New Bishop of Portsmouth appointed!

Just when things look set to wind down for the summer, with the Holy Father in his hilltop fastness, a long-awaited appointment was officially announced at midday today (Roman time). Monsignor Philip Egan has been appointed the eighth Bishop of Portsmouth, and so will the local bishop for us here at Douai.

Monsignor Egan holds a doctorate in theology and has had a rich ministry as a priest: parish priest, hospital chaplain, seminary lecturer and, latterly, Vicar General for the diocese of Shrewsbury. He has written a book, Philosophy and Catholic Theology: A Primer, which has been very well received.

His official response to the appointment is well worth some examination. It is not a series of platitudinous motherhood statements that is so often the mark of such texts. He seem instead to be laying down in clear view what his priorities will be, and also the character of his episcopal mission here. Read on:

It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to dear Bishop Crispian. I look forward with joy to working with my fellow priests and with all who minister in parishes, schools and in other contexts, caring for the people of God. May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to new evangelisation. The ministry of the Bishop, as the chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock entrusted to him, involves carrying the Lord’s Cross in a particular way. So as I begin this ministry and look to the years ahead, I sincerely ask you for your prayers, together with those of our brothers and sisters in the other Christian communities and indeed of every person of faith and goodwill. May Mary, Queen conceived without original sin, and St Edmund of Abingdon, obtain for us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that all may come to know, serve and love Our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is no manifesto for status quo. Indeed, it reads as a highly nuanced and subtle statement of outlook and intent. It is highly Christocentric: he begins by invoking the Sacred Heart of Jesus and ends by placing Christ as the goal of his ministry. Even more fully than a priest, a bishop is alter Christus, another Christ, so it is refreshing to see such a clear emphasis on Christ from Monsignor Egan.

He also develops his understanding of his episcopal mission. He sees it as collaborative, with both priests and people, and this will satisfy those with who hold with the contemporary emphasis on this approach. However, he has made it clear that he is not just a primus inter pares, a mere senior priest among other priests, and that his vision will go beyond the boundaries of his diocese. His point of reference will be to the universal Church in his service of the local Church. Thus he will work to ensure that his diocese will be in the “closest communion of heart and mind” with the Pope, a communion that is manifested in word and deed. If only poor Bishop Morris of Toowoomba had done the same! Moreover, within his diocese he will exercise the role not of facilitator or benign father-figure, but will be “chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock”. In other words he will shepherd the diocese much as the Pope shepherds the universal Church, but he makes it clear that this will not in any way supplant the authority of the Pope over the universal Church. Rather, in communion of mind and heart with the Holy Father, he will model his ministry on Pope Benedict’s. So at the very least, this means we can expect to hear some solid teaching in the years to come, particularly within the context of the New Evangelisation we have heard so little about here in the UK, but of which the upcoming Year of Faith is an expression.

Monsignor Egan realises the need for grace to fulfil his office, which will submit him to “the Lord’s Cross in a particular way”. Thus he asks the support of our prayers, not least when he has to make decisions that might not please all the established interest groups of the diocese. But as he strongly implies, the approval he seeks above all will be from Christ and Christ’s earthly vicar. In serving the universal Church as embodied in the local Church he will not forget other Christians, nor indeed those of “goodwill”, but he clearly subordinates that extra-ecclesial mission to the intra-ecclesial one. Of course, only in best serving the Church will he best serve our separated brethren and those outside Christianity.

Lastly, he invokes the heavenly patrons of the diocese, Our Lady and St Edmund of Abingdon, to assist him in allowing his ministry to be truly rich in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, by Whom alone is the Church renewed and strengthened in every age. The ministry of bishop is truly a charism, or gift, to the Church, a gift sent by Christ and anointed by the Spirit. May the Lord uphold him as our bishop, and may he bear much fruit to God’s glory.

It has been an episcopal week here, as it happens. Earlier in the week the bishops of Brittany stayed with us and joined with us to celebrate Mass on the solemnity of the dedication of the abbey church on Monday. They had been in England making something of a Blessed John Henry Newman pilgrimage.

