Sunday, September 14, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 10

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.

This extract is of special importance for an understanding of the situation in the Church today: Bishops' Conferences are usurping the teaching role of bishops and making it harder for orthodox ones to speak out.

From section 9.8, p60-61
The Extraordinary Synod (1985) went on to highlight an area of concern about the conferences, that they must keep in mind the ‘inalienable responsibility of each bishop in relation to the universal Church and the particular Church’. Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Apostolos Suos further sought to highlight the necessity of limiting the authority of national Episcopal conferences, along with conference committees, commissions, advisors and experts in favour of the authority of the individual bishop in his diocese and through the bishop’s direct and personal co-operation in a national conference.

I must admit that during my 15 years as a bishop I have increasingly come to share certain concerns about the relationship between individual bishops and the National Conference:

Due to the division of areas of responsibility among the bishops, such as education, liturgy, healthcare, migrants etc, there can often be reluctance among the rest of the bishops to speak out on these issues, as if somehow they had handed over their competence in these areas to the responsible bishop and his particular committee. For example, there seemed some surprise in some circles that I had issued my teaching document, Fit for Mission? Schools.

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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