Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Bishops of England and Wales want your money

Action: don't give it to them. As Damian Thompson says, they are supposed to be reforming the appallingly wasteful and self-indulgent bureaucracy of the Bishops' Conference, but have done nothing. The best and most exiting development would be the closure of the whole shebang, since as Bishop O'Donaghue told us it actually prevents good bishops doing good. As he says (see a longer extract, and anther extract here):
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.

From Damian Thompson, in part: The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has drawn up an £8.4 million shopping list of "initiatives" that it wants wealthy donors to pay for. My advice to millionaires: politely decline, and give the money instead to better Catholic causes, such as the Westminster Cathedral appeal or the terrific charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Why? Because the Bishops' Conference has not carried out its promise to reform itself, making do instead with a bit of tinkering. So its "Faith in the Future" programme still prominently features quasi-political projects such as "promoting environmental justice" (£210,000), while the same old crowd are in charge of the bureaucracy.

The demand for £245,000 for "formation of liturgical ministry" sounds innocent enough - but my experience is that the only thing that does more damage to parish worship than a liturgical minister is a trained liturgical minister (i.e., a Tablet reader who has been given a diocesan licence to boss around ordinary Catholics).

The biggest item on the shopping list is a £1.5 million project to support family life. No doubt it will do some good, but I've seen the promotional video accompanying the appeal and all we see is a family from Manchester trooping off to a meeting with other active lay Catholics to watch one of those bloody DVDs that the Church regards as almost miraculous tools of evangelisation.

See his full post.

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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