Monday, July 16, 2007

Dissident 'Catholic' Groups

These organisations either claim to be Catholic or, having once been Catholic, still make a special claim to the attention of Catholics, to give a 'Catholic' view, etc.. All blatantly contradict the teaching of the Church, usually on sexual morality. In this they are not being clever or innovative, but are merely conforming to liberal views widespread outside the Church.

Why do they still want a 'Catholic' label? Often they benefit from Catholic connections in fundraising and recruiting volunteer staff. More importantly, they wish to undermine the fidelity of Catholics to the Church, and the Church's teaching itself.

They have been extremely successful in providing ammunition to the Church's opponents in the media whenever Church teaching is discussed, sowing prejudice and misinformation about that teaching and making it embarrassing for anyone to defend it. Nevertheless the Church has not ceased to put her teaching forward (on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, divorce etc.) and these groups are frequently embittered by this failure. Having no Catholic sense, they do not understand that the Church is prevented by the Holy Spirit from changing these teachings.

Click on the links to go to a more detailed analysis of each group.

The 'Justice and Peace' brigade.

Catholic Aid For Overseas Development (CAFOD) An official agency of the Bishops' Conference, contrary to its protestations, and to the repeated teaching of the Church, it promotes the use of condoms to combat AIDS. It also has a bizarre habit of employing people who reject the Church's teaching on sexuality in their private lives, or line their pockets at the taxpayer's expense: see a separate dossier here.

Progressio formerly Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR) It no longer calls itself 'Catholic' but still wants to milk its Catholic history to undermine Church teaching. It attacks the Church's position on the use of condoms against AIDS, and is also linked to groups which promote abortion.

livesimply, a joint project of CAFOD and Progressio, presents itself as applying Catholic teaching on justice, compassion for the poor and concern for the environment, but instead of doing anything - even mentioning - abortion, practical almsgiving, or anything else distinctively Catholic it wants Catholic parishes to promote low-energy lightbulbs and turning down the heating to 'save the planet'. Their 'ecumenical partner' is 'Christian Ecology Link', which supports not only contraception, but abortion, and even the forced abortions of the Chinese 'one child policy': this is so appalling we have done a dossier on them as well.

Pax Christi, a political campaigning group opposing nuclear weapons, the war in Iraq etc., consistently misrepresenting the Church's teaching on war. Without claiming to be a Catholic organisation in its self-description, it is not only listed in the Catholic Directory but collects money on 'Peace Sunday' in parish churches. It is part of the 'Justice and Peace' establishment which produces much hot air on global poverty while ignoring abortion, euthanasia and the attack on the family.

National Justice and Peace Network, an umbrella group and campaigning organisation working from diocesan offices around the country and promoting the ideas of all the above organisations.

The Archbishop Romero Trust, ostensibly promoting knowledge of the Servant of God Archbishop Romero, it has extremely close links to the militant homosexual groups noted below.

The Sex and Marriage brigade

Marriage Care, formerly the 'Catholic Marriage Advisory Service', then 'Catholic Marriage Care'. It is no longer 'Catholic' in its self-description but it is still in the Catholic Directory. Once a worthy organisation dedicated to marriage counseling, now they want to help people in all 'relationships', and undermine the Church's teaching on the nature of marriage and homosexuality. They also promote sex education, of a kind completely at variance with the Church's guidelines.

Women Word Spirit (WWS), formerly Catholic Women's Network (CWN). Recently ejected from the Catholic Directory, it still has a stranglehold on the National Board of Catholic Women, an official consultative body of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, and its quarterly newspaper 'Catholic Omnibus' (which is now to be published only as a download). As Feminists they ceaselessly campaign for women's ordination, and also support abortion. They are part of a network of dissenting groups on the issues of contraception, the liturgy, clerical celibacy, homosexuality, and the role of women in the Church.

Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (RCCLGCM)/ Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC)
Two very similar organisations seeking to undermine the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Although neither is listed in the national Catholic Directory (Quest was ejected in 1998 for refusing to 'clarify' its position on homosexual sex) they have considerable success at local level organising Masses and other events with the agreement of bishops and priests. At their events, and in their literature, there is a pervasive assumption that a homosexual couple's sexual relationship is perfectly ok, and that the Church's teaching to the contrary is 'fallible' and wrong. They are supported by a handful of dissident theologians. They campaign to guide or even be put in charge of the pastoral care of homosexual Catholics, a remarkable attempt by the wolf to apply for the shepherd's job.

Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS)/Positive Catholic (successor to 'Catholic AIDS Link'): another organisation promoting dissent about homosexuality. It has close links to RCCLGCM, and is listed in the Catholic Directory. As Positive Catholics it organises an annual retreat in Douai Abbey.

The arguments used by apologists for these groups are examined here.

