Ornithology, not ecclesiology – thank heaven!

A news headline made me sit up in sudden concern last week: Cardinal with rare abnormality discovered in central Texas However, I needn’t have worried.  It didn’t refer to yet another sex scandal in the Catholic Church! According to the Inland Bird Banding Association, the bird shows apparent bilateral gynandromorphism, a rare abnormality that causes it to have female plumage on one side of its body, and male on the other. Phew . . . (wipes brow to remove beads of sweat) . . . a bird, rather than an ecclesiastical rank, and feathers, not vestments.  What a relief, considering my article last week! Peter

Continue reading

Is the Catholic Church becoming just another hotbed of secular humanism?

American pentecostal evangelist Bob Mumford, whom I’ve mentioned in these pages before, once defined secular humanism as “what happens when the world evangelizes the church”.  I don’t think he was far wrong in that assessment.  More and more often, one sees churches and denominations behaving just like the world around them, ignoring the clarion call from the Divinity, in whatever way they proclaim him, to be a “sign of contradiction” to the world, the flesh and the devil. I should acknowledge that, as a former Catholic priest, I have a partisan perspective on this issue.  You’ll find my story in a series

Continue reading

The Catholic Church’s institutional rotten core

Let me reiterate that I’m not opposed to the Catholic faith as such.  I was born and raised in that faith, I became a priest, and I worked hard to be faithful to its teachings.  However, the clergy sex abuse scandal, and in particular the way bishops expected their priests to deliberately mislead and lie to the faithful over what was happening, drove me away.  I’ve written about the reasons for that on numerous occasions.  There has been no improvement whatsoever in that situation, apart from a few faithful bishops who are setting a personal, individual example.  The institution itself is still ducking

Continue reading

Catholic bishops and the “action plan” – wrongly focused

Yesterday Pope Francis presented an “action plan” to a summit meeting of bishops, for combating the sexual abuse of children by priests.  I find it woefully inadequate, a mere re-hash of concepts and proposals advanced many years ago, with no new thinking.  I fear it will be completely useless, because it’s focused on the wrong problem.  Priests, in general, are a reflection of those who select, train and ordain them – the bishops;  and it’s among the Church’s bishops that the solution to the problem must be sought. I wrote some years ago about the problem of “organization men”, and how bishops were

Continue reading

The self-inflicted abdication of moral authority

Two searing headlines about the Catholic Church and the morality (or otherwise) of some of its clergy sum up the current mess in that institution. Pope publicly acknowledges clergy sexual abuse of nuns Four in five Vatican priests are gay, book claims That, plus the persistent refusal of so many Church leaders to publicly proclaim what the Church teaches and (at least officially) believes, has in turn led to this cynical condemnation: Catholic Clergy: Making Themselves Irrelevant I’m afraid that last headline is all too accurate in many cases.  I have a friend who’s in the process of preparing to

Continue reading

“They’re just molesting the kids another way”

That’s the conclusion of American Thinker as it analyzes the inexplicable tardiness of the Catholic Diocese of Covington in failing to withdraw its untrue and dishonest condemnation of students at its High School.  I’d like to say up front that I support AT’s conclusions. Nobody should be all that surprised that leftist mobs and their mainstream media allies perpetrated a false story about Covington Catholic schoolboys … But what isn’t good is the embrace of the dishonest narrative from the kids’ own school and their own Catholic diocese, falsely condemning them in some amazing public calumny they have yet to retract.  It’s

Continue reading

The Cardinal is partly right

There’s been predictable outrage at a German Cardinal’s assertion that homosexuality, rather than the Catholic Church, is responsible for the plague of priest child sexual abuse cases. “What has happened in the church is no different from what is happening in society as a whole,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller said. “The real scandal is that the Catholic church hasn’t distinguished itself from the rest of society.” A study commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and published last year found that more than 3,600 children were sexually abused by Catholic clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014. But Cardinal Brandmüller claimed that only a

Continue reading

A complete, total, utter lack of credibility

That’s my reaction to the Pope’s latest call to Catholic priests who’ve been guilty of immoral sexual conduct. Pope Francis on Friday capped a year of sex-abuse scandals in the Catholic Church by vowing to “do all that is necessary” to punish abusers for their “abominations” and urging the guilty to turn themselves in. “To those who abuse minors, I would say this: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice,” the pope told Vatican officials. . . . In his speech, the pope noted that he has called a Vatican summit of bishops from around the

Continue reading

It seems civil law trumps church secrets – and it’s about time

For many centuries, the Catholic Church maintained that its clergy and religious (i.e. monks, nuns, brothers and sisters in religious orders) could not be tried in civil or criminal courts, but had to be dealt with by the Church itself.  That continued until the Reformation, and even after it in some countries.  The Church considered herself to be above most aspects of criminal and civil law.  In some ways, it appears to still hold that belief – witness, for example, the refusal by many bishops to refer clergy child sex abuse cases to the civil authorities for prosecution. Part of that

Continue reading

The Catholic Church rams headlong into sexual sin yet again . . . and it still can’t cope

I don’t want to write this article.  My own pain over the situation within the Catholic Church, and particularly within its clergy, remains very, very deep.  Nevertheless, following comments from friends and acquaintances over the Cardinal McCarrick affair, I think I have to try to set out the current situation as I see it.  I hope I can shed some light on what’s happening.  However, I can’t offer a solution, because the Church is not going to change willingly.  It’s marching to the beat of a different drummer, and it won’t listen to any other.  That’s potentially one of its greatest strengths, but

Continue reading