Monday, 4 March 2013

Bishop Burns of Menevia credits bloggers with the ability to influence the Papal election

The Bishop may be over egging it slightly but there is a kernel of perception in what he says. Catholic bloggers have proved time and time again how they can influence both secular and Church affairs.

Sadly, it ends there. The remainder of the Bishop's statement to the press is absolutely crass and, some might say, disloyal to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

How much longer are we prepared to put up with such behaviour from those who are supposed to be the Princes of the Church?

The following is an extract from the 'Wales Online' report, as I am hurrying to catch a train, I have not had time to add my comments; perhaps that is just as well.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

Bishop of Menevia, Tom Burns wants a new freedom to discuss “currently prohibited” issues including contraception and the remarriage of divorced people.
He further suggests that the cardinals should look beyond their number to choose a successor to Benedict XVI.
The former Royal Navy chaplain writes: “If the cardinals have to look outside their own group, so be it. The last time was in 1378.
“The scene is set for yet another precedent.”
Among the radical changes he has proposed in the Catholic journal the Tablet, he calls for church government to be “stripped of status and elitism” and suggests “a root-and-branch review of the method of appointing bishops” and a third Vatican council.
He expects the internet to shape the decisions of the papal conclave, writing that “electors can probably not avoid being swayed by Twitter, Facebook, and blogs”.
In his article the bishop applauds the former Pope’s 2010 visit to Britain in which there “not a word out of place” but writes that “views emerging from the Vatican on homosexuality as ‘disordered’, appeared excessive, lacking Benedict’s usual distinctions.”
He continues: “He renewed the Church’s historical opposition to women priests, methods of stem-cell research, and enlightened thinking by liberal theologians.”
The bishop then lays out a vision for sweeping change, writing: “Whoever is elected, the time has come to re-open the doors and windows for a new blowing of the Spirit, even a Third Vatican Council, a freedom to discuss key ministerial concerns, freedom of research for ways ahead on key issues affecting marriage (eg the implications of re-marrying after divorce); re-examining ethical questions (eg just war theory, the sale of arms, acceptable intentions and methods of birth control, integrity in public and financial affairs); Church governance (eg developing a simpler and humbler servant Church model, less hierarchical and more collegial, stripped of status and elitism); promoting Vatican II’s principle of subsidiarity (eg through de-centralisation and greater transparency); improving relations between the Holy See and dioceses (eg a root-and-branch review of the method of appointing bishops); and bringing into the College of Cardinals a wider representation (eg of views, experience, traditions to be set and handed on into the future).”
The Welsh bishop argues that the former Pope should not be held personally responsible for the child abuse scandals, writing: “In the minefield of child sexual abuse, the blame attached to him was really unmerited, and his humble and heartfelt apologies were genuinely appreciated by many. It is not Benedict, but the priests convicted of such crimes, who have reduced the Church’s influence and doctrinal credibility.”
Praising Benedict’s decision to retire rather than die in the post, he writes: “In his last days in office, Benedict unwittingly showed a further dimension of his humility and selflessness, by opening the door to future popes to lay down their office freely, yet still respond to God’s call to contemplative prayer.”
He urges the conclave to “ open all doors and considerations,” adding: “The Spirit’s influence is needed to free the cardinal electors of considerations involving electoral blocs – nationalistic, geographical, conceptual, ageist – and there is no place for self-interest, ambition, or career benefits at lower levels.”
Stressing the personal strengths of the individual to take the helm of the church, he states: “Whoever is chosen has to be the right man in the right place at the right time, someone who can bring about much needed change and take others with him because his reputation is untainted and his future will not be enmeshed or smothered by Church bureaucracy, politics, and loneliness.”
He concludes with a final plea for change: “Let the new wine fill new wine skins.”

Read more: Wales Online 


  1. Sad to say his statement is a bit like like the curate's egg "Not entirely bad". Though some parts seem rotten!

  2. "He urges the conclave to “ open all doors....”"

    Conclave: open doors? Surely some mishtake?

  3. This is absolutely unbelievable. This Bishop obviously thinks that the renewal of the Church by the Holy Spirit can be usurped by the 'reform of man' which always involves the side stepping of the Holy Spirit. He seems to have no concept what-so-ever of how renewal in the church works. He is acting like a spoiled child who is screaming 'me,me, me', 'I want, I want, I want'.