The Archbishop Romero Trust: an interesting over-lap between 'Justice and Peace' dissent (CAFOD, Progressio etal.) and the homosexual dissent. The Chair is Julian Filochowski, a former director of CAFOD, whose civil partner is Martin Pendergast, the leading figure in the RCCLGCM, SMPC and CAPS. So we find CAPS Masses promoting Romero (or Romero Masses promoting CAPS?) and both being promoted by the Justice and Peace establishment.

Catholics for a Changing Church formerly 'Catholic Renewal Movement'. A collection of ageing 'trendies' who dissent from the Church's teaching on an enormous range of issues: not only sexual morality but sacramental theology, the liturgy, authority in the Church, the ordination of women, etc. etc.. Many of their views on these other issues are present in the background of the single-issue groups, with many of which they have close links. An important part of a network of dissent.

Advent Group This is composed of former Catholic priests and religious, who, having abandoned their vows, now campaign to end celibacy for the clergy, and for their members to be reinstated in pastoral ministry, partly on the basis of views of the priesthood completely incompatible with Catholic teaching. Another part of the network of dissent.

The Anti-Life brigade

Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) This group was set up by and continues to be funded and promoted by pro-abortion campaigners to undermine the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion. Its leading members are not practicing Catholics, and it has few links even with dissident Catholic groups or theologians (though feminist-influenced groups tend to be committed to abortion, and link their websites to CFFC). The rhetoric of 'choice' is badly chosen, as they oppose the right of doctors to refuse to carry out abortions, and they oppose giving women with crisis pregnancies information or counselling which includes anything about alternatives to abortion.

All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG)/ Passion for Life: The APPPLG is the officially recognised Parliamentary 'Group' campaigning, supposedly, against abortion, euthanasia and so on. Unsurprisingly, it is dominated by Catholic Members of Parliament. It has come as a shock to discover, on closer examination, that the individual views of officers of the APPPLG are not consistently pro-life, and that this ambivalence has found its way into their policy in Parliament, and in the campaign materials produced by a lobbying group, Passion for Life, which the APPPLG set up. Typically, officers of the APPPLG do not oppose legal abortion in principle: they tend to the view that there is simply 'too much abortion'. The Passion for Life campaign postcards, which were distributed in Catholic churches, included the slogan 'Abortion should be rare', an astonishing claim for a 'pro-life' group to make.
The APPPLG and Passion for life can be criticised on pro-life grounds; its members can also be criticised as Catholic politicians, who appear as such in the Catholic Directory, who are clearly dissenting from the teaching of the Church: see below.

Dissenting 'Catholic' Politicians
Only the most prominent are listed here.

Jim Dobbin accepts abortion when the mother's life is in danger

Lord Alton accepts abortion for the severely disabled.

Claire Curtis-Thomas is 'not against abortion'.

Ann Widdecombe accepts IVF.

John Gummer supported the Civil Partnerships Act

Tony Blair is anti-Catholic in almost every possible way

Ruth Kelly refused to vote against the bill to allow human-animal hybrids

Clare Short supported the hybrids bill


smokesmarvin said...

Why don't you list the SSPX?

Hercules said...

For three reasons.

1. The list is not complete - and never will be.

2. It is superfluous to include organisations which are clearly under ecclesiastical censure. The ones which interest us most are those with support among UK bishops, such as inclusion in the Catholic Directory. To say the UK bishops don't support the SSPX would be an understatement.

3. Today's news - the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops - underlines another reason, which is that the Vatican is doing its best to treat the SSPX's problems as legal rather than dogmatic. They have never been officially accused of heresy.

Anonymous said...

I notice that when one clicks on your link pages about clerical disobedience and lay dissent a message, 'error on page', comes up. Most appropriate and a sign from heaven.

Hercules said...

That's odd. What browser are you using? It's ok with Chrome and Firefox.

Anonymous said...

Why list CAFOD as a dissident organisation simply on the basis of an argument about contraception? You label them as part of a "Justice and Peace Brigade". Isn't that what being a Catholic is about? CAFOD does such good work, but you are more focused upon one minor shortcoming! Your website purports to be facilitate protests against the decline in moral standards, but you seem oblivious to the major moral imperative of the 21st century - that of helping the millions disadvantaged as a result of the greed of the developed world. Do you think that if Christ was on Earth he would be wasting his time worrying about such trivial matters. Of course, practices such as abortion are abhorrent, but you say nothing about the inequality and selfish individualism corrupting society. Don't you give a damn about climate change or third world poverty? These should be of an equal priority to any Catholic.

Hercules said...

CAFOD's position on contraception makes it a dissident group - simple as that.

Perhaps if you read the gospels you'd be surprised at Our Lord's priorities. The poor will be with you always, he said: the focus is on personal salvation.

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