. Why delete? I thought the idea of the ICC was to permit free debate?

      It is difficult to take a campaign seriously if the only fault it finds with men is that they have not followed official Catholic doctrine. That places them in common cause with most Catholics worldwide, and indeed Bishop Pat for most of his ministry.

      If the Maynooth campaign is to have intellectual credibility, rather than juicy gossip, these issues need urgent clarification.

      Perhaps it would be a first start in developing a moral theology for the ICC...

      Delete
  17. Time soon for a well placed advert in the Irish Catholic maybe there could be a possibility of a story for them to shaee across the land. It certainly would be better than the teash they normally write.
    Still getting distracted by Maynooth.

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  18. Apologies for the "self correction" device on my phn causing a couple of typos in my post. I intended to write "too vague" and the word "abolished"

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  19. Ah. Jasis, not another feckin religion.
    n.

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