Sunday, 25 March 2018

CHRISTIANITY ON WANE.

So Christianity is no longer the norm? Going underground will do it good.

Peter Ormerod is a journalist with a particular interest in religion, culture and gender


Young people rejecting religion is not bad news for Christianity: the faith needs to embrace its weirdness and mystery

Thu 22 Mar 2018


It’s quite a statement. “Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good,” said Prof Stephen Bullivant this week, in response to figures showing widespread rejection of Christianity among Europe’s young people. He adds a slender caveat: “Or at least for the next 100 years.”

Plenty of people will find all this to be cause for celebration. It’s like a Philip Pullman fantasy made real: the young people of Europe casting off the deadening, corrupting, malignant influence of religion. They appear to be putting that ancient, feeble entity called God out of his misery. It could be seen as a sloughing off of superstition, a thrilling engagement with reality and reason. And yet I suspect the truth is a little more complex.

At the risk of sounding in denial, this may not be entirely bad news for Christianity. Arguably one of the most toxic developments in the history of the faith was its shift from being a radical political and spiritual movement to allowing itself to be co-opted by forces of oppression and militarism. Becoming a default or norm effectively drained it of much of its energy.

There have, of course, been countless Christians through the centuries who have resisted this, but the institutionalisation of Christianity as a whole has done it a great disservice. The move over the past few decades into a post-Christendom world is one we should surely embrace if we want to see the faith re-energised.

Rather than being just a slightly rubbish version of the world, maybe the church needs to embrace its weirdness

It would also be a mistake to draw from this survey any conclusions about a change in the nature of young Europeans. For example, the widespread interest in extraordinarily elaborate fandoms is surely evidence that today’s under-30s are quite as ready as their ancestors to commit themselves to imaginary causes and bewildering rituals; there are many who protect the lore of Star Wars and Game of Thrones with all the fervour of a medieval bishop, and those deemed to be acting contrary to received dogma receive the 21st-century stocks treatment on social media. This may seem like a trivial point, but it does suggest a continuing appetite for community, loyalty and a sort of tribalism that has long been associated with religious belief. Young people are not all the self-obsessed commitment-phobes of common caricature.

And those of an older generation hopeful that spurning religion means rejecting irrationality may be taken aback by a supposed recent renaissance in, of all things, astrology, along with what Lucie Greene of marketing firm J Walter Thompson calls a “reframing of new age practices, very much geared toward a millennial and young Gen X quotient”. One theory is that many young people shun the more arid extremes of rationalism, where everything is numbered and quantified, and all life and culture is squashed and processed into data. Maybe empiricism has had its day. And as the sociologist Linda Woodhead has noted of young Britons with no religion, relatively few describe themselves as atheist.

There is an irony here that a core part of the church’s message surely remains worthwhile. The Church Times has been running a revealing series of articles about young people in British churches. An 18-year-old called Sherlon is quoted as saying: “How society says you have to be is the main thing. You have to wear this, like this; you have to be popular. Also bullying and stuff: that is massive. Judging people because of how they look. And jealously — everyone wants to be perfect, but they don’t realise that no one is perfect.

This is where an effective church can offer comfort and reassurance, emphasising that everyone is loved, and is of the same inherent value, just as they are. It’s not about perfect selfies and Instagram likes and exam grades and money and status. This is a message today’s young people need to hear.

In the past few decades, some parts of the church that tend to reject the trappings of religion have tried desperately to appear “normal”. But for a generation that prizes authenticity, maybe that’s just a turn-off. Rather than being just a slightly rubbish version of the rest of the world, with slightly rubbish coffee and slightly rubbish music, maybe it needs to embrace its difference, its strangeness, its weirdness, its mystery. Christianity as a norm, gone for good? Maybe that’s good news for everyone.

PAT SAYS:

I believe that it is a good thing that the public profile of Christianity is suffering and in decline.

For far too long the churches have had too much control and sway in public life.

Religion has been too political and politically motivated.

In these times we do not need clergy in politics.

Of course there must be public morality and law - but that morality must not come from one religion.

Ireland, for instance should not be a "Catholic country". It should be a modern, democratic, pluralist, human rights country in which all religions can exist.

We need a healthy separation of church and state.

Christ did not invite nations to follow him.

He invited individuals to follow him.

