• RSS Queering the Church

    • For English Catholics, a “Request for Testimony”. November 15, 2014
      In preparation for the next phase of the family synod, bishops around the world are expected to consult with the wider church. In England and Wales, this will include every parish, and includes a “request for testimony” – in which…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • Christian “Teaching of Contempt”: Homophobia, Anti-Semitism, November 15, 2014
      At the Reformation Project recent conference in Washington DC, one of the keynote speakers was Dr David P. Gushee, an expert on Christian Jewish relations, who made some pertinent observations on how for centuries, Christians routinely taught and practised contempt…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Fran)
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Something to Think About . . . November 22, 2014
      "Gender, Gospel, and Global Justice," the third international conference of Women's Ordination Worldwide, will take place in Philadelphia, September 18-20, 2015. To register, click here. Related Off-site Links:We Have No Shortage of Vocations. What We Have is a Shortage of Vision – Christine Schenk (National Catholic Reporter, November 20, 201 […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Quote of the Day November 21, 2014
      How did [the] collapse [of the National Organization for Marriage] occur so quickly? I have three theories. The first is that casual donors grew weary of NOM’s execrably hateful campaigns and craven refusal to face public censure. In 2013, the group’s anti-gay rhetoric sounded barbaric and, at a fundamental level, simply impolite. Even if you didn’t like gay […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Still alive and kicking November 11, 2014
      Prague Noir on a Wintery NightI'm still alive and kicking, as the saying goes. But I've been putting a lot of time into my new book review blog, Crime Scene Reviews. Check it out if crime novels are your cup of arsenic laced tea. And if you want to help out, please vote in the book poll on the site. Both books up for a vote are based on true life i […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
    • GAY MYSTIC CONNECTICUT November 2, 2014
      Pequot Woods ParkAnd now for a bit of whimsy:One of the results that pops up for Gay Mystic on Google is one called Gay Mystic Map Listings.I-95 Rest AreaAnd here we can find all of the gay cruising areas in Mystic, Connecticut. I never knew there was such a place. Who knew?  To be honest, I've never indulged in this kind of naturistic activity, though […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • 借入しすぎを防ぎたい February 26, 2014
      自分でこれ以上借りないと思っていても、ついつい借りてしまう浪費癖が治らないそれならいっそのこと、借りれなくしてしまえばいいのです。日本貸金業協会の貸付自粛制度とは貸付自粛制度とは、資金需要者が、自らに浪費の習癖があることその他の理由により、自らを自粛対象者とする旨又は親族のうち一定の範囲の者が、金銭貸付による債務者を自粛対象者とする旨を日本貸金業協会に対して申告することにより、日本貸金業協会が、これに対応する情報を個人信用情報機関に登録し、一定期間、当該個人信用情報機関の会員に対して提供する制度です。登録手数料等の費用はかかりません。貸付自粛情報の登録内容氏名 性別 生年月日 住所 自宅電話番号(または携帯電話番号) 勤務先名 勤務先電話番号 貸付自粛情報の登録内容 氏名 性別 生年月日 住所 自宅電話番号(ま […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Thor: The Dark World November 22, 2014
      It seems like I've been watching a lot of Marvel movies lately ... this week's rental was Thor: The Dark World ...a 2013 American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Thor .... It is the sequel to 2011's Thor and the eighth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was directed by Alan Taylor .... It stars Chris He […]
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Austrian Bishops Respond to Catholic “Rebellion”: Continuing Dialogue Promised

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna has responded to the Austrian rebels with a promise of dialogue, not discipline: jaw-jaw before war-war: but has firmly rejected calls to “disobedience”.

Last week the Austrian branch of “We are Church” issued a statement of support for the Austrian priests’ earlier “call to disobedience, and at the same time urged laypeople to start making up for clergy shortages by consecrating and distributing Holy Communion, as well as preaching and presiding at Mass.

This call immediately preceded a four-day meeting  of the Austrian bishops, at which the priests’ rebellion was already due to be discussed. The bishops have now concluded their meeting, and have released a statement in response, which is well worth reading and considering carefully.

Part of the response is entirely predictable – a rejection of the principle of disobedience, and for lay people to celebrate the Mass themselves.

The bishops said that some demands connected to “this call for disobedience at the initiative of priests and laity are simply unsustainable” and breach “the central truth of our Catholic faith.”

USCatholic.org

I’m not sure that this is correct – I would have thought that the “central truth” of our Catholic faith was to follow the example of one Jesus Christ – who was notably wary of slavish adherence to religious rules and religious leaders.  Just consider, for instance, the words from the Gospel reading two weeks ago, and in particular its closing lines:

You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. 

Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ. 
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

No, the “central truth” that is being breached here is not that of the Catholic faith, but of clerical (and especially episcopal) power, that has been gradually claimed for themselves in a two millennium long power grab. What the call for lay celebration of the Eucharist does, is to return to the practice of the earliest church, when communities chose from amongst themselves people to lead their liturgies. These served as part-time ministers, not full-time professionals – and bishops did not even exist.

The issue of “disobedience” specifically is another matter – but it cuts both ways. It is true that priests take vows of obedience to the bishops – but the bishops in turn are supposed to be responsive to the needs of the Church. The overwhelming evidence from research the world over, is that (collectively) they are not.

But inside the statement, there is also encouragement. It is clear that the Austrian bishops have recognized the seriousness of the crisis, and while they reject the rebels’ outright defiance, they have some sympathy with their fundamental aims. They have attempted to show a conciliatory tone, and to demonstrate some common ground. They too, are anxious for reform and renewal. They also emphasise a flexible understanding of “obedience” itself, which does not have to be blind and slavish:

“As bishops, we are all naturally concerned about our church’s real and serious problems –Austrian dioceses are facing up to the situation and taking opportunities to innovate,” said a statement issued at the end of the Nov. 7-10 meeting.

In their statement, the bishops said the duty of obedience had its source “in the Bible and living tradition of the church” and did not mean “being blind or slavish.” They said debates were under way in each diocese and they were confident they would “find answers to the questions asked today.”

USCatholic.org

That’s in the formal, prepared statement, as quoted by US Catholic Magazine. Behind the scenes, we can be sure that there will be much more, continuing discussion (not for public dissemination). This was explicitly promised by Cardinal Schonborn, in a press conference following their meeting.

“We are in talks and will remain in talks because I and the bishops are still convinced that a lot can and must be cleared up by dialogue,” Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said on Friday after a four-day meeting of bishops.

Equally interesting, as always in discussions of ecclesiastical politics, is what is not said: there is absolutely no mention of disciplinary sanctions against the rebels, imposed or threatened.

The bishops find themselves in an impossible situation. It is clear that they have substantial sympathy with the aims of the Austrian reform movement, but they are unable to comply with the demands with themselves falling into direct conflict with their own superiors in Rome. As the view from the Vatican, and that from ordinary Catholic households, continues to drift further and further apart, the challenge to Austrian bishops in attempting to straddle the divide will be repeated, in many other countries.

 Related articles

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 148 other followers

%d bloggers like this: