2012 articles by David Timbs m 2011 articles
Sacrament of the Neighbour - A Reflection for 2013.
in Liberation Theology
Gutierrez intensifies the shock effect of the Jesus story by proposing that the wounded man, left for dead on the side of the road, should be seen as none other than God! Gutierrez invites us to recognise that it is Christ himself standing in the sandals of the poor, outcast, the de-humanised. It is then possible to acknowledge him/her as not only our ‘neighbour’ but as our nearest relation.
The Druids, Romans and others celebrated the winter solstice with its celebration of the return of the Sun – Sol Invictus. Christians subsumed this observance into Christmas. Coca Cola and big business have now identified a weak spot in the Christian facade and struck back on behalf of the pagans. Christmas has now been successfully retrieved and rebranded with the face of that jolly great identity thief, Santa Claus.
It is entirely possible that Olmsted had become so provocative and aggressively confrontational that he is seen as a liability in the US. Equally, it might be deduced that he has been rewarded by Rome precisely for those reasons
(c.f. Power behind papal throne - Team Vatican is becoming ...?? jw)
bishops lose their moral authority
The Church has all too often placed institutional honour ahead of its Gospel obligation to its children and other vulnerable ones. No wonder that when it moralises on other issues no one wants to listen
not our hearts burn within us...?
Some rather disturbing anecdotal evidence indicates that in the US especially but probably elsewhere, increasing numbers of preachers are becoming extremely lazy, are down-loading homilies and delivering them as if they were their own work. A commenter, for example, in Cathnewsusa has reported just recently that he and his wife heard the exact same ‘homily’ at two Masses on the same day in two different cities,
Worldly Logic of Power
The self-interested Roman Curia must be demystified and dismantled as a matter of urgent priority. It has survived as a sterile pretend church within the Church for too long. It needs to be curated in a museum as a constant reminder of what happens when people confuse institutional power and privilege with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Catholic Church may well have compromised itself very badly by being far too closely aligned with the interests of groups morally marginal to its own.
out a gnat
and swallowing a camel
The disproportional nature of authoritarian coercion is now increasingly obvious to both insiders and outsiders and is being assessed accordingly - yet another example of an often reactive paranoia. The Vatican doctrinal bureaucracy, in the public eye, has elevated gnat straining to an exotic new art form. While the Irish and American episode amounts in reality to little more than a series of local spot fires, best left to local churches to deal with, the Vatican has mistakenly treated them as uncontrolled forest fires endangering the whole Church.
11: Fear and Power
in an Age of Anxiety
It may well take decades before the Bishops ever regain anything resembling trust, confidence and credibility. What is happening in one local Church might well pale into relative insignificance compared with the collapse of credible leadership in the wider Church as Catholics continue to make the critical distinction between blindly submitting to coercive authoritarianism
and abiding faith in Jesus Christ.
Nov 4: An assessment of recent Synod:
All dressed up but did they go anywhere?
It was little more than an exercise in ecclesiastical correctness which was contrived, pre-scripted and came with predetermined outcomes. "A legitimate criticism of the preparation for the Synod is that the local episcopal conferences were not sufficiently involved beforehand". So much energy and time of this Synod was taken up by western bishops who launched endless invective against secularism
Alienation of the Boomers
If the leadership of the Church is to succeed in winning back the trust and confidence of the Boomer generation, it will need to learn quickly the lost art of listening to and conversing with an adult laity which is no longer prepared to bleat like sheep and mutely follow the shepherd. The Church at Vatican II called for a mature and educated laity and now it has got what it wished for. The big challenge now is, can the institutional Church catch up and keep pace with them?
Desert - some thoughts
on a Synod theme
What must be alarming for leaders more interested in facts rather than spin is that people have made a distinction between God and God’s representatives, between Jesus Christ and the hierarchical structure of the Church. Many millions have decided that they can live, not without God and Jesus, but without the organisation in its present form.
The Pope with the European and North American bishops are convinced that the most serious malaise in the Church is a drought of doctrine. They are turning the Synod into a self-absorbed European affair and I think they are letting the rest of the Church down very badly
thoughts for the Men in Red
With a post Vatican II re-emergence of a monarchical and absolutist papacy, there has been a commensurate resurgence of clericalism. This ossified subculture which feeds off its own inherent narcissism is one of the most enduring obstacles to reform of any kind. It is now time for the whole Church to pause, reflect and re-embrace the express will and teaching and vision of the Council for all not just the few
Disaster in the making?
Commenting on the introduction of the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal, Fr Thomas Reece sj described it as a ‘train wreck in slow motion.’ Signs are that it may well have collided with an immovable force long ago. That force is the re-emerging mass confusion, disquiet, criticism, protest and resistance to the translation.
Gospel and Opportunity Cost
The story of the uneasy relationship between money and the religious establishment goes back a long way in Judeo-Christian history and that history offers valuable lessons.
The Church must choose between being the servant of Christ or a public servant of the Federal Republic of Germany
of the New Evangelisation
Chaput stressed that the New Evangelisation would be best promoted “through humility and spiritual discipline” – code for
‘toeing the party line by uncritically submitting to re-indoctrination.’
Mark’s narrative is largely a blue print for how not to be a disciple!
16: A Good Pagan Samaritan
Would it not have been better to have a wounded Samaritan with a Jew stopping to aid him?
It would have been beyond the lawyer's imagination and utterly illogical to think that this idea of ‘neighbour’
could extend to anyone outside his own clan and community
12: Cardinal Martini's radical hopefulness (CathBlog)
Martini’s final challenge was for the entire Church to re-examine itself on the extent to which it has actually received and embraced the call of the Holy Spirit through Vatican II
what you should do
Paul VI counselled Suenens to relax a little and play them at their own game. Pope reminded him of how a flexible and humanised attitude to law will always subvert Curial legalism,
what you should do
the local Church seriously
It is a given that the Catholic Church, particularly in the West, is facing an unprecedented crisis in Sacramental and pastoral ministry. It is a problem largely self-generated as a result of a theological system which is locked into fundamentalist premises
Jesus Christ is ....
Some reflections on early Church sources and Vatican II
Anatomy of a Peruvian Catastrophe
16 out of 31 bishops are Opus Dei.
Opus Dei has become an institution at odds with the People of God. It has morphed into a church within the Church and has employed pretence, fabrication, self-interest and sheer power to wage ideological warfare against its fellow Catholics
August 6: John
6:1-15 The feeding
of the five thousand
The timing of this story is very important for John. The Passover was the annual Jewish memorial feast of national liberation. Perhaps many in the crowd here were on their way to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice and share the ancestral memories. They would remember two things in particular: freedom and bread
When Jesus was confronted with the question about what in essence the Law of God intended for the establishment and preservation of sound right-relationship in the human community, his immediate response was to cut through the quarantine lines of the Divine Law and go to the very heart of the matter. It all eventually reduced to wishing and doing to another what one would wish for oneself.
'on message' (CathBlog)
Lately the Vatican Press Office has been working overtime
attempting to negotiate the rapids of a power struggle between the Roman Curia and the Secretariat of State.
The ongoing tabloid drama of Curial internecine, corruption, power-games, intrigue and deception
graphically indicate advanced institutional decay and decline. There is an unholy war raging in the Vatican.
It is doing good neither for product identity nor the tainted Catholic brand
Since he took up the reins as chief administrator of the Roman Curia,
the pontificate has ricocheted from one PR or policy gaffe to another
The Roman Curia = a sheltered workshop for challenged clerics on "work experience"
Enrichment of the two Rites
Msgr Wadsworth's supporting act & Cardinal Burke's foot in mouth
of Tarsus - a thorn in the flesh
"There may be important lessons for us today as we see the Gospel and Christ’s people
being dangerously compromised by leaders who should know better"
July 1: Jesus is too much for us
forward, not backwards,
in the Year of Grace (CathBlog)
"The leadership of the Church might well consider putting in place a permanent,
ongoing program of Synods in order to listen, hear and consult with the entire People of God"
June 24: The
Reinvention of the Fisherman (part two)
The rise of the monarchical papacy; Newman re infallibility; Ratzinger's redefinition of the papacy
For more info re the above issues, David recommends:
Ambrose Mong Ih-Ren OP,
“The Liberal Spirit of John Henry Newman”, Ecumenical Trends, especially pp 5-15
June 17: The Reinvention of the Fisherman (part one)
in Ducal Hall
Really excellent update
of present Vatican situation.
For more information re Vat situation David recommends reading
Vat crackdown on renegade nuns Christopher Brauchli (CounterPunch)
June 3: The Trinity
that Jesus should be sacrificed?
To explore this topic more deeply, David recommends reading Redemption by Fr Kevin O'Shea CSsR
A vision of redemption has emerged from studies of the past 50 years that has not been heard of by most people
May 26: Year of Grace can save Pentecost from church acrimony (CathBlog)
May 20: Some, many, most, all?
May 13: Anatomy of a Reform
May 6: Who's talking to whom and about what?
April 29: Open season on US religious women
April 22: Freedom and the compulsive mind
April 15: The People of God?
April 8: The empty tomb, the Resurrection: the beginning of a dangerous faith
April 5: Jesus ends guilt and self-loathing (CathBlog)
April 1: The Week of the Failure
March 25: 50 years on: Renewal or Retreat?
March 18: Traddies in Turmoil
March 11: Culture Wars, Apologetics and The Story (c.f. Peter Johnstone's comment re Fr R. Barron)
March 8: Comment on CathNews article "Women in roles great and small" (comment no. 5)
indeed, Carmel, the Catholic Church certainly in this country would be nothing
Unfortunately, history has almost enshrined importance and worth in terms of certain functions, mainly service ones.
The purists of the Restorationist persuasion would have them nowhere in governance positions in the Church and certainly nowhere remotely close to the sanctuary, let alone extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.
Lay women in particular are at the very bottom of the list in these regards.
We must hope that one day the leadership of the Catholic Church will start all over again to take the directions and reforms of Vat II seriously instead of reversing them.
'Ordination Sacerdotalis' is not infallible, de fide, Core Catholic dogma at all.
Currently it bears the authority of the Ordinary Magisterium. It has not been received as essential dogma in the same way the overwhelming number of Catholics have not received 'Humanae Vitae' as essential to authentic belief and or practice.
Those who persist in arguing that these two Church policies are of central importance to 'eternal salvation' trivialize the real pillars of Faith and contribute to that modern phenomenon as examples of 'infallibility creep' - a control mechanism promoted by the Roman Curia to keep the faithful in a state of passivity.
Sadly, it does not contribute to faith but erodes it.
March 7: Comment on CathNews article "What the Church offers women" (comment no. 12)
G: I think Conor is right in suggesting that there already is a
long-established ecclesiastical office for the Participation of Men.
You yourself have long worked hard to place Catholic women in a proper perspective.
A notable example was a recent comment you made about Sr Hermengild Maroko's appoitment as secretary-general of a Southern African episcopal assembly as a kind of stenographer - secretarial duties (CN 14/12/11).
Furthermore, I don't think you should be concerned about the absence of the men you can physically see. The males who really count are all around you, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient namely God: The Father is a bloke, so's the Son and you recently taught Charles that even the Holy Spirit is male, 'By the way (you instructed Charles), the Holy Spirit is a He, that is also the teaching of the Church' (CN 15/07/11).
You might now care to offer the reader some catechesis on where HE will find this infallible Dogma
March 7: Comment in CathNews article re women's ordination (comment no. 14) (see also comment no. 21)
last year, the Patriarch of Lisbon, Card Policarpo is on record as saying that
women will probably be ordained to the priesthood in the future.
Bishop emeritus Ray Benjamin noted in a November 2011 letter to The Swag that 50% of the world's bishops actually believe in the priestly ordination of women.
The apostolic letter of JP II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, is not an infallible statement. It belongs to the ordinary magisterium.
It was not, is not, and never will be, infallible.
It is not a matter of core faith but a teaching that has its historical roots in that particularly distorted Aristotelian and then Thomistic notion that females are defectively created males.
But it's not really a gender issue. It's got more to do with cutting out one half of humanity from this sacramental function.
Gender is a side issue but it is used nonetheless as a validation for the status quo.
This was compounded by an aggressively fundamentalist reading of NT on discipleship and ministry.
The crowning achievement of this view is that Jesus, the great High Priest, formally and intentionally ordained twelve men to the episcopate at the Last Supper.
Some purists even suggest the text (Latin, of course), rubrics, vestments etc. used at this 'consecration' of these apostolic hierarchs.
March 4: Talking to Trent This has to be the best scholarly update on SSPX
March 4: Transfiguration
Feb 26: Benedict in the Twilight Zone?
Feb 19: Lent: from Dust a New Creation
Feb 16: Benedict's reform of the reform (updated)
Feb 12: George Weigel – his hubris and relativism
Feb 5: Vatican II - Better if it never happened?
Jan 29: The Local Church
Jan 25: Comments on "Benedict 16's retreat from Vatican 2"
Jan 24: Benedicts 16's retreat from Vatican 2
Jan 24: Thinking about Bishop Bill
Jan 22: Year of Faith (updated)
Jan 15: Year of Faith
Jan 9: The Cardinals
Jan 8: Epiphany
Jan 1: Theotokos