Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Civil Partnership of Pendergast and Filochowski

Background briefing. This story is not new (the infamous Mass took place in June 2001, and the civil partnership on the fifth anniversary of the Mass) but the participants and their friends, despite the row which greeted these events, seem determined to keep the matter in the public eye, with two new publications:

An article in 'The Furrow', October 2006, by Fr Enda McDonagh ('Honorably Catholic and Honorably Gay') reproduces Fr McDonagh's address at the Mass celebrated by Fr James O'Keefe to mark the 'friendship' of Pendergast and Filochowski.

A new collection of essays, edited by one of the partners, has been published: 'Opening Up: speaking out in the Church ' (Eds Julian Filochowski and Peter Stanford DARTON, LONGMAN & TODD, £14.95) This has been reviewed in The Tablet, and seems to be a 'tribute' to Pendergast by his friends.

The Pendergast/Filochowski affair is important because of their prominence in Catholic circles (Filochowski was Director of CAFOD), and the support given to them by other prominent Catholics, notably the Dominican theologian Fr Timothy Ratcliffe (a contributor to the book) and Bishop Crowley (who attended the Mass, and would have celebrated it himself if public outcry had not prevented it). All of these figures seem determined to normalise the notion of homosexual partnerships in the Catholic Church, despite the very clear guidance of the magisterium on the matter. See the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's 2003 document, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions betwen homosexual persons.

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (n.5)"

The issues surrounding these matters have been admirably discussed, with reference to further documentation, on the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog: here, here and here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen