Monday, September 08, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 7

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.5, p47
Let me be clear, disagreement and debate between people of good-will about reformable ideas and practises are to be encouraged in the Church. However, when such disagreement and debate becomes public dissent through organised opposition, lobbying and campaigns, there is a danger to the unity and well being of the Church.
I’ve also observed that Catholics who privately dissent from certain doctrines and disciplines of the Church are often prey to growing anger and disillusionment with the Church in general. What starts out as a doubt or scepticism due to some piece of historical-critical research, taken in isolation, becomes a type of creeping doubt about the certainty of doctrine. Doubting the historical authenticity of a saying or deed of Christ in the Gospel, they can eventually come to doubt the truth of the Church. Such doubts can lead to discontent with the Church, often focused against the person of the reigning Pope and the local bishop. It is common for bishops to receive letters and emails angrily demanding the Church change a doctrine of faith or morals, such as the Church’s opposition to contraception or homosexual life-styles, or the discipline of priestly celibacy, as if we are politicians who can be pressured to change
a political policy!
Let me be clear here, Church teaching is not the opinion of the Pope and bishops that can be changed by lobbying or through the succession of a new Pope or Bishop, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, Son of God, safe-guarded and preserved by the teaching office of the Church.
My heart goes out to all those who have become trapped in this unhappy state of doubt and discontent, to which we can all become vulnerable at one time or another. I pray for their enlightenment by the Spirit of truth and love.
I, like many others, am aware of the enormous socio-cultural pressures, exerted through the media, culture and politics, that propagate secularism and relativism which fuel dissent and indifferentism within the Church. As the people of God we must develop strategies and counter-measures to protect ourselves from forces that are destructive of faith.

1 comment:

Jackie Parkes said...

Many thanks for all these posts...

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