I do not want to live in a country where any one religion rules or dictates.

When  Cristianity was at its best it consisted of small non-influential communities.

Better to have 10 committed members in a church than a million of mediocre ones.

Going small will purify churches.

Jesus was basically a reject.

His followers will be more pure when they are in minorities.

85 comments:

  1. I read this article a few days ago and thought it was interesting. However, Pat, your reflections are bizarre. Why are you still a bishop? Why do you play pretend Christianity when most of your proclamations are so misleading, self serving and contradictory? Your thoughts on "Pat says" are very subjective, incomplete, disingenuous and untrue. You want us to believe that you have found the true kingdom? Dream on. I see wonderful witness to the gospel of Christ by many, many people in my community. Your quick judgment is offensive. Open your eyes man!

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  2. "Teach ye all nations.."
    That does refer to the people in the countries.
    Don't try to be smart and end up writing nonsense. Christ does not wish a fragmented Church . That is another of your homespun misinterpretations
    "... that they all may be ONE..."

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    1. What is a unified Church, 00:37? One in which ALL believe exactly the same thing, even if they don't? Or is it one in which all can love? Because everyone is capable of love, but not everyone can believe a corpus of doctrine.

      It is people like you who prevent a unified church, because you insist on defining 'church' in a way that is totally self-interested, totally unreasonable, and totally impractical and unachievable.

      Jesus never once defined loyalty to him as assent to a corpus of doctrine.

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  3. What are you trying to do in that strongly anti-Church blog today Pat? Play to the house?
    Well, you can be sure of one thing . It will have the intended effect of keeping the usual suspects happy. You will be very proud of yourself when the plaudits start to come in. Is this your Holy Week homily? An absolute disgrace..

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  4. The Soul will always search for that elusive Something even if it doesn't realise that it is God that it craves for. This is because we were created by God and ultimately can only be truly at peace when we return to him. Up until then there is searching, exploring and a curiosity and hunger that is never yet satisfied... So when people don't have God in their lives they try and fill the yearning and void with something else .. all very temporary and incomplete for in the end, we can only rest in Him .

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  5. Sorry Pat - - it simply does not ring true that a person who hates Christ's Church so much can claim that he loves Christ.. Christ gave us the gift of the Church as a means to holiness in the way that He intended - - through the seven Sacraments and personal and community prayer. It is His wish "that they all may be One as Christ loved His Church ."
    We acknowledge that the Church will always contain sinners.. It's for their Redemption. We may dislike intensely certain aspects of what the Church has become but that doesn't give us the right to denounce it. Rather, we should be inspired by its millions of very good - - and even saintly members past and present who try to live out each day as if it were their last. (If you do that yourself, one day you will get it right) Think about it. It is not the fault of the Church itself that certain of its members were unwilling or unable to do their best to live within its precepts and guidance, members who engaged in corruption and insubordination, some even to the extent of incurring ex-communucation.
    Lost sheep are very regrettable ( and Christ testified to that over and over again) but it does not give anyone carte blanche to attack with constant verbal abuse the existing membership. But sadly that seems to have become the national pastime and I'm sorry but the old well-worn jibes are not acceptable to the members who don't deserve them but are all too easily tarred with the same brush. This is shameful, grossly unfair and must stop.The question is.. Who is man enough to lead the way on that?

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    1. 02.18 We can learn from Pat's blog today. You sound reasonable but with respect you are displaying no real comprehension of the corruption in the church today, the loss of faith and morals among people and what it means, and little idea of current reality and what it may precipitate. It's in your language - the barb in your first par, 'we acknowledge', 'we dislike', 'its not the fault of the church', 'regrettable' and so on. Wake up for goodness sake!

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    2. 02.18 You remind me of an incident on the Late Late show years ago when Cathal Daly was on and Brian Darcy had the 'afront' to speak out. To my memory, Brian articulated the views of many by saying how upsetting the sad revelations in the church were. Cathal replied, I'm upset too or words to that effect. How I wished Brian had replied 'but not upset enough.' The Cardinal was not upset enough in my view and therefore couldn't have responded appropriately. So many others in authority today act like him. Something is blocking them from seeing reality.

