Wednesday, 28 March 2018

UNCERTAIN CATHOLIC FUTURE

AMERICA MAGAZINE.

James T. Keane February 23, 2018

The College Chapel at St. Patrick’s College of Maynooth has 454 carved oak stalls for seminarians and priests. They run in serried ranks down the length of its nave, making it the largest choir chapel in the world. The church itself is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival, and the ceiling of the church offers a kind of visual catechism, taking worshippers through salvation history by means of painted images.

Since St. Patrick’s College’s founding in 1795 in County Kildare as the national seminary for the Catholic Church in Ireland, it has trained over 11,000 priests—not just for Ireland, but for the global church. The seminary also inspired two major missionary societies, the first directed to China and the latter to Africa. Many American Catholics may also remember that the parish priest of their childhood was from Ireland; that man was likely trained in Maynooth.

When construction on the College Chapel began in 1875, Maynooth was the largest seminary in all of Christendom. It is no accident that the media portrayal in the United States (and many other countries) of a Catholic priest is of an Irish man with a thick brogue. In 1899, 82 priests “for Ireland, America, and Australia” were ordained at Maynooth.

In the fall of 2017, a new class of first-year seminarians arrived at Maynooth to begin their training for the priesthood.

There were six men.

What Ever Happened to Ireland?

Andrew M. Greeley

Ireland's Catholic Future : Responses to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Theodora Hawksley, J. J. Lee

Ireland in the Coming Times

In total, there are 36 seminarians living at Maynooth this year (another 25 are assigned to Maynooth but live elsewhere). The decline in priestly vocations in Ireland is paralleled by similarly stark decreases in numbers for men’s and women’s religious orders. “The decline in vocations is not even the biggest problem we face,” said Stanislaus Kennedy, R.S.C., known throughout Ireland as Sister Stan, a social justice advocate and founder of the charity Focus Ireland, now the largest voluntary organization in the country. “The biggest problem is the decline in participation by the laity, especially by the young people.” Recent surveys confirm this, showing steep declines throughout the Republic of Ireland in religious practice and reception of the sacraments.

More than 90 percent of Irish Catholics reported attending Mass at least weekly in the early 1970s; recent surveys put that percentage at between 30 and 35 percent.

More than 90 percent of Irish Catholics reported attending Mass at least weekly in the early 1970s; recent surveys put that percentage at between 30 and 35 percent in recent years. In the Archdiocese of Dublin, it is less than 20 percent, and some urban parishes report weekly attendance as less than 2 percent of the Catholic population. As many as one in ten Irish now identify as “nones,” claiming no religious affiliation.

The numbers augur an uncertain future for the Catholic Church in Ireland, long a place where Catholicism seemed sure of deep roots and high adherence to practice and tradition. Will Ireland follow the same trajectory as Quebec, an overwhelmingly Catholic culture that almost completely rejected the church in two generations to become one of the most secular societies on earth? Or will it resemble the Catholic Church in the United States, where a community diminished by sex abuse scandals and a decades-long vocations crisis still bleeds numbers but seems vital enough to survive? Or will there be some unanticipated future for the famous “land of saints and scholars”?

How and Why?

There is no single cause for what ails the Irish Catholic church, but without question a primary source of anger and disillusionment is the crisis caused by sexual abuse of young people by members of the Catholic clergy and religious, which was doubly painful in Ireland because of the all-encompassing authority of the Catholic Church over Irish society throughout the 20th century. The pervasiveness of clericalism in Irish Catholic culture contributed to a culture of noblesse oblige among the clergy, and civil authorities were far more likely to defer to bishops and the superiors of religious orders when deciding whether to pursue cases of misconduct. Reports of other kinds of physical abuse in Irish schools, orphanages, “Magdalene laundries” and other church institutions have been legion in the Irish media in recent years. Coverups and transfers of repeat abusers was easier in a society that reflexively trusted religious institutions. That trust has been badly damaged, if not destroyed. “The priests thought they were more powerful than the police,” one man in a pub in Galway told me, “and they were right.”

