Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bishop O'Donaghue on preaching the whole gospel


From CFNews: Both the Church and society are suffering today from the harm caused by gross distortions and the rejection of Catholic teaching over the past 40 years, warns Bishop Patrick O'Donohue of Lancaster.

'The idea of obedience and humility toward God's truth are totally alien to many people in this age of assertive individualism,' said the bishop.

Critical of a lack of courage in bishops and Catholic leaders, he stated: 'If we fail in our duty of presenting the truths of the faith, not only the Church but also wider society, suffers.'

In an interview with Zenit newsagency, the Bishop of Lancaster argued that 'the principal challenge, from which many of the other challenges spring, is the rejection of obedience in the Church.'

'We must allow the word of God to judge and challenge us,' he said, rather than approaching it 'with the attitude of consumers, who pick and choose according to taste and personal comfort.'

In the past few years Bishop O'Donoghue has emerged as the most outspoken bishop in these islands, stating without compromise what is demanded by the following of Christ.

Some months ago his comprehensive programme for the renewal of his diocese, Fit for Mission?, created a stir in the English-speaking world, and won the praise of top Vatican officials.

Bishop O'Donoghue admitted that he had been surprised 'both by the approval and the hostility' that his documents caused 'in my own diocese, nationally and internationally.'

He added, 'all I have done is reiterate and explain the teachings of the Church as expressed in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.'

Critical of bishops for their neglect in correcting distortions of the faith since the Council, he also did not spare well-educated lay Catholic leaders.

They, he said, 'occupy influential positions in education, the media, politics, and even the Church, where they have spread their so-called loyal dissent, causing confusion and discord.'

Bishop O'Donoghue also claimed that 'a wrong type of ecumenism has put a brake on the Catholic Church's freedom to engage in evangelisation and mission in society.'

Fear of offending other Christians 'has inhibited us from confidently proclaiming the distinctive and defining truths of Catholicism,' he said.

He wanted ecumenical dialogue to focus on 'those elements of the Catholic Church that we have in common with non-Catholic churches and ecclesial communities.'

The goal, he said 'should always be to strengthen the imperfect communion that already exists, in the hope that non-Catholics will come to see and come to seek the fulness of truth.'

Since he hit the headlines, Bishop O'Donoghue has been seen as particularly concerned about the religious formation of children and young adults.

Part of his aim, he said was 'to encourage debate among clergy and catechists about the nature and methodology of catechesis and theology.'

He rejected the tendency to treat Church doctrine as a secondary source, 'with primacy given to personal experience and secular methodologies.' Rather, Church doctrine, 'the Deposit of Faith,' must have primacy in the task of communicating the fulness of the faith.

Catholic renewal will only come, he said, 'if clergy and laity, including the bishops, wholeheartedly accept obedience to the full doctrinal, moral and liturgical truth as entrusted to, and protected by, the Successor of St. Peter.' [www.alive.ie]

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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