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    3. Thank you to people who responded to my 2.18 post.
      I can assure you that I am a right in the thick of it lay person who is under no illusions!
      But I am experienced, fair, rational and thoughtful Also I work with the aftercare of victims and I am fully aware of the ongoing issues which they carry and aware of their hurt and trauma. But it is important to fully realise the importance of your Faith in your own life It is important to value it exactly as you always did even though others have fallen badly by the wayside . When you have difficult work to do and others need your inspiration and leadership, then you need God in your life. For me that means being (in all humility) the very best member of the Church that I can be.
      That in itself is a good example to others. They can see that the Church has good practising members who are willing to give every bit of time and energy that the victim requires, whether that is a quiet listening ear or practical help to go to Court. I am very much my own person in that I feel that my becoming yet another lapsed Catholic is hardly going to help the Church overcome its serious defects.
      More importantly still, it would be seriously against what my conscience tells me is right for me. It can certainly be a struggle to fight the good fight to the finishing post but I intend to try!
      So you see where I am coming from - - and why I must stand by everything I said in my original post earlier at 2.18.
      There is nothing naive about me, believe me! And I do "care enough" but joining the fallen for me would not be a position of strength.

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  6. It would be a fine thing if the likes of Tom Deenihan waned and Catholicism flourished.

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    1. Deenihan is harmless. He divides his time between Cork and Maynooth in case he’d miss something. Shows Cork isn’t a full-time job.

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    2. Who’s Deenihan and what’s he got to do with the price of spuds?

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  7. Hopefully, it is institutionalised religion that is on the wane and not Christianity. Institutionalised religion is an evil.

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    1. If it’s an evil Magna why did you train for it? Boozed up old geezer.

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    2. He didn’t get far. Just look at the verbiage he puts his pseudonym to. Departed, voluntarily or otherwise, before theology and most proably before the introduction to logic.

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  8. All very interesting, +Pat. Now, where did we get on KOB? That topic is definitely not on the wane yet.

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  9. John McAreavey’s resignation has been accepted today by the Holy See.

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    1. Good. Even that oily Latino knows people will no longer be pushed around. It is a lesson hevlearbed in Chileba few weeks ago.

      Incidentally, did His Oiliness apologise yet for slandering...publicly slandering...Juan Barros, and the other abuse victims/survivors?

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    2. Magna, once again your comments prove your unsuitability and undesirability as a prospective seminarian. As noticed by those who recognise who you are, your behaviour has become wirse and you have revealed your total immaturity, inner complexities, confused sexual identity and moral crassness. Some members of the Church may be awful and abusive but you surpass most in your pathetic lack of humanity and badness of heart. Your behaviiyr here is tge behaviiyr of an abuser and bully, sadly fuelled by drink. Get professional support or chat with Pat. You are on a pathway to self ruin.

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    3. Tell me, 13:36: are you wearing a big, black wide-brimmed hat, along with a big, black swishing cape, while carring underarm a big, black, leather-bound Bible, which you occasionally thump for emphasis, as you pronounce anathemas on others?😅

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    4. No, - - - are you?

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    5. Mavgie at 14.05: Sorry to disappoint you. I'm nothing of the portrait you imagine by my 13.36 comments. Despite my typing errors, my piece must hurt you. I'm not a cleric now, and I know you suffered humiliations (self inflicted) by being thrown out of seminary - dumped! You've allowed this experience fill you with an unacceptable level of badness and totally bizarre behavioural patterns. Just stop being immature, disrrspectful and puerile. You ABUSE by your presence and ABUSE nastily and offensively.

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    6. 12.26: Mags, your "Disgraceful Drunkenness", life seems awful for you that you depend on being rude, obnoxiously offensive and nasty on this blog, swinging insult at everuo e. This behaviour warrants you being detained in some ward for serious therapy. If only you could practice self respect and respect for others, you'd be more positively received on this blog as a serious contributor. But your continual abusive comments renders you insignificant.

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    7. Do people ever learn here? If you ridicule Magna the chances are he will ridicule you much better in return. If he is too offensive email Pat - there is little else you can do. In the meantime deal with the point he is trying to make - without the barbs. By example we trip along.

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    8. 20:19 written 3 minutes after mc’s offering. I smell a rat.

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    9. 21.15 You smell your own rat, I'm afraid. I have been at the receiving end of Magna's words from time to time but I have to ask again, in all fairness do people ever learn.

