Monday, February 16, 2009

Ping Pong Is The Order Of The Day

There's a number of interesting stories on the web today. Fr. Gerhard Maria Wagner has written a letter to the Vatican asking Benedict to withdraw his nomination as auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria. Fr. Gerhard is the priest who thinks God creates natural disasters to punish cities for their sexual sins. Austrian Catholics were not happy about this appointment for a number of reasons. It seems the Diocese of Linz did not have Fr. Wagner's name on the short list they submitted to the Vatican and Austrian Catholicism is in the main more liberal than ultra conservative. The Vatican has accepted his resignation in the interests of Catholic unity.

Most Catholics are not inclined to see God punishing whole cities for the sins of the few. That went out with Sodom and Gomorrah, probably after God saw that wiping out whole cities for sex crimes led directly to drunken incest between a father and his daughters. Now that I think about it, these must have been the same girls Lot offered the crowd in place of the angels. No wonder the ladies had a warped attitude towards sex.

Fr. Kennedy of St Mary's Brisbane passed out after his last official Mass at St. Mary's. He seems to be a pretty sensitive man and it's not hard imagining the stress getting to him. Mixed emotions will do that to the strongest of people. St. Mary's response has vacillated back and forth with Fr. Kennedy deciding he would not lead a break away congregation, but would continue to attend St. Mary's as one of it's faithful. The archdiocese is promising to work towards healing.

The Australian Indigenous leaders who signed a treaty with St Mary's have their own concerns and are pressing ahead with legal complaints against the Archdiocese based on Indigenous customary law. By the way, in case one thinks this is grandstanding, I know of at least one similar legal argument that has worked for a band in the United States and they were able to retain their rights to their sacred and ancestral land. In the link above though, the concerns are about St. Mary's and Fr. Peter Kennedy honoring their obligations under the treaty.

I understand that the Archdiocese is the bigger concern for St. Mary's, but I also think it's indicative of either a failure to prioritize or a lack of understanding as to what they were about when they signed this treaty. I hope this issue is straightened out as well.

Finally the Vatican is finding itself in another opportunity to engage in a lose/lose situation.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is to have an audience with Benedict on Wednesday. The Vatican says they will treat this as a visit from a head of state as Pelosi is third in the presidential line.

Pro lifers are hoping Benedict will excommunicate her or dress her down in some way for her "pretention at reinterpreting Catholic moral and theological teaching." The trouble with this expectation is that the left would then expect the Vatican to excommunicate other fine upstanding self professed Catholic politicians like Mugabe or Berlusconi. Not a happening event.

I doubt the Vatican really wants to give any more press to Pelosi's "pretensions at reinterpreting Catholic moral and theological teachings." And I suspect the reason is because she made some real points about real inconsistencies in the history of Papal teachings regarding ensoulment and full personhood.


  1. I'm glad that the Vatican backed down on their poor choice as Bishop of Linz. I'm also encouraged by the fact that the laity and clergy both voiced opposition. (Vox populi vox Dei?)

    I love how the Catholic News Agency article is so unbiased with its accusation of Pelosi's "pretentions." Let's hope that the meeting is more cordial than the Catholic press perception of it.

  2. Actually, we should pray and affirm that Pelosi and other catholic politicians continue to stand their ground against their blatantly obvious attempts to manipulate the US political process with blackmail, extortion and bribery.

    Interesting isnt it, that the Vatican cannot sell its agenda on their merits but that it has to resort to blatant criminal behavior (bribery, extortion and blackmail) in order to obtain obedience to the doctrines it is presenting.

    One really has to wonder therefore how valuable are the doctrines that the catholic church is presenting if they cannot stand on their own merits?

    the word today is "imess" - what I love to do to the faithful orthodox defenders of the faith - "imess" with their heads

  3. A big thumbs down to the Catholic Church hierarchy in Brisbane for sacking the visionary Father Peter Kennedy.
    As usual, anyone who dares to put into practice the teachings of Christ is condemned by the Church.

    Father Kennedy has been relieved of his position as parish priest of St. Mary's, South Brisbane for being a true embodiment of God's grace. His cardinal crime was the exercise of acceptance, love and true inclusivity, welcoming all to his church. The good Father Kennedy is known for blessing gay couples, encouraging the active involvement of women in sacramental activity and even acknowledging the power and importance of religious traditions other than his own.

    In 20 years time priests like Father Kennedy and parishes like St. Mary's will be the norm in Australia.

    For now the Church must hang its head in shame and Archbishop Bathersby must prepare himself for an eternal place in the rogues gallery of the religious wicked who tried to stem the tides of love and compassion and stake a claim for legalism and all that is wrong in organised religion.

    The Church has really made a terrible error in this case. As Macauley so brilliantly pointed out, the great genius of the Catholic Church through the ages has been in its ability to absorb its rebels. Simply shifting over and making a place for even the most radical ideas has meant that the Church has remained dynamic, varied and unified for a very long time.

    But perhaps this is just a temporary blip, similar in kind to the excommunication of the Blessed Mother Mary Mackillop. Perhaps in a hundred years time we'll be celebrating the beatification of Father Kennedy. I think there's a very real possibility of that.

    Father Kennedy is a great man, and has single handedly done more for the reputation of the Catholic Church than almost any other cleric in recent memory.

  4. Proud Aussie Catholic well written.
    In my own personal opinion I think the spiritual future of the church lies Down Under and is waking in Germnay and Austia.

    I think this because these hierarchies are starting to talk and the US? Ours are mostly dead silent or Vatican lackeys. Don't be looking to the US church for any leadership.