This disillusionment is not felt only among laypeople, either. I conducted a group interview with the Rev. Michael Mullaney, who is the president of St. Patrick’s College at Maynooth, and the Rev. Michael Collins and the Rev. Tomas Surlis, both directors of formation at the seminary. They noted that the seemingly endless revelations about sexual and physical abuse in the church had deeply affected priests and seminarians too, not to mention potential vocations.

“There’s a sense of bereavement among the clergy as well [as among laypeople], and a sense of fear around intimacy,” commented Father Surlis. “There was a tactile nature to the ministry of the priests and the religious orders, to their interaction with the people, and that is not so much the case anymore.”

“That has affected our work with young people,” Father Mullaney agreed. “That trust and that connection was broken. It’s very hard with that air of suspicion present…. We have to rebuild that trust, and that’s going to take a lot of time.”

A second reason for Ireland’s changing church profile is perhaps counterintuitive when one considers the first. The Ireland of today is an extraordinarily open society, economically and culturally. An English-speaking, well-educated population was poised to benefit from globalization and the technology boom of the 1990s and early 2000s. Ireland also benefited handsomely from joining the European Union (and then suffered deeply from E.U.-mandated austerity measures after the 2008 economic collapse). Full membership in the European Union brought infrastructure improvements, access to new markets and immigration—the last an awkward reality for a largely homogenous population unaccustomed to diversity of creed, culture or ethnicity.

RELATED STORIES

What Ever Happened to Ireland?

Andrew M. Greeley

Ireland's Catholic Future : Responses to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

Theodora Hawksley, J. J. Lee

The economic successes of Ireland after full integration into the European Union and the acceleration of globalization were due to two things, commented the Very Rev. Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin, in an interview in Dublin in November. “We had a very well-educated workforce, and we had an open economy. We were ready for it. But with the open economy comes cultural openness…. That’s a positive thing, but it means we have to realize that the dominant forces in Irish culture come from outside Ireland in many ways.”

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: "We have to realize that the dominant forces in Irish culture come from outside Ireland in many ways.”

Rapid urbanization has also changed Irish society. The Republic’s population will soon pass five million (still far below an estimated eight million in 1848, immediately before the Famine), but fully 50 percent of that population lives in the vicinity of Dublin. Other studies have noted that fewer than 10 percent of the Irish workforce is involved in agriculture. The church is grappling with how to evangelize a changed society even while that society is rapidly being transformed before its eyes. The Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, recently called for a referendum in May that could make abortion legal, a prospect that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. Mr. Varadkar is also the first child of an immigrant (his father was born in Mumbai) and the first openly gay man to be elected Taoiseach.

Traditional roles for women have also changed dramatically outside the church, but not inside. “There’s no doubt that generations of women feel that they haven’t been included in areas of responsibility in the church, not necessarily just the priesthood,” Archbishop Martin said. “Grandmothers feel this way, mothers feel this way, but their daughters feel in a much stronger way that [the church] isn’t necessarily a place where they belong. You can’t deny it.”

For generations, the church relied on Irish society, particularly the schools, to be the primary vehicle for faith formation and transmission.

Archbishop Martin was blunt in pointing out another source of malaise: the Irish church’s unwillingness in the past to engage in significant evangelization efforts or faith formation on its own soil. For generations, he said, the church relied on Irish society, particularly the schools, to be the primary vehicle for faith formation and transmission. Since catechism in schools was almost universal and many were run by religious orders, few parishes invested resources in adult faith formation. The identification of the Republic of Ireland with a persecuted Catholic Church, the ubiquity and hegemony of church institutions, and cultural taboos against lax religious practice all contributed to keeping the pews full.

“An atheist could learn the catechism by heart and regurgitate it all the time, and never move towards faith,” Archbishop Martin said. “We learned all the rules and the norms, and it was presumed that the basic elements of faith were there…. People felt that there was really very little need to evangelize, that being born into Irish society made you a Catholic.”