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    10. I often despair that Pat will ever learn. He trots out the same old thinly veiled abuse to people who are strong enough to still practise their Catholic faith in spite of the potential scandal shown to them by others. Practising Catholics are the real hang on in there heroes. Yet you never hear Pat give them a word of encouragement or praise.

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    11. An attempt at an apologia for Magna C. and an appeal to deal with issues (s)he raises plus the linguistically bizzare expression about ridiculing you much better. All Magna’s outpouring. I rest my case.

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  10. If you look at the Phrophetic sections of the Bible it describes a Church that is very much marginalised and persecuted in the End Times. This could be 50 years from now or 5,000 but it is clear that the Church and Christianity will eventually be in the minority and persecuted.

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    1. And then it will be pure and a true church.

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    2. The Church will always have sinners-- hopefully seeking their way back into His grace.

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  11. The ‘Prophetic sections of the Bible’! What sections in particular have you in mind? Biblical prophecy is about speaking up and speaking out. In rare cases it also involves prediction.

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  12. The “great apostasy” is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3

    The Book of Revelation

    Gospel of Matthew starting at Chapter 24

    Last Chapters of the Book of Daniel.

    There’s more but can’t remember them off hand

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  13. 2 Thessalonians is a deutero-Pauline work not a work of prophecy.
    Revelation is an apocalypse.
    Matthew’s 24 is apocallyptic and Daniel’s last chapter is writing about his own day, which when the setting of the book four hundred years earlier is taken in to account lies in the future. None of these texts is predicting anything about our day.

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    1. Are you saying that the Bible has no Phrophetic Visions of the future included?

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    2. Biblical prophecy was for its own day. There are rare examples of prophecy relating to a future date. They do exist but they are not predictive in any supernatural sense.

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  14. +Pat. A clear sin the Catholic Church in Dromore is in crisis and has made a complete bollox of the Finnegan business and it’s aftermath is the appointment of +Philip Boyle as bishop pro tem. Where’s Liam Stevenson gone?
    Apparently the Nuncio was seen in deep conversation with Boyce, a stored bishop, at the funeral of Eamon Martins mother. Desperate times call for desperate measures

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    1. Yes. I noticed bishops, including Joe McGuinness, were ushered into the parochial house to do their business while the rest of us making up the great unwashed went elsewhere.

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  15. I think a lot of what's in Pat's blog piece today is true. Unfortunately it usually takes an awful lot of suffering for loss of faith on a national level to be re energised. I also think that's it is a mistake to wish for the institutional church to disappear. Whatever good is still in it, and there may be a lot, needs to be harnessed because a europe without faith will simply and quickly become a europe of a different kind of belief - much more controlling and repressive. Remember the devil wishes to destroy the church. At the rate we are going I believe the church we know today will disappear almost completely and soon. And that disappearance will be used to destroy belief in Jesus period. We still need the gifts the church has despite the interminable grime.

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  16. The dynamic former Bishop of Raphoe Dr Philip Boyce has been appointed as caretaker Bishop of Dromore. Dromore is in the hands of a caring compassionate Bishop who has the smell of the sheep on his hands. A great day for Dromore.

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    1. The Vatican bulletin announcing the acceptance of JMcA’s resignation made no reference to Philip Boyce. The college of consultors have a limited period of time within which to elect a diocesan administrator. If that time limit passes the Vatican does it. It is most strange that that is not happening here. I don’t have my CIC with me right now. Baybw some canonist will enlighten us why the Vatican stepped in.
      Dear old Philip Boyce. He shouldn’t have been distracted from his prayers and retirement for this.

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    2. I can’t believe that Dromore is in the hands of Boyce. After his handling of Green, they as may have appointed Sean Brady.

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    3. Ah now Nuala, what are you taking about the "smell of the sheep on his hands" when surely you mean the "blood of the sheep on his claws"?

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  17. I'm not sure that the yearnings of young people for mystery and the numinous is being met by the Novus Ordo Missae, which is basically a 45 minute lecture by a non-stop talking priest, interspersed by readings by laity of the public librarian class.

    Any growth will be with the Traditional Latin Mass and organisations such as Youth 2000.

    Look around you when you next go to church. Old people insisting that folk Masses (already horribly dates in 1970) will somehow attract the young, even though they've failed to do so for decades now.

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    1. Ironically the only Latin most of those devotees, yourself included probably, know is Kyrie eleison.

