February 2006

Dissent addictive?

Has dissent become addictive in Brisbane?

One would have thought that for all reasonable people, practicing Catholics or not, the message would have got home by now. The possibility of women being ordained to the priesthood just will not happen. To talk of it is a waste of breath and an insult to the late Holy Father, John Paul II, who made the point emphatically – the Church has not the authority to implement such action even if, in some extraordinary circumstance, She ever contemplated doing so.

As for the abandonment of celibacy for priests, this again, while still remaining a matter of discipline, will remain the norm in the Latin Rite, as it has done for a millennium or more. If there was a lingering doubt or possibility of change it was well and truly laid to rest at the Synod of Bishops in Rome recently. It was interesting to note that even bishops of the Eastern Rites in communion with Rome and who ordain married men, spoke strongly in favour of a celibate priesthood.

Are some Catholics laypeople and priests in the Brisbane archdiocese deterred by all this? Not at all! They still go mouthing off as if these events had taken place on another planet. For instance, (already reported in the December AD2000) we read of the parish priest of the Star of the Sea Catholic parish in Cleveland, a Brisbane bay side suburb reporting in his newsletter that a sub-committee of the Parish Council had been formed to “research greater lay leadership, wider use of married men as priests and the possibility of women as ordained ministers”.

Someone should tell them they are wasting their time. They would be better off at home with their families, or watching the cricket on TV or reading a good book. It was also reported that this same parish priest joined forlorn cause with Elizabeth Harrington to take issue with Cardinal George Pell on the subject of so-called lay-led liturgies.

Then we have the spectacle of the now ex-parish priest of Beenleigh, Father Dan Grundy, in a full page feature article in the local paper, Albert and Logan News Nov 4 ‘05 (complete with colour photographs) sounding forth on the same worn out theme. He is reported as saying that “after three years as the church’s ‘recruitment officer’, that a lot of young men who enter the seminary eventually leave because they are unable to take a vow of celibacy”. He reportedly added “In almost all cases it was a factor. Culturally, celibacy makes no sense any more”. “Part of the failure of the church today is to adequately respond to cultural change.”

From this it would appear that, if Fr Grundy could lightly describe himself as “recruitment officer”, then he saw the priesthood as hardly more than just a “job” to be filled. If he believed then that ‘celibacy makes no sense’ why was he given the job of Vocations Director (or ‘recruitment officer’ as he calls it) at all?

The writer of this feature in the Logan News makes the claim that Fr Grundy is now “wiser and more worldly than his early days as a priest”. It is easy to agree with the “worldly” bit but “wiser” is in some doubt. Does Fr Grundy really believe that Our Lord founded a Church that would simply “respond to cultural change”? Surely it’s the other way round. Is it not the Church’s task – as difficult and daunting as it may be - to change the culture of the society in which it finds itself? Hasn’t it been doing that for 2000 years? Isn’t that why it has survived and succeeded while cultures have collapsed in chaos and disintegrated in despair around it? Apparently Father Grundy now has a roving brief to make his services available in archdiocesan parishes as required to relieve priests sick or on holidays. Now you know.

Finally we refer to a report by Jenny Lynne that appeared in the ACP Letter of last September. This concerned a talk given by Vivien Williams, ‘Pastoral Associate’ of St Bernard’s Parish, Upper Mt. Gravatt that incorporates St Martin’s Church where the talk was presented on the Feast of the Assumption.

If ever there was a prime example of the dangers of the proliferation of lay “Pastoral Assistants” and their assumption of roles in catechesis and preaching then this is one.

From Jenny’s report of her talk on Our Lady, Vivian Williams proceeded to spread falsehood and heresy, and denigrate the Holy Mother in a way that would only be surpassed by the most rabid of the old-time protestant “Mary-haters”.

She proposed the hoary old protestant contention that Mary had other children. To suggest that Mary was not “ever-Virgin” is heretical. She followed this up by showing slides supposedly of Our Lady as a priest (priestess!) There were only ever male priests in the Jewish faith and to suggest that Mary had somehow been “ordained” by her Son, Jesus Christ, or one of the Apostles is sheer nonsense. To what extent will these dissenters go to try and keep alive the “women priest” agenda?

As Jenny Lynne commented: “the point these feminists are trying to make is that if the Blessed Virgin Mary was a priest then women priests should be acceptable now.”

She adds: “Feminists who think themselves priestess material will have to go back to the covens. The Church will never allow women to act in “persona Christi”.

As Lepanto has emphasised many times over the past few years, the influence of radical feminist Mercy Sister Elaine Wainwright and her collaborators is still being felt in many quarters. Many of the current crop of parish priests, lay leaders and pastoral assistants were students of Sr Wainwright at the Banyo seminary and Brisbane Theological College. The result has been a continuing climate of NewChurch-type dissent throughout the archdiocese. There has to be a revolutionary change in faith education in schools and colleges before much will change.

It has happened or is in the process of happening elsewhere in Australia and it will happen here. Don’t shrug your shoulders at dissent. Confront the dissenters. Let them know that despite the fact they presently occupy many positions of power and influence in Queensland dioceses their reign is fast coming to an end. And it is the new generation of young Catholics who are beginning to realise they have been short-changed in the RE they received in so-called Catholic education system and who are now beginning to call the shots. These are the young people who attended the Youth Day in Germany, these are those young Catholics, full of faith and enthusiasm, who demonstrated during the Adore Youth Eucharistic Congress that the future of the Church in Australia - in Brisbane - is in their hands.