The LCWR in the US is getting ready for their conference to discuss their response to the Holy See's investigation. Various articles over the past few days have reported on the discussion that will take place. Though an offer has been made, the ladies of the LCWR do not want a representative from the Holy See present. Listening to what the leader of the LCWR has to say I would not hold out too much hope for progress. Although, given that the superiors of the various congregations will be present, there may be some common sense somewhere and that may prevail.
What the leaders of the LWCR do not seem to understand (or maybe they do), is they want to negotiate away the very teaching of Christ to replace it with their political agenda. The Church will not engage in that, and even though the sisters speak of founding a new organisation, if they do so in rebellion, they will be breaking communion with the Church and may well be on the way to formal excommunication. If they are trying to push Benedict into a corner they had better be careful, as we have seen in recent years, when theologians and dissidents seek to play chicken with the Pope, they end up far worse: though he is patient, generous, he listens and is charitable, at the end of the day he will not blink.
In other news I see Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen is at the centre of a minor storm as homosexuals react to his statement on marriage equality. The bishop, responding to the Scottish administration's determination to legislate for same sex marriage, pointed out that if they want marriage equality, why discriminate against those to wish to have more than one wife, and those who want to marry close relatives? Homosexuals have declared the bishop's words to be insulting.
But the bishop's words are not insulting at all: he is absolutely correct. If a government has decided to go against nature and enshrine the fiction of same sex marriage in its legislation in the name of marriage equality, then why discriminate against other forms of marriage? Why tell muslims and mormons that they cannot practice polygamy - after all their religions permit it? Why is it insulting to homosexuals that heterosexual polygamous marriages be permitted? And why put laws in force to prevent close relatives marrying - it they truly love each other, then why not? After all, as the gay lobby insist - if two people love each other, then they should not be prevented from living out that love? In reality if a government says that people of the same sex can form a marital alliance, why discriminate against others?
Now I do not agree with polygamy nor close relations marrying no more than I do with same sex "marriage", all are contrary to the law of Christ. But let's face it, if all the talk is about marriage equality, why stop with the homosexuals?
The well loved Irish writer Maeve Binchy has died. She is a loss to Ireland, not only as a writer of popular fiction, but as one of those people who was genuinely nice and humble. I always enjoyed listening to Maeve in conversation, she always had something good to say and was very entertaining.
However I see she was given a full Catholic funeral, and I find that disappointing. Maeve, on her own admission, was an atheist, and although she was generous to her local parish, I'm not quite sure a full Catholic funeral was a good idea. In Ireland the Church tends to give full honours to atheists and even enemies of the Church, even introducing elements foreign to the Catholic liturgy in order to make their ceremonies more relevant and meaningful. Indeed some of these ceremonies become full blown canonisation ceremonies as one who refused to believe in God, or lived in a way which rejected Christ's teaching, and may even have spent their lives publicly attacking the Church and the Catholic faith, are held up as examples of how we should all live. I think this is something we have to look it.
That said, I do see a place in the Church for funerals of non-believers - pastoral care would suggest that for relatives a funeral liturgy in a church may well be consoling, and of course the deceased needs prayer after death, as we all will. The current Requiem Mass texts, however, are unsuitable, as they speak of a believer. Perhaps it is time for the Church to devise a funeral rite for non-believers, or a Mass for the Burial of Non-Believers, one which emphasises God's mercy and, perhaps the natural virtues which many believers demonstrate in their lives.
Maeve Binchy was certainly a woman who had many natural virtues, so we commend her to the mercy of God.