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    2. @. 21.03
      Whoops --you're wrong there! Hate to correct you but "Kyrie eleison" is NOT Latin....
      It's actually Greek .

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    3. 21:03, you know as well as I that this invocation is from the Greek.

      Stop testing.

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    4. Ha ha @ 21.03
      Spot the bloomer!

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    5. Yes you're correct @ 18.37.re,/the overcooked folk Masses. The function of music at Mass is to help the congregation lift their minds and hearts to God.
      But oh - those ubiquitous out of tune clangy guitars that people who couldn't play used to whack with the their fingers! They definitely had the opposite effect

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  18. Sorry, I meant yearnings are, not is.

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  19. More handbag swinging. Girls get your act together x

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  20. Im so disappointed. I thought the Vatican would have asked MMM to be administrator of Dromore pro tem.

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  21. The uptake of the Permanent Diaconate is going to revive the Church. Many good men are presenting themselves. Maybe eventually the Church will allow deacons to celebrate the Eucharist.

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    1. They already do. They just don’t preside yet.

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    2. You must be joking. Seriously. You really have no idea have you!

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    3. @19.49 There are now more Permanent Deacons in England than there are a Priests in a English Diocese. They are jumped up little squirts in clerical dress trying to tell Priests how to run their parishes, massive Egos. A nightmare in my experience. Revive the Church? I think not. Put a collar round their neck and see from there.

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    4. Totally agree with 22.26, permanent deacon becomes the PP in my experience. Loves to parade around in clerical collar. A special constable replacement.

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    5. Agree totaly with you 22.26. Once they get the collar around the necks they become a sort of PP. Take it from someone who has to put up from them. Total nightmare and picked by an idiot PP and forced upon a new PP

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    6. Well for a start they are not paid. Talk about bring the Church to the fullnes of charity. It’s a cushy number a free house etc. Deacons support themselves. I think Magna pointed out before that St Peter “the first pope” continued to support himself - why can’t priests be volunteers at spreading the good news ?

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    7. Permanent deacons are a waste of time. They don't concelebrate Mass unless holding up the chalice for a few seconds and saying "Go the Mass is ended" counts as concelebration lol.

      Their homilies are dire, the only weddings and funerals they do are for relatives as most Catholics want a Mass on these occasions.

      The permanent diaconate is pure clericalism. It's a sort of Bene Merenti for male parish busybodies who didn't have a baldy's notion that they had a vocation to Orders until a few years ago.

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  22. "I believe that it is a good thing that the public profile of Christianity is suffering and in decline"

    Ladies and Gentleman, Bishop Pat Buckley

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    1. Buckley is right. The public profile is so tainted nobody will touch it. It is suffering. It is in decline. We need less church PR and more Jesus. We need a reality check. While Pat may still be working a little too much out of the hurt and betrayal he suffers, it has taken somebody like him to get down to basics. We are in trouble and that trouble is only going to grow if we remain in denial.

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    2. 20.28: You are delusional in thinking that Pat is getting down to basics. Utter nonsense. Point out to me the revolution brought about by all his self publicity and so called "new way". All throughout Lent there wasn't one article of an uplifting, spiritual content. All negativity, all gossip, all obsession on sexual failings of others, constant condemnation of the Catholic Church and its personnel, no affirmation or recognition of the immense good being done by priests and religious and by many Church charities. Pat's hurts were self inflicted, not because of "integrity", more by his self righteousness and bullying. There are two sides to every story. While he is well intentioned, he doesn't always get his analysis or judgment right. Most priests are doing their best against a background of huge social, religious, cultural and economic changes. Most priests whom I encounter are good human beings. Pat is not alone in his desire for genuine renewal but I think Pat doth protest too much! By their fruits you shall know whose disciples they are: most priests I'm sure seek to be true disciples. You need to read a little more widely beyond this blog and open your eyes...

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    3. You tell me I am delusional and to open my eyes. If I told you what I have experienced in the church this past decade, you wouldn't make such an ignorant comment. But, of course, my experience means nothing to you. You have it all sorted. Pat is talking rubbish and I'm delusional. Perhaps that is as much as you will get. Continue in your appalling ignorance, and good luck!

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  23. Philip Boyce, OCD, Bishop Emeritus of Raphoe comes out of retirement to sort Dromore out.