Some more traditional voices in the Irish church have laid much of the blame for the decline in vocations and church practice on exactly that loss of traditional religious strictures since the Second Vatican Council, but the formation staff at Maynooth thought otherwise. “If we hadn’t had Vatican II, the decline would have been worse. The disconnect with the world would have been more glaring,” said Father Collins. “At least Vatican II has equipped the church in some way to negotiate the huge social changes we could not have predicted.”

“The key and core insight of the Second Vatican Council is the ecclesiology of communion,” added Father Surlis, “this idea that we are together, disciples on the road. It’s almost as if the Spirit is forcing that upon us, at one level. Yes, the decline of vocations into the priesthood and religious life is worrying, but it’s leading to the emergence of a healthier, more balanced church in this country.”

Culture and Contradiction

The outward signs of a deeply Catholic nation are still visible everywhere in Ireland. The post office in one town outside Dublin, for example, advertises in its window, “Signed Mass cards sold here.” In the middle of Dublin, a huge Nativity scene in late November advertised “Dublin City Council lighting up the city at Christmas.” Passengers still routinely make the sign of the cross when their train or bus passes a church. Shrines and crosses are everywhere, alongside highways as much as along the narrow country lanes, and not all are in ruin.

“Culture tends to be consistent, and in my experience there is nearly always a return to the roots of culture,” commented Mary Kenny, an Irish journalist and a founding member of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement as well as author of Goodbye to Catholic Ireland, in an email interview last December. “What has been will be.... I think the deposit of Irish spirituality will remain, and I’m often surprised by how well-attended Mass can be in Ireland. Recently, on Nov. 1 [the Feast of All Saints], I caught a Mass at Clarendon Street [in Dublin]. Standing room only!”

This attachment to a cultural faith is often expressed alongside a dismissal of the church in ways that can appear openly contradictory. One taxicab driver assured me that he would never darken the door of a church again, so angry was he at the sex abuse scandals and at a culture where clerics held unlimited authority over society. And yet he expressed open affection for the priest who buried his father; and when I pointed out that a St. Padre Pio prayer card graced his windshield, he answered, “Well, of course. He’s my patron saint.”

That same man also objected strongly to recent educational policies that exempt non-Catholic immigrants to Ireland from Catholic religious instruction, because “you can’t be Irish if you don’t learn our faith.”

That combination—a rejection of the institutional church alongside open affection for individual pastoral figures, including parish priests and Ireland’s large number of women religious—was repeated numerous times over eight days of conversations. Again and again I heard some variation of “the church is such a part of Irish life” stated by people who then noted matter-of-factly that they had long since stopped attending Mass.

A Numbers Game—or Not

“From one perspective, something is dying,” said Father Collins. “But from another perspective, you can see that we are in a liminal space: Something new is emerging. There’s something very vibrant happening. That sounds almost like a contradiction, but I think it is the reality.”

As positive factors among disappointing numbers, Father Collins and his fellow priests at Maynooth pointed to the endurance and even growth of other sources of Christian nourishment in Ireland, including pilgrimages, public novenas and frequent visits to nontraditional worship sites, such as the Marian shrine at Knock or the many healing wells and legendary “thin places” of Ireland. The philosopher Charles Taylor has called this style of religious practice “the culture of festivity” in his book A Secular Age, noting that a population of mobile Christians, less tied to familial dwelling places or multigenerational traditions, is more open to “religious experiences” than to regular practice. Ms. Kenny agreed with Mr. Taylor’s thesis, noting that despite widespread secularism and consumerism, pilgrimages like the one to Santiago de Compostela in Spain are more and more popular, and “cathedrals are attracting terrific crowds all over Europe. God works in mysterious ways.”

The Irish church can also rely on a pre-Christian Celtic spirituality whose subtle (and sometimes obvious) influence is everywhere in Ireland.