Bishop Richard Moth, Bishop of the Forces, has also been with us this week, and kindly (and worthily) offered Mass with us today, the feast of St Benedict, Patron of Europe (which we keep as a lesser solemnity, as for us the major solemnity of St Benedict is that of his Passing on 21 March). His ministry is of necessity a mobile one, far more so than that of the average bishop, so an extra level of fortitude is required of him.

Together, these bishops (and bishop-to-be) show that monks need not always follow the maxim of the first monks, the desert fathers: “Flee women and bishops!”

St Benedict, pray for Europe and pray for us.

UPDATE – some blogs are providing the link to a video of Mgr Egan talking on Humanae Vitae. upholding it as an act of infallible magiesterium. I have not done so as the link goes nowhere! Thus far I cannot find it elsewhere on the internet. If anyone has a working link to it please do post it below. Pax!

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65 thoughts on “New Bishop of Portsmouth appointed!

  1. Sixupman says:

    The question is: ‘will he be thwarted by the collegiality of the Bishops’ Conference, where this confronts his ideals?

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  2. Maureen Blair says:

    Just heard the wonderful news about our new appointed Bishop. I hope he will be very happy and blessed as our “shepherd” and I looked forward to meeting him and welcoming him to our diocese.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      He will be a busy boy when he gets here, as the diocese is a big one when it comes to visiting it. But he is of good age and health, and judging by his statement he is full of beans and ready to hit the ground running.

      Pax!

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  3. Petrus says:

    Salve Pater,
    What very interesting news As Fr. Z would say, kudos to Father Hugh for observing the embargo until the correct time !

    I would say to Sixupman : these days, I suppose all bishops can expect to be thwarted in some things by the Bishops’ Conference and the heavy hand of Eccleston Square. That is why they need our prayers.

    I wonder if the whole thing doesn’t depend on a bishop’s relations with his clergy. Diocesan priests whom I have spoken to certainly seem to want their bishop to be a support and a spiritual father to them. Some bishops are good at this. Others are not.

    I am particularly pleased that the new Bishop is enthusiastic about the Pope’s call to the new evangelisation, of which we so far have heard very little in this country. This augurs well.

    Go to it, bishop ! you have our prayers.

    Petrus

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Salve Petrus. I imagine Mgr Egan being new to the diocese will help, as he has no baggage here, no vested interests, no established favourites or enemies. Since he has been a priest in the trenches he should be able to empathize with his clergy in the daily struggles.

      We should have an ordination here later this year, so hopefully he will come to do it. Without doubt we shall make him very welcome.

      P et b.

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  4. Allie says:

    He has a kind face.
    Please can I ask where the statue of St. B. at Douai? (hopefully not somewhere too obvious and I have missed it!)

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  5. Church cannot possibly have a general infallible magisterium on birth control, since there was and is so much dissent on the subject from faithful bishops. theologians, priests.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Truth is not determined by whomever shouts loudest, nor by majority vote. Surely that much is obvious.

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      • If magisterium of this kind means anything — a general teaching minsitry of the church– it must be collective (not, of course, unanimous). At that time and now there was no such consensus. A Pope is to be a Pontifex-a bridge of unity between different aspirations in the Chuch. This one, I am sorry to say, appears to represent one faction only, an anti-Vatican 2 one. I am truly horrified by this spirit in the Church. It seems (I don’t include you or everyone of course) full of hatred and party spirit and personalising attacks at worst and of a rather self-indulgent nostalgia for an impossible world of Latin High Masses at best. . I believe Jesus is the one of the future not the past.

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      • Sixupman says:

        My self-indulgence is to able to hear Low Mass, without let or hindrance, in peace and quiet, in order that I may dwell upon my own inadequacy and seek forgiveness for my wrongs. This was taken away from me on the basis of an untruth that that Mass had been abrogated.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        You point to the fact that there can be a legitimate variety of options in the Church, not least a choice in the Missal used for Mass. It would be wonderful if pastors would foster the legitimate range of options and not permit the illegitimate ‘anything goes’ approach to variety.