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  24. 22.14: Yes, you are delusional. Open your eyes widely and you will find much to inspire you among the people of God. You obviously confine your research, observations and analysis to this blog, which is imbalanced and unfair mostly. Our individual experiences can be very subjective indeed. Thankfully, my experiences have all been positive but I know the reality of other narratives. I respect them but when you deny the good and the positive, which are there within the Church, then you do a huge injustice to the many Catholics, priests and religious who are true disciples. All of us condemn wrong and abuse of any kind but let's also affirm what's truly good. You didn't answer my question as to why, all through Lent, Pat offered nothing of a spiritually nourishing or inspiring content. I try to live the "basics" of the Christian message as do many in my parish community, including the priests and religious. Let's not be blind to these truths. Look wider than this blog. There are many quiet and gentle prophets in our midst who are gospel leaven and who make a difference to their community. They inspire me. Pat as I said is well motivated but frequently his judgment and analysis are self serving and ignore the bigger pucture of faithful witness given by thousands. My education doesn't allow me to possess appaling ignorance!! I live in a very real world.

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    1. 00.48 To me, your reply is sick. But you are determined to continue in your ignorance.

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  25. What is Bishop Boyce's stance vis a vis traditional Latin mass?

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    1. That of most Catholics I presume. The continuation of the Mass of Pius V was forbidden since in the normal course of eventsa reformed liturgical rite replaces what went before. As a concession to traditionalist Catholics the abrogated rite was permitted. It is clear however that the mind of the church is the reformed rite of the Second Vatican Council in whatever language, Latin included.

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    2. Summorum Pontificum makes clear that the Mass of Ages was not abrogated.

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    3. You obviously haven't read the VII Constitution on the Liturgy, lol.

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    4. 17:51 It is the nature of liturgical history and development that a reformed rite replaces what preceded it.
      The expression ‘Mass of ages’ is meaningless, unhistorical and anomalous.
      Permission to revive the Mass of Pius V was granted as a concession to people who rejected the reforms initiated by an ecumenical council. There is no doubt where the principle sentire cum ecclesia directs people on this issue.

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    5. The Mass of Ages is celebrated using the Missal of 1962, promulgated by Pope John XXIII lol. Don't forget that it was the Mass our parents, grandparents, great grandparents attended and for which martyrs died.

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  26. In loving Jesus name i stumbled accross this blog by chance, as i started to delve further into its postings that i was reading the vile schoolyard bully stuff full on and from so called clergy both past & present.This is sickining to the core as a proud Roman Catholic you all should have a look at yourselves.Is this what you got your so called calling for to be vile,ignorant,hateful etc. Their is more sane humans in Mental hospitals than most of the "devils" in here jesus scary and the week thats in it shame on you, remember you ALL have to face the main man i woudnt like to be 90% of you who will be begging for forgiveness for your hatred & spitefullness when that hour comes.
    Happy Easter

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    1. 09.33 You can keep your brand of Easter blessings, thank you very much. Begging for forgiveness?- I expect you will be at the top of the queue yourself.

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  27. 9.33: Be prepared to be shocked by this blog. It mostly encourages much venomous and hateful postings, not all from clerics Much is from disgruntled laity, former priests and seminarians. There is a lot of nastiness on here and many who are vehemently anti catholuc are given free reign. So, be careful and discern wisely. Incidentally, Pat is not always the good guy! There are many good priest contributors and genuinely good, caring and concerned parishioners.

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  28. @ anon. 11.09
    Thank you for the heads up im really shocked as i have read thru a lot of stuff on here today.Hate crime cones to mind on some of the stuff posted.Totaly gob smacked TBH and to see vile comments aimed at folk who just died and the inuendos attached to the shite is really sicking.Yes theirs bad clergy out their thats a know fact its uo to the GOOD ones to take moral high ground and stay clear of this vile pile of vermin shite talk really!

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    1. 19.28 great to see another understanding soul on the blog. Lots of learning ahead. 'Hate', 'vile' x 2, 'shite' x 2, 'vermin' - you are not doing too bad yourself for for a single short paragraph.

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  29. Ah feck off. Dead people have no character or reputation to defend. You can saw what you like without fear of a defamation claim.

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  30. @ Anon. 22.42 god bless your twisted mind repent fool.

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