In this sense, the Irish church can also rely on a pre-Christian Celtic spirituality whose subtle (and sometimes obvious) influence is everywhere in Ireland. Lough Derg, an ancient Celtic religious center that became a Catholic pilgrimage site, grows more popular with every passing year. The same is true of Croagh Patrick, the “Holy Mountain” that is dedicated to St. Patrick but whose religious significance stretches back five millennia.

Similarly, both Archbishop Martin in Dublin and the formation team at Maynooth mentioned the coming World Meeting of Families in Dublin, from Aug. 21 to 26, as a highly anticipated event that should draw huge and enthusiastic crowds. Pope Francis is expected to preside at the closing Mass, making him only the second pope in history to visit Ireland. The first papal visit, by John Paul II in 1979, drew more than 2.5 million people to various public Masses and ceremonies—almost half the population of the island.

At the End of the World

Directly west from Dublin by 150 miles, but a world away in almost every other respect, Inishmaan is one of the Aran Islands, three rocky outposts that sit at the entrance to Galway Bay. They are a geographic extension of “The Burren,” a huge limestone formation that forms much of the topography of nearby County Clare. Though the unforgiving climate and scarce resources of the islands made them little more than bird estuaries for much of known history, evidence of monasteries and abbeys from the fourth century can be found on all three, including the purported homes of St. Colmcille, St. Abigail (St. Gobnait in Irish) and St. Enda. The Aran Islands are a reminder that Christianity did not spread organically or in any kind of territorial sequence. There were Christian monks in the Aran Islands before Augustine wrote his Confessions; there were monasteries on Inishmaan three centuries before Britain was converted to Christianity.


56 comments:

  1. Better a handful of real monks than the likes of D. Martin and others trying to justify their stewardship of the Irish church. Their meanderings show just how wrong they got it and how they never will get it. They are still working out of a failed vision with seemingly no idea of who their enemy is. In their promoting of church to try and maintain their status they forgot the real Jesus. Now they stand in the way of people discovering the real Jesus and his message. When salt loses its taste, Jesus told us what would happen. Dublin hasn't a single ordination to the priesthood some years. A bishop exists to ordain. You can dress it up anyway you like, but that is abject failure. This brand of church is dead, but Jesus and his Church lives on.

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    1. 1.53: A very incoherent set of sentences. You are wro g about Ordinations for Dublin Diocese. 2 men were ordained last November for the Diocese. Please get your facts right. Speculation, deliberate errors and untruths are unacceptable. Are you another armchair critic? Outline your vision that might inspire. Your "Bishop exists to ordain" statement is incomplete - your effort undoubtedly to diminish a Bishop's pastoral role!!

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    2. Rubbish, 11:51! Those sentences are a balanced and incisive diagnosis of the cancer in the Church. But Martin and his acolytes (you're one of them) do not want to undergo the necessary treatment, because that would involve your admitting that there is a problem.

      Gutless tossers!

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    3. 11.51 I said Dublin hasn't a single ordination SOME years. That is true, so the first half of your post is vindictive rubbish. And remember, this is a blog, so every statement is incomplete to some extent and you finish with another false accusation. For your information a bishop has real authority and a huge pastoral role. But, actually your post illustrates the problem - you cannot entertain the diagnosis that something is deeply wrong.

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    4. Thanks Magna at 12.31. For me, I would have left out the Gt comment but you got the point I was trying to make.

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    5. 11:51 Well said. Your post is more persuasive than your interlocutor. The post of Mag nah may be discounted

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    6. 20.16 from 28 March. You have been unsettled by my accusation of 11.51. I am correct about 2 men being ordained for Dublin last Nov 2017. That is truth. Your assertion, a lie to suit your anti catholic rant. Nothing vindictive about telling truth. So, deal with facts, not untruths. As for Magna defending you. That's like jumping into a bear pit. He savages people ruthlessly and re-writes their narratives, again to suit his twisted agenda. Ignore his offensiveness. I can assure you, I work very comprehensively to ensure that I am inclusive of all in my pastoral approach, that I work to the best of my ability and while imperfect and flawed, I know my need of God's graces.