    I am sure that you have noticed that liberals have started to get more pro-active, outspoken, and even nasty. They have had 50 years of getting their own way and enforcing their own false doctrines on Catholics. Now that there is some solid resistance which actually involves correct catechesis they are starting to 'throw their toys out of their prams'.

    What is expressly worrying here is that he wants reform involving stem cell research which involves destroying the earliest stage of unwanted embryos. It sounds as if he is part of the 'ensoulment' brigade who do not believe that a embryo or foetus are a person until they have a relationship with their mother (handy for pro-abortion Catholics). It is as if he does not understand the concept that church teaching, that is guided by the Holy Spirit, cannot err because it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to be in error or contradict Himself. This idea of 'ensoulment' was part of church teaching years ago. He obviously does not understand the temporal nature of church teaching not being in error in the present. Or maybe he disagrees with that as well.

    We need to be thankful that at present there are no Cardinals from Britain who are going to be present at the conclave.

  4. Of course, by temporal I mean 'always correct and active in the present moment'. Thought I'd clear that up rather than delete again.

    Needles to say I nearly spat my tea out when I read this. Some of this post, as EFPastorEmeritus points out is rotten (rotten to the core).

  5. By the same token it seems an irony that none of the bishops themselves appear to be influenced by Catholic blogs. Rather the reverse.
    I'm with Ora Pro Nobis in being relieved that we have no representative at the conclave.

  6. I seem to be reading far more orthodox doctrine on Catholic blogs than I hear from English and Welsh bishops.

  7. Happily, the Conclave will be in the Vatican, not in a Starbuck's.

  8. The last time a Pope "opened the windows" of the Vatican to the world in 1962 some decidedly nasty flies, lice and cockroaches swiftly entered in. The results are less than edifying.

    I'm all for opening the windows, letting the bugs fly and crawl out and then putting up window screens.

  9. "He concludes with a final plea for change: “Let the new wine fill new wine skins.”"

    Perhaps he should lay off the sheep-dip. The last - admittedly more prominent- British bishop to suggest changes to discipline (not even doctrine) had his resignation rapidly accepted and has withdrawn in some disgrace!

  10. He wants more indiscriminate bombing of the Islamic World and even the outsourcing of these atrocities via the sale of arms for profit to Vatican approved mercenaries?

  11. Aged Parent -- just right! Thank you!

  12. Amongst the Bishop's crass collection of clichés, this one takes the biscuit: "enlightened thinking by liberal theologians.” Why not female, and currently writing for the Tablet?

    Aged Parent - agreed, but I would prefer insecticide, so the little bugs can't breed.

  13. It is clear viewing the article written in the Tablet that the thinking is very much that what is wrong is "out there" somewhere , but not in one's own garden.

    Let's suppose I was setting off on a journey, and it was a snowy day. It would be no good trying to fill in the potholes at the road leading to the destination hundreds of miles away before clearing the snow off ones own drive, and this , it seems, is what is being attempted by writing this article.

    If there had been more adherence to the spirit of Benedict's teachings , things here would not be in the mess they currently are.

    No future Pope would be able to repeal the laws on same sex marriage, contraception , etc. etc. no matter how "liberal" they may be, so why are we even discussing that.

    There is a track record in the present and past Bishops of England and Wales to somehow stop what is good, tell parishioners all the things they cannot have an what they have no right to expect, protest against anything that is a bit different and full of the Spirit, not stand up effectively against things that are totally wrong, and then tell people they are lucky to have any sort of Mass at all, and expect their physical and financial contributions.

    The time has come for bishops to stop this ridiculous and futile witch-hunt against all things traditional, which is a diversion and a side issue from what is really needed stop getting everyone's backs up , accept a level of diversity in the liturgy and to begin to flower where one is planted, not hundreds of miles away in Rome.

  14. My apologies for not responding individually but thank you all for your comments and, if I had to highlight those that were especially in accord with my own thoughts it would be the ones from Tom Sharpling, Aged P and OPN. God bless you and spare us all from the bishops.

  15. Paul Inwood, the shortly-to-be-made-redundant liturgy director of Portsmouth diocese claims on the PrayTell blog that the E&W bishops 'begged' Benedict XVI not to release Summorum Pontificum. I would like to know a) is this true? and b) what were their lordships afraid of?

  16. John Nolan - based on past experiences it has a ring of truth about it. Many years ago Cardinal Hume is alleged to have made an emergency dash to Rome to thwart Pope JP2's plans to 'liberate' the Latin Mass; he was successful, of course.
    As to what they are afraid of...the mind boggles.