26 December 2010

Scandalum Magnum

"You can't care about absolutely everything unless you're an adolescent or a Guardian reader" a friend once said to me, and I've always thought that was fair enough.  There is only so much saeva indignatio to go around.  So I must confess that I have allowed the story of the "Soho Gay Masses" and their Leicester equivalents to pass me by - I haven't had enough time or interest to get interested.

A posting here by Reluctant Sinner started me thinking, though: not so much about the Masses themselves, or about same sex atraction, as about Archbishop Longley.

In an interview in The Tablet, Archbishop Longley was asked whether “those protesting (i.e. loyal and orthodox Catholics) are making assumptions” about the homosexuals attending the "Soho Masses". He replied,

“I would assume that is the case, and so it isn’t for any of us to make those judgments which, in conscience, people make before God and also within the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of reconciliation assisted by the priests and other pastors within the Church.”

“The Church does not, as it were, have a moral means-testing of people before they come to receive the sacraments and it is very easy to jump to and come to the wrong conclusions about people when you don’t know them."

Now, part of the point of Reluctant Sinner's post is that he does know these people and that he is jumping to the right conclusions, but let that pass.  It is the Archbishop who seems to me to have gone right off the rails.
There are lots of Catholic groups and societies, and they have special Masses from time to time, but I can't think of any other Catholic group membership of which allows members to trump the obligation of members to belong to and support their own parish both financially and by their attendance at Mass in the parish.  I also can't think of any other Catholic group which is allowed to self-define on the basis of an inclination to a form of sexual activity.
It was hearing Archbishop Longley's novel interpretation of the "development of doctrine" - his idea seemed to be that as the world and public opinion changes, so too does doctrine - that I realised that what he was defending was (it seems to me) to be profoundly unCatholic: that where originally I had thought it to have simnply been a pastoral failure, a failure of oversight in finding out about the state of grace of people at a Mass where it was objectively likely that some of those approaching Communion shouldn't be; in fact what the Archbishop is defending is that the Church should be at least in dialogue with at least the World and the Flesh.
Add this to what Fr Dwight wrote recently about the Catholic Church in England and Wales and about what he had been told about its agenda, and you can see the pickle we are in.
Perhaps we ought to start writing now to our Nuncio-designate.  Helpfully, his address can be found here.


georgem said...

Given that Peter Tatchell is pushing for gay marriage to be enshrined in legislation and apppears to have received a sympathetic hearing from Lynne Featherstone, a junior Home Office minister (with responsibility for equality), one wonders how long it will be before the first gay church marriages are celebrated in Soho.
How come this discordant group, which demands more and more special treatment, has such influence on our hierarchy's thought processes?

Mike Cliffson said...

I suppose it's a sort of backhander, really. TheHoly Father seems to think England aka greatBritain aka Uk etc, whatever, anglosphere hatchery if you like, surprisingly important.
So, evidently, does Satan.
Because this is an enemy at work all right.

Sixupman said...

++ Longley got a drubbing on R4 the morning of BXVI's Thought for the Day. Part of the price the BBC exacted for allowing TftD with The Holy Father.

Plus, of course, having the interviewer referee the Toynbee and Odone 'match' on the same programme.

Much anti-Catholic exposure,assisted by the hapless ++Longley.

Anagnostis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anagnostis said...

The trouble with Abp Longley's interpretation of "doctrinal development" is that, unCatholic though it may be, it is, unfortunately, very far from being "novel" - far enough, in fact, to be practically "typical".

The trouble is rooted, therefore in the whole slippery concept of "doctrinal development", which has proved simply to be the midwife to Modernism. Yes, there is a way of understanding it acceptably, but it pulls gravitationally in the direction of falsehood.

Doctrine "develops" as a photograph "develops", not as a mountain range raised by tectonic pressures, nor an oak tree from an acorn in the famous analogy. In this analogy, the entire picture was revealed within half a century of the Resurrection; everything subsequently is a footnote. The footnotes burgeon in number and articulation, but the Picture remains always "the same Word delivered in the beginning".

I fear that "doctrinal development", falsely understood in one way or another, is rapidly becoming the "superdogma" of Western Christianity, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Like the "hermeneutic of continuity" it's the theoretical shibboleth for managing discontinuity in fact.

JARay said...

I completely agree with "Anagnostis" on this. I was listening to Bishop Fellay this morning and he had much to say about just this sort of attitude. He said that Benedict XVI is trying to reconcile opposites under the banner of the hermeneutic of continuity. He also said that Benedict has done much that is good but that he is hamstrung by the modernists within. He made the interesting comment that as Cardinal Ratzinger he had more influence within the Church than he now has as Pope. I cannot give you all that he said but he spoke for over an hour and a half and I found it fascinating.

John said...

For those who wish to read more about the background to the Soho 'gay' Mass scandal, which was brought about by Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and (then auxiliary) Bishop Bernard Longley, and continued by Archbishop Nichols, please read:-


There is an updated article on the Soho Masses and a related editorial in the November 2010 Christian Order which will be on-line shortly. www.christianorder.com