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    7. Mag the Rag, gutless tossers! Maybe but you - a gutless, sad loser. Yes, indeed, those of us who recall our encounters with you feel you are still the pitiable, pathetic, weird human being you always were. But, God is patient.....and we wait in hope for your rehabilitation to normality...

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  2. Sad to see such a decline. But like almost everything else true change occurs when things hit rock bottom. Personally I don’t believe we’ve hit rock bottom yet, it’s heading that way though.

    Smart thing may be to make the changes in how we do things before hitting rock bottom?

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  3. I think 36 is the number that lived there last Sept. I understand thst there are 23 now?

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    1. seminarian numbers have decreased but lay numbers have dramatically doubled in Theology. maybe a sign of the times?

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    2. 36 less 13 scandals I suppose.

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    3. Imagine 23 seminarians in a place made for 600. Are they still keeping two oratories going? In my day there were 400 resident seminarians and three divisions (junior, middle and senior, each with their own Dean and oratory. Junior oratory has been turned into a Maynooth University office.

      The staff/student ratio must be 1:1 at this stage.

      Why have two deans for 23 students in an era of priestess parishes. It's ridiculous.

      So what if there are lay theology students. Are they going to celebrate Mass and provide the sacraments?

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    4. Brendan Smyth, Finnegan, Jack McCabe and the many others (and episcopal enablers such as Joe Duffy) have killed off any new entrants to the Irish Catholic priesthood. Imagine the suspicious looks and innuendo if a young man expressed a desire to be a priest.

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    5. PP @ 20:23. Don't forget that there's the College Chapel as well, though it's locked up for most of the year nowadays.

      I'm probably older than you but I remember that they also had tiny oratories scattered around the place, called prayer rooms in my day. They had tabernacles and I remember the ones in Top Pats and Dunboyne.

      The reason the College Chapel has only around 450 stalls in a college housing 600 is that the Junior Division (1st and 2nd years) used the Junior Oratory Monday to Saturday and had their own High Mass in the Oratory in Rhetoric House. In college folklore it was known as the Synagogue and it's now the Maynooth University geography department map room.

      The old junior refectory is now a geography lecture room. Pugin Hall, as it's called now, was the refectory only for third years and above.

      Even in the 1980s, when lay students were barred from the ref (happy days) it was hard to get a seat as we were so numerous.

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  4. Pat, why not a have a free blog day once each week where posters can post about anything about Catholicism in perhaps a maximum of about 70 words. You start it off with two or three short topics each time and the rest of us can follow suit.

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  5. Remember it's Holy Week Isn't this a time when all of us who claim to be followers of Christ should endeavour to keep his Memory Sacred - which, of course, involves abstaining from the normal abusing, name calling, nasty innuendo and much judgment based on untruths and speculation. It's just an idea and no better place for each of us to start than reflecting on the Holy Thursday "washing of feet" ceremony at the Last Supper where Jesus stooped low to wash feet - dirty, dusty feet. He didn't bring judgment ot condemnation to any person, but offered an example of true service, where, if we act in his name, we treat all with respect. We leave ultimate mercy and judgment to God. We each must weed out of our own lives the heart of stone and allow God to give us a "heart of flesh" instead. That is, the very nature and spirit of Christ himself.

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    1. Grow up.I struggle with Christmas every year in the sense that though I have objections to Jesus Christ, society and the Church have no right to dishonour the fact that if the gospels are to be believed he died trying to reform his Jewish religion. There is no evidence that he intended to form a new religion never mind a non-Jewish religion and his followers remained a Jewish party until they were expelled from the synagogues decades after his death. Christ would be in floods of tears at how he has been used by people seeking to disguise self-deception as faith. There is an intrinsic racism in how he is portrayed as non-Jewish as in religion and non-Jewish as in race. Imagine what he who attacked workers in the temple would do to cribs with their Caucasian Jesuses. Anti-semitism is the answer to all who claim that terrorism and violence have no religion. The lies are the answer to all who say that corruption and distortion have no religion.

