14 March 2010

Grumble, Grumble!

I have said several time that I don't understand what Bishops' Conferences are for, what they add to the life of the Church. If you read the Bishops' Engagements column in this week's Catholic Herald, you'll start to get an idea what the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) is for: it's to allow Bishops to get away from their diocesan work and have meetings.

This week Archbishops Nichols and Smith, and Bishop McMahon (Nottingham) will attend a meeting of the Standing Committee. This might be what Bishop Conry is doing on Monday as well.

On Thursday, Archbishop Kelly and Bishops Arnold, Hollis, Kenney, Lang, Lynch and Burns will spend the day at a meeting of the International Committee of the CBCEW.

Now, leaving aside that the CBCEW has a Department of International Affairs which appears to employ four people, apart from the one employed by its subsidiary agency, the National Justice and Peace Network (which "encourages work for justice and peace throughout the Church by promoting liaison and communication between Diocesan Justice and Peace groups" - in other words, somebody is paid to persuade diocesan J&P groups talk to each other), Catholics in England and Wales are losing ten Bishop-days' worth of pastoral care from the episcopate so that the Bishops can talk to each other, seven about a subject that only with immense difficulty might be described as any of their business. I pointed out here that the International Department alone cost £188,074 in 2008. And why: so that the Bishops, behaving like very expensive third-rate lobbyists, can convince themselves that they are players on the world stage.

We gave the CBCEW £1,743,040 in 2008: let's stop encouraging them.


Moretben said...

Ttony, I know I've left this kind of comment before, but I thought I'd rub it in, some! In the past year, I've kissed the hands of a bishop on at least six occasions - Archbishop Gregorios three times, Archbishop Elisey twice (I think, perhaps more), Archbishop Anatoly once. Each time has been at a Liturgy service with all our local clergy - Greek, Russian, Romanina & English - followed by a proper sit-down meal in the parish hall/refectory with wine, toasts, songs, blessings, the lot.

At our last such do, I was talking to a young Orthodox English guy, also ex-RC. He'd never met a bishop before in his life; being quite a bit older, I had, as an RC - maybe twice. Both of us were confirmed by our PP's.

I don't know whether or not we have "Justice and Peace" groups.

Mike Cliffson said...

what I don't like is the thought that your getting a touch more publicly personal may well be necessary, right and so on, like Fr Ray deciding to sign. Goes agin the grain.