Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Not A Bull's Notion

We must pray for Cardinal Schoenborn and the bishops of Austria, they have real trouble on their hands.  According to news reports (and I urge caution, journalists can get things wrong) a group of dissenting Catholics are threatening the bishops that if they do not give in to their demands, the laity will begin to celebrate Mass themselves.  They are of the belief that the Bible gives them the right to do so.

Now rebellion aside, you have to wonder who these people are. Are there priests among them?  Because one thing is certain, they haven't got a bull's notion of the Christian faith or the concept of the priesthood.  Even those who demand that women be ordained know at the very least that the ministerial priesthood has to be conferred through ordination, these people in Austria seem not to know that and think that the only thing which is stopping them consecrating the Holy Eucharist is a ban by a "Patriarchal Church".

This reveals that what is really at the heart of much of this dissent is an appalling lack of real catechesis: they actually do not know the teachings of the Christian faith, nor the sacramental system of the Catholic Church.  Many of them could not even be described as Protestant, because most Protestant communities require some form of ordination for its ministers.  That there are priests among these dissidents is very sad and worrying: it is obvious that if they are peddling this nonsense they have had little or no theological formation, or at least a formation that adheres to the teachings of the Church.

Of course we know all this.  We know that since Vatican II there has been a crisis in catechesis in the Church - the wrong people are in charge of these programmes and they have diluted the articles of faith in favour of a more experiential approach which has led to some major lapses in faith formation:  Thomas Groome has become the guru for many in all this.  We know that many of the seminaries are in a bad way theologically - I know from personal experience.  There is little (at best!) differentiation between the ministerial/sacramental priesthood and the common priesthood of the faithful, so new priests go out unaware that they are indeed men set apart with a power, for lack of a better word, which others do not have: the power to consecrate the Eucharist, the power of forgive sins.  It's all very sad.


  1. I presume the "one third" of Austrian "priests" that are demanding women priests, admission of divorcees to communion, etc. are behind it. The Irish version of those Austrian priests is the ACP, which should be disbanded by the authorities, while those continuing in public dissent and attacks on the Church need to be excommunicated. However, as we all know and suffer from, there has been no effective leadership in the Church in Ireland for decades. Pray we'll get Bishops who will do their solemn duty soon; and that, henceforth, our priests will be formed in orthodox seminaries (even if that has to be outside Ireland for some time). God bless. Lynda

  2. If the Irish bishops had dealt with the rebels twenty years ago instead of leaving them in their positions of power and allowing them gather a bewildered laity around them, we would not have the ACP today.

  3. Pray for Cardinal Von Schönborn? Certainly but bear in mind Galatians 6:8. This didn't come out of nowhere and the Cardinal has been a bishop since 1991, and ordinary of Vienna since 1995. Let's pray for them all, for wisdom & grace all round.