      The Jewish people or their stock have to endure being accused of terrible things in the New Testament. That nobody cares about the absence of independent evidence or their side is anti-Semitism. Every time the New Testament is honoured as God's word in a Church there is anti-semitism at least implicitly. If you respect Jews then you spit on the New Testament. At Easter in particular, the insults delivered to Judaism increase during Christian worship. On Good Friday, Catholics take the role of Jesus murderous Jewish enemies during the gospel reading. That we have Catholics and Protestants claiming to follow Jesus a lifelong Jew is anti-semitic and shows no respect for his religious allegiance. Using a Jew, Jesus, to stir up things against the Jews is passive aggressive irony. The answer as to why Christian activists seem immune to information about the falsity of their version of Jesus and faith is that they are using it/him not respecting it/him. That is why they don't care. They hide any discomfort for that is their way of trying to undermine your confidence in the truth.

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    2. 12:00, the washing of feet in ancient times was a slave's task, a sign of his personal sudordination and worthlessness; any value he had was purely monetary. A slave was effectively a non-person, the property of another, and often treated disgracefully. And when no longer wanted, he could be auctioned as a commodity on the ancient stock exchange of human trafficking. No wonder Peter objected to what Jesus was about to do (the washing of feet); and not just because he saw this as personal degradation for Jesus himself, but probably, too, because Peter realised that when Jesus behaved in these peculiar ways, it was to teach his disciples a lesson that he expected them to practise. But proud, arrogant Peter thought himself much too important for this sort of appalling gimmick.

      Jesus, momentarily, turned a sign of personal debasement on its shame-filled head, in order to teach his disciples the fundamental importance and value of service to one another IN LOVE. Done in love, servitude is transformed from the task of a slave into the loving attention of one to another, however much outwardly it appears to the contrary.

      Did the disciples understand and practise this lesson? Probably not perfectly. And as the years passed into centuries, and the centuries into millenia, this lesson was gradually ignored and forgotten. Now, it is ritualised as an utterly meaningless ceremony on Holy Thursday.

      If Roman Catholic priests are truly what they would,and indeed do, claim to be (acting in persona Christi...'in the person of Christ'), then these are the very people to whom your words should have been directed, 12:00. And not just to them, but to the theology of priesthood which prevents the fulfilling of this example by elevating priesthood (and, therefore, priests themselves ontologically) above everyone else. How is this model of priesthood conducive to the example Jesus expected his disciples to follow, not just as empty ritual on Maundy Thursday, but on EVERY day of every year?

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    3. Magna, 14.22: As with much of Jesus's behaviour, he used the practice of feet washing, customary at the time as a gesture of hospitality and welcome, and showed how true service to others, as was his total life, means literally getting down on your knees and performing the humble act of touching the skin of another. Precisely what a house servant did, but in the washing of feet, Jesus gives yhe suoreme example of self-giving, humble service and respect. I know you don't live in the real world or probably are not involved in any community activity but I thank God for the many priests, religiiys and parishioners who, day in, day out, imitate Jesus in the act of humble service. Your assertion that priests think themselves ontoligically above others is patently a lie. Simply a lie - but then you have a propensity for exaggeration, lies, nastiness. Your capacity for blindness to the immense good done by the majority of priests is unbounded. Get beyond your cave world, ignorance, bias and hatred. Leave your hurts and imperfections at the foot of the cross on Good Friday and Jesus will unburden you of your hatred.

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    4. A mother is a willing slave to baby who will keep her up at night, exhaust her energies, throw tantrums and deplete her bank balance. Willing service out of love is very beautiful. It is possible to love God with your whole heart and strength dislike the medieval autocracy of the Roman Church.

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    5. 15:27, footwashing in ancient times could be expressive of more than one thing about the person performing the act; I did not state otherwise. However, the circumstance in which Jesus performed this act, along with Peter's horrified reaction to it, is indicative more of Jesus in the role of slave here than of anyone of higher social status.

      I do live in the real world, which is why I have been, and shall hopefully continue to be, a thorn in the side of a church whose ordained ministers have done such grave harm to its members, including themselves.

      As for priestly ontology, are you serious in your challenge to my point? I have never come across so many uneducated chancers, like you, until I came to this blog.

      The theological notion of changed priestly ontology officially first appeared at the Council of Trent, in the 16th century, as a counterpoint to Protestant denials of transubstantiation. The Council declared that the priest, upon ordination, received from Christ power to effect, in the offering of Mass, what none other could: the ontological transformation of the Eucharistic elements, bread and wine, into the body and blood of Jesus.

      Ever since, this teaching on changed ontology has been upheld, again and again.

      Ontology refers to the essental nature of anything, in other words, 'to those things that together constitute a substance of any sort'. In the case of human beings, this means those qualities that make them what they are, not just in terms of personality, but also of nature.

      The Second Vatican Council expresses the notion of ontological difference between ordained priest and non-ordained priest (a lay person) in the following way: 'Though they differ ESSENTIALLY (capitals added for emphasis), and not only in degree, the commom priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood...'.

      So no, I did not lie when I spoke of priestly ontological change, but you showed total ignorance of the subject when YOU did.

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    6. Magna 14.22 I agree with you there. The second major happening at the last supper is given lip service but is rarely seen in action. My experience is that clergy can act humble when it suits them and are very quick to act in the opposite way by a mere slight.

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    7. Magna 17.30: Why do you feel the urge to lecture, be codescending and utterly rudely disrespectful to others so frequently? I think contributors who say you're in a parallel, lonely world, empty of meaningful relationships are correct. If you enjoyed normal interaction with others, somehow you'd be much more careful about your capacity to ABUSE others. Now we clearly appreciate the wise decision to bar you from priesthood. While some priests are off putting, you would most definitely empty a church very quickly and ruin a parish! Were your childhood experiences so dysfunctional and your rejection from the seminary so awful that you haven't or can't display a maturity, decency or a basic humanity of any substance? And why such deep hatred for priests, including the majority who truly try to imitate the humble service of Christ? (Hatred is not a gospel imperative!). As has been said so often to you - lighten up, seek professional help and refrain from the bottle. You'd be a more bearable commentator.

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    8. Maggie, don’t flatter yourself. “A thorn in the side”? You’re an offensive and drunken troll on Pat Buckley’s blog. The principal reactions to you are irritation, scorn and laughter. You’re not Martin Luther and you won’t go down in history.

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    9. 19.59: I think you are very unfair to make such a cynical, dismissive comment about priests. Yes, there are some, who, in their own flawed nature ( which we all have to some extent) can live contrary to the spirit of Christ. Considering the huge pressures, challenges and pastoral needs on clergy with such shortage, I think the majority are well motivated and do try to give genuine service and commitment. A little affirmation goes a long way.

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    10. 13.43: Just read your comnents. Very confusing to understand your argument. Could yoy be more succinct and more cogent so that you may be enlightened.

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    11. 13.43 Your contribution is bizarre in the extreme. Main weaknesses: lack of nuance, generalisation, false premises, rampant bigotry.

      I scroll past M. C.'s post so I can't comment except to say there's a lot of scrolling - too much in fact - in order to avoid engaging with the rubbish.

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    12. 22:06 - Don't forget the more pleasant response of scrolling past her/his contributions. That way no time is taken up with it.

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    13. LOL.. All that spiel from the boul Magna who had the nerve to lecture other posters on the need to be brief!!

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  6. 12.00
    Why are you preaching?
    Just go and pray if you want to, nobody stopping you.
    Why exactly are u on here..now?

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    1. 12.19. Blogger at 12 noon has every right to be on. What's your beef? Afraid of the challenge? Or are you another hate monger spouting anti Catholic vitriol or simply capable only of gutter gossip to thrill your inadequate, seeming impoverished life? Fool.

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    2. 12 noon is not the blogger here,he/ she is just another anonymous poster.
      Pat is the blogger.
      Just saying.

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    3. Oh so your the poster who types ‘fool’ in almost all of your posts.
      Got you now...easy to to spot.
      I’m no hate monger..no gutter gossip, just like to read here and post occasionally.
      Definitely not anti catholic.
      Enjoying life...aren’t you?????

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  7. Go and weed then......run along...

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  8. 12.19 and 12.20: Obviously my challenge atv12.00 doesn't interest you. Continue being the gossip searchers that you are and peddle anti Catholic venom all you like. But, do look honestly into your hearts and conscience and see how you measure up to God's expectation of you! Holy Week gives all of us a moment of honesty aboutbour lives before God. That's all - not preaching but encouraging. Then, perhaps you prefer all things negative and gossipy....now run along to your tabloid, gutter press. ..

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  9. That about sums it up people have lost faith in the institution in my opinion because of better education, improved standards of living and clerical scandals and cover ups.

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    1. Good summary.13.35

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  10. You have no idea who u preaching to.
    And judging too. tut tut
    Just look into your own soul, pray, and mind your own business.
    I’m not gossiping, never have.

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  11. 13.45: Likewise, you have no idea who you are commenting on but you seem frazzled about my earlier comments. Tough....put up with those you disagree with. It's called tolerance.

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  12. Well I wasn’t preaching...you were.
    Not frazzled, whatever that is.
    You were t disagreeing with me as I didn’t give any opinions.lol
    Maybe it’s best to live and let live, especially on a blog.
    Keep up the praying!!!!!!

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  13. 14.37. Try practicing what you preach, that should keep you out of trouble for now .
    Don’t know who you slagging off here, but you sound desperate.

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  14. Lol, seems like Pat has a few trolling on here.
    The word fool is a giveaway.lol

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  15. Gaynooth is the problem. Rather than nurture vocations, these evil twisted men set out to destroy the character and reputation of decent men who do not fit the status quo of feminine seminarians who are open to anything goes. These so called formators have no care for God's Will. It is all about creating their twisted version of priesthood.

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  16. Your book has arrived, Bishop P. . So, too, has that moreish chocolate from Anglesy.

    How does the pop song go: 'I have a feelin'; tonight's gonna be a good night.'

    Yes; A good book, good chocolate, and a limitless supply of steaming coffee. Heaven and Earth in perfect harmony.😆

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    Replies
    1. You’re a bit long in the tooth for that pop song, Carta.

      Yes, “steaming coffee” liberally laced undoubtedly.

      Irish coffee is it? Or is it Café Royale?

      The fortified coffee isn’t the only thing that will be “steaming”.

      Enjoy yourself. Mind ya don’t choke now ;-)

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    2. I roll with the punches. Oh, yes I do.😅

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    3. Where do you get that chocolate, Magna?

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    4. 21:50, order online at www.caldey-island.co.uk/web/Confectionery.htm

      Made by Cistercian monks, the variety of chocolate available is absolutely delicious, though perhaps a little too sweet at times. I recommend their extra-dark; it's...it's... . Oh, try it yourself and see! Other confectionery is available, too.

      I get a month's free supply of chocolate for everyone I sucker into making a purchase. JUST KIDDING!😅

      Enjoy!👍

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    5. Many thanks for your prompt and witty response, Magna! Peter Anson never provided such worthwhile info about Caldey.

      I’ll let you know my thoughts.

      Buona Pasqua!

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  17. Enjoy your �� Easter Magna x

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  18. Pat did you hear the Nolan Show today.

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    Replies
    1. Did. Blogging about it tonight.

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    2. @21:18 Phyllis will be pleased.

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  19. Brian Kennedy on cutting edge tonight talking about the Vatican and the pope coming.
    Sure Nora Casey collect away, perhaps she can donate one of her millions.

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