        Pax.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Magisterium is not a “general teaching ministry”. It is specifically the authoritative teaching of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him. Their authority comes from Christ, not the consensus of the masses. Indeed new expressions of dogmatic teaching must be received, but the reception need not be unanimous. Most of the foundational dogmas of the early councils, for example, were much disputed. Which is precisely why Christ appointed a shepherd with his authority.

        Obviously people have the practical freedom to believe what they want. By the same token, the Church has the freedom, the right indeed, to ensure that what is taught in its name or under the aegis of its institutions us, in fact, what it really teaches.

        Ultimately, if I find my opinion at variance with the magisterial teaching of the Church, I suspect it it I, not the Church, that needs to do some revision.

        Pax.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        P.S. Pontifex does not denote building bridges between different groups in the Church; it denotes the papal role as a bridge between God and his people. :-)

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  6. Karen says:

    Hopefully the new Bishop of Portsmouth will not destroy all the wonderful work that has been done in the Diocese. Unlike Mark Davis who destroys all that is good.

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  7. Paul Cannon says:

    It is sad to think that Mgr Egan can be appointed as a Bishop, despite him being involved in the terrible things that have been happening in Shrewsbury. we must pray for a positive outcome in the Diocese..

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      I am not aware if any terrible things being done in Shrewsbury, though perhaps some controversial ones. Mgr Egan is supremely qualified. Ad multos annos!

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      • Tracking says:

        If the redundancies were advisable (which I doubt) and Bp Davies and Mgr Egan and the Financial Secretary thought they should be implemented then where was the sensitivity, the compassion to those who were losing their jobs? The way that people were treated lacked any kind of Christian manners. One found out from a newspaper. As for whether laity should get paid, well why not in these times when most families need financial help. It isn’t as if they were earning a fortune. Bp Davies found money for a full-time PR man, to bring over the heart of St John Vianney, to re-order the cathedral. And to get the redundancies passed he needed to urgently appoint some yes-men clergy so that the vote went his way and then sack the trustees who voted against him. Suspect to say the least.

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  8. Sue Sims says:

    Terrible things happening in Shrewsbury? Dear me. Have all the SpiritofVaticanTwoistas been reinstated? That would certainly be tragic.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      One thing we can say about Bishop Davies: he is not seeking to curry favour with man, but rather with God, our ultimate judge. That constitutes a healthier sense of priority.

      Pax!

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      • I shall not approach our new bishop in Portsmouth with preconceptions. But I was absolutely horrified that Bishop Davies made redundant long-erving lay female coordinators almost as soon as he arrived ih his diocese. I seriously doubt that God wanted his bishops to act by diktat and with an apparent desire to sacrifice individuals to send a message of party spirit.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        The question is not regarding the redundancies per se, but why he made them. Did he not like the way they did their job? Did he not see a need for their jobs at all? If affirmative to either then surely he has the right to restructure as he sees fit.

        You call it ‘diktat’, others might call it decisiveness.

        One big problem for many dioceses is the growth of bloated bureaucracies of highly-paid lay people doing jobs that sometimes seem hard to justify. In an age of financial constraint, downsizing seems eminently responsible, especially if some roles being filled are far from essential.

        Pax.

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      • Youth ministry, music ministry, justice and peace?

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        An interesting selection. I am not sure why should be spent on any of them.

        Certainly I can conceive it young people helping the pastor with youth activities, and under his guidance. That makes sense. But a full-time, salaried ‘expert’?

        Music ‘ministry’ has not proved great help to worship. It has coincided with banal, vacuous fifties planting authenticity liturgical music. We should all sing when called upon, and liturgical music should not be the occasion for grandstanding or experimentation. Why should the people’s money pay for this?

        Justice and peace. Really? We need to pay someone to do… what exactly? If justice and peace are preached, and lived by the faithful, then why does it need a salaried professional? If it is not being lived then the pastor needs to preach it more.

        The parish is the only essential minister in a parish, and the bishop is likewise the only truly necessary minister in a diocese. A clericalised laity is no solution.

        Sorry if I seem brusque, but I am typing this on a phone!

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  9. Thanks for the correction about ‘pontifex’. I was quoting a source that was obviously wrong. However, ‘Servant of the servants of God’ conveys the same appropriate idea of collegiality and discernment. IF Pope Paul Vi wanted that statement to be infallible why did he not assert it to be so in the well known language of ex cathedra. This is ‘creeping infallibility’. The laity are already by baptism ‘priest, prophet and king’, so their ministry is not a false clericalisation. There are not enough priests to go around, and young people are the best evangelists of other young people in my experience. If we do not use contemporary music — and language— then we will only be left with a few young fogies before long!

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      You quote a lot of buzz words and stock assertions which no longer hold water, if they ever did.

      Servant of the servants of God again refers primarily to the service of our salvation, which is secured by keeping us in Christ’s truth.

      What statement by Paul VI? Humanae vitae? I think Mgr Egan makes a clear case for it being infallible.

      The laity are indeed sharing in Christ’s status as prophet, priest and king, but by prophetically witnessing to the truth before the world, by offering their bodies as a spiritual sacrifice, and by acknowledging and promoting Christ’s universal kingship. It is not about doing what is proper to priests.

      Contemporary music does not attract the young to church: they get far better music on their iPods. What attracts them is the challenge of the gospel faithfully preached and lived. Where that dies not happen there are not even young fogeys, just rapidly aging ones.

      The young seem to then out in droves for the Pope. That alone tells us something.

      Pax.

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      • The Pope is the Head of the Catholic Church. Young Catholics will turn out for him and rightly so. This is not an argument for a faction being successful. Faithfuly preaching and living the gospel is indeed the point, but this is no prerogative of a particular faction either.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Orthodox members of the Church are hardly a faction!

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      • But your argument, Father, was that young people turning out for the Pope proved the popularity of traditionalism with the young, and I was disagreeing with that. Anyway, I wish you all the best, but must sign off from more comments now, and I am involved with some other sites. God bless.

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    • Sixupman says:

      I am aghast at Woodman’s argument(s) concerning the status of the laity and presumably a perceived equivalence to the ‘Ordained Priesthood’. Admitted some parishes are run by a self-appointed laity who lord it over the rest of us. A parish in which I used to reside, in Somerset, had this and ant-Magisterium rubbish espoused from the pulpit.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        It has always saddened me to read or hear from Catholics, lay or ordained, an anti-institutional Church rhetoric that derives its logic from 1960s social radicalism rather than scripture and tradition (for in these it would find little support).

        Adopting the spirit of the 60s and 70s, misleadingly re-labelled the spirit of the Council, is a failed experiment which contributed to empty churches and seminaries. It is time to move on to a more Catholic future.

        I hope this change of spirit has reached Somerset!

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      • i did not of course say that the laity were the equivalence to the ordained priesthood. I said, as the magisterium quite clearly teaches, that they have an important part to play. And as for this not being the scriptural view I quoted St Peter’s epistle where all Christians are called “a royal priesthood”. We are talking here about the abolition of well established lay work in various ministries. And what is going to happen in the climate of an aging priesthood. 2 of our 7 churches in Reading are now administered by another parish.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        The solution is clearly to encourage vocations!

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  10. Sue Sims says:

    My three sons all loathe ‘contemporary music and language’ in the liturgy, though they all enjoy secular contemporary music. In church, they feel it’s patronising.

    Just sayin’…

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Well, exactly. Church pop music is usually bad pop, and embarrassing to most young people, who endure it rather than enjoy it. More often than not contemporary music is chosen by the middle aged who have decided for themselves what young people should like.

      It is a sobering question: after 4 decades of church pop at Mass, why are most churches empty of the young? And why are traditional churches now attracting the young?

      Just asking…

      Pax!

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  11. Yes, lay vocations as well as clerical ones. One priest told me he had never met a single person evangelised and brought to the church by a priest, only by the laity.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Well that priest had very narrow horizons, for even a monk like me has brought people to the Church.

      As to vocations, there is no crisis in lay vocations (whatever they might be) but in priestly vocations. Clearly it is priestly vocations that need more attention, because whatever happens, a lay person could never say Mass or hear confessions.

      The effort should be applied where it is most needed, more priests.

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      • Well, Father, to my mind the future lies with a better formation of the laity (the formation most have received in even the most basic Christian ideas is a lasting scandal to the Church and the reason for a lot of our present difficulties). There was no golden age before: people knew the catechism by rote, but had a very poor grasp of Christian essentials. Now they know neither. Anyway thanks for your comments, but I will have to get on with other websites (I spend a lot of time in debate with Dawkins fans) again. My attention was drawn to this site by references to the new Bishop, and, of course, we will be praying for him.

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  12. Fr Hugh says:

    Certainly I can agree that the laity needed to be better formed. At the moment there is a highly inconsistent spread of knowledge of the faith, of the truth that sets us free.

    In an earlier comment you said “Because there are only a tiny number of traditional churches, and they attract those who like such an approach– a very small number indeed relative to the total population.”

    Well, I am not a card-carrying traditionalist (being quite content with the new Missal and its Mass celebrated properly), but I do have a great deal of sympathy with traditionalists. Who could blame people taking refuge in the old Mass having been exposed to some of the travesties that passed for celebrations of the new? How could the Mass of 1500 years pedigree suddenly be so vilified and marginalised? How could the ethos of liturgical worship be abandoned so widely and so readily?

    If there are only a tiny number of traditional churches it may be because it is only a short time that traditionalists have been allowed unhindered expression of traditional worship (well, officially unhindered at least). Of course they attract those of a similar approach, just as liturgically avant garde churches used to attract those of such tastes (an increasingly smaller minority today).

    What should disturb those of us attached to the new Mass is the number of young people attracted to traditional worship. The question needs to be asked – what do they seek and find in traditional worship that they do not find in contemporary worship? Is it precisely banal music, vacuous gimmickry and the feel of a public meeting that put them off? Thankfully, in new Mass churches gimmickry is increasingly being left behind, music is being made more liturgical and less “relevant”, and a more reverent and God-centred atmosphere is being fostered.

    Young people have a very sensitive detector of cant (a “b-s detector” as Australians might say), as any good teacher will tell you. Far better not to patronise them and short-sell them with what enlightened individuals think they might want; instead let us give them what Church, with its 2000 years of accumulated wisdom and experience we could call tradition, proposes we should in fact give them. They will cope. Even more, they will thrive.

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  13. Fr Hugh says:

    This will not please some people judging by some of the comments here, but in the interests of clarity it seems proper to share one person’s reflection on Bishop-elect Egan, provided by Fr Brown at his blog page.

    Pax!

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  14. Peter says:

    Dom. Hugh is at least consistent in his slavish devotion to current authority within the church. There is, frankly, little point in reading his outpourings since they are so utterly predictable. His emetic “holyfatherisms” are entirely characteristic of his stance, and this latest puff in support of a highly dubious candidate for a bishopric (can Dom. Hugh not be aware of what has been and is happening in Shrewsbury?)
    merely confirms suspicion the self-appointed mouthpiece role he has so assiduously ascribed to himself.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      A fascinating little diatribe, indeed it verges on abuse and your use of the clinical “emetic” barely disguises it.

      Your writing shows the power of politically-styled rhetoric. Obedience becomes “slavish devotion”; writing with which you disagree becomes a “puff” or “outpourings”; daring to balance the “outpourings” of others in their all too predictable rants against any authority in the Church that can look back beyond Vatican II and forward beyond the loud liberal minority’s recent hegemony makes one a “self-appointed mouthpiece”. Most bloggers are self-appointed: surely that is the point.

      However, unlike so many whom you would lionize, my self-appointment doers not extend to making myself my own authority. All that I write sits happily with scripture, magisterial doctrine and the laws of argumentation.

      You state: “There is, frankly, little point in reading his outpourings since they are so utterly predictable.” So why do you then?! Don’t bother answering, as I am not interested in another tirade of abuse, however much it confirms me in what I write. Besides, as I had to rescue your comment from the automatic spam filter’s pool of collected e-junk (the irony!), further comments may again offend the WordPress servers and I doubt I will bother a second time.

      However, if you wish to discuss a point or issue civilly, by all means go ahead.

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      • Henry says:

        Scripture, magisterial doctrine and the laws of argumentation have their place. The Gospel, Tradition (I do not mean C19 post-Tridentinism but something older!) and Charity also need to be in evidence. Your blog, dear Father, lacks the defining humility of Jesus. Controversy of the sort you promote in this blog is unbecoming an ordained minister of Word and Sacraments. Nor does it seem very Benedictine.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        So, Henry (?), preaching faithfully the teachings of the Church is now branded “controversy” and lacking in “humility”. Are you a priest and Benedictine? If not please leave the advice on how to be either or both to those who actually are. Seeing the life form the outside is one thing; living it year and year out is another.

        Actually I seem to remember Jesus was rather vehement at times in his preaching and teaching, indeed quite brutally blunt at times. Surely humility is, in essence, a living out of the truth as it is, not as I might like it to be. No doubt at times I do lack humility. And judging by your “dear Father” you are not averse to sarcasm. Is sarcasm humble I wonder?

        And if you have really read my blog you should see that, if anything, I fall within the school of Nouvelle Theologie, very much 20th century, and also very much patristic – something older, as you put it.

        Judge me if you must, but forgive me if I prefer to take heed of the Lord’s judgement of me in the fullness of time, and the Church’s judgement of me now. Regarding the former I stand in hopeful dread; regarding the latter I feel somewhat more confident. It has been said before but maybe it needs to be said again – if you do not like this blog, don’t read it. Quite simple really.

        Pax.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Mmm… “Henry”‘s phrasing is remarkably similar to an email dripping in vitriolic abuse a couple of years back. I wonder…….

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      • Sixupman says:

        Farther Hugh,

        Perhaps Henry is a ‘Troll’?

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Could well be, S-man. If so, we can take heart that there is a special cave in hell for trolls.
        ;-)

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    • Sixupman says:

      Peter:

      Your approach is redolent of the nauseous anti-Fellay diatribes from the +Williamson sycophants in the SSPX debacle. I will bet you never would have thought you had anything in common with them.

      Power to the people – go Methodist/Presbyterian or whatever.

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  15. Sugel says:

    Len, I don’t think women’s ministry should be confused with priesthood. Women have a huge role in the church, which the Sisterhood of WATCH seems to be deeming unworthy. I was privileged to be present at GAFCON in Jerusalmen in 2008, and was tremendously impressed by the Nigerian Mothers’ Union contingent – a huge and powerful body of women doing the things women should be doing.The idea that women should be ordained leaves a number of questions unanswered. For instance, why did God choose to send his son into the world in 1st century Palestine, as it is now? Why not in the current age, when He could have chosen Christina Rees and some of the other ladies of WATCH to be his disciples? Could it be because He knew their lives would be full of privation and hardship, with terrible endings, and He didn’t want to put women through that?It is easy in these relatively comfortable times, in the West anyway, to ignore these matters, but in some parts of the world bishops face enormous challenges and are constantly in fear for their lives. Women are chief nurturers and carers for the family. Could this be at all relevant?Personally I think wannabe women bishops are letting the side down. Why are they wanting to take men’s roles? Do they think men are superior to women?

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      You have hit the nail on the head. There is an underlying, unspoken assumption in the pro-women’s ordination lobby that what women do now is inferior to what men do. For some reason, equality cannot coexist with difference for these people. Equality has to equal absolute identity. Which raises the question – why did God make the different sexes in the first place?

      Pax.

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      • On the one hand Father, you ‘big up’ the clergy and clericalism over the laity and complain that the laity shouldn’t be doing any of the jobs in Shrewsbury like youth ministry and music ministry and peace and justice. On the other hand you complain that women shouldn’t see not being priests as a sign of inequality.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        I “‘big up’ …clericalism”. I see you have hitched your wagon to the train that throws the word “clericalism” around as the ultimate form of insult, justified or not. Actually I do not think the laity should not being doing the jobs you mention; rather, they should do them part-time, as needed, and not as expensive career paths unnecessary to the real needs of the Church. In the past people sang or played the organ in church for the love of it, not for money.

        You are right that I believe that women should not see inequality in the priesthood being reserved to males. Equality is not identity. There can be complementarity in equality as well.

        Why you put these on the one hand and the other is beyond me.

        Anyway, you must be finished cruising other blogs.

        pax.

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      • Surprised that you assume the laity do these jobs out of ‘careerism’? Don’t you think we have seen quite a lot of clerical careerism in the church? But the labourer is worthy of his hire, and ‘part-time’ will not serve these important functions, and we are short of priests. I do believe that ‘clericalism’ is a perfectly meaningful word to descibe a culture of elevating the priesthood to such an extent that the laity were encouraging to a passive leaving it all to them. I note that Vatican 2 in its infallible decrees ratified by the Pope contradicted that ethos quite radically– as, of course, does scrpiture. Perhaps too you would like to disassociate yourself from your poster Sixupman who calls me a troll.I have said nothing rude as far as I am aware. Or I am to understand that this is meant to be a blog that follows a pure party line, a kind of club?. If so please say. I may have misunderstood its purpose, and, as you say, I have other things to do.

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      • Sixupman says:

        Oh dear! Will they never let up, these neo-trolls?

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      • How is it trolling to point out a contradiction?

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  16. Fr Hugh says:

    Your apparent contradiction is lost on the rest of us. As for careerism, a loaded and pejorative term you introduced (not me), you need to distinguish between clerics whose life’s vocation is serving the Church, and who do not earn a salary commensurate with lay people in similar jobs; and lay people who make an ecclesial function their job, and get paid a commercial salary.

    If a lay person does a job for the Church that really needs to be done (eg financial director, legal advisor, property manager) then indeed s/he should be paid appropriately since s/he would have a family to support no doubt, and it is a job best done by someone other than a priest. That is a legitimate lay career in the Church.

    However, all these new “ministries” which also attract commercially equivalent salaries are to me highly dubious, as well as expensive, and I wonder sometimes what a cost/benefit analysis would reveal. The Church managed for centuries without salaried youth ministers, parish support officers, outreach directors, and managed to fill its churches with people. Now we have all these “ministers” who, in many cases, show little regard for Church teaching (even though the Church pays them), and out churches are in many places empty.

    Indeed, one of the hardest questions to address is: if the reforms in the wake of Vatican II (note how I phrase it) were so desired and desirable, why was there such a falling away from the Church? Or again, if the new “ministries” are so valuable, why have they not brought people back to the Church? Questions like these need to be asked.

    Not all “ministries” are without merit. I know of some very good youth ministries, faithful to Church teaching and very active, but they are largely run by young people themselves, not by ageing progressives who think they know what young people need. And after a few years of generous service, these young servants of the Church will move on to secular careers and an active lay life, or (please God) will become priests or religious.

    Pax.

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    • There was a falling away in Church numbers before Vatican 2– and after that it was a product of sixties secularisation. Of course there may be a decline in numbers if people are encouraged to think and act more for themselves. There will be a risk there, but one that has to be taken.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        To imply that before the 1960s Catholics could not think for themselves is such a crudely and grossly inaccurate slur that I will not address it, other than to wonder aloud how such people as Newman, Knox, Chesterton and Edith Stein thought themselves INTO the Church.

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      • Because clearly I was not talking about a small group of great intellectuals but about the mass of the laity.. It was Newman you will remember who wrote ‘On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine’ and who feared developments that were making the Pope ‘a god upon earth’. . Fr Timothy Ratciffe’s book Taking the Plunge sees clericalism as having been the besetting sin of the Church, and he argues for a revived sense of the power of baptism for the whole people of God. Please do not dismiss this book as 60s social radicalism. It is too defensive a response. I genuinely believe that it would help you to read it– and I say that with all good will and no desire to score points. And with that in mind I shall not continue with any kind of tit for tat debate as I have no wish to create offence. .

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  17. Fr Hugh says:

    PS The essence of trolling is to leave brief, negative remarks. I guess your original comment seemed like that. As you know, before when you left comments making some points they were addressed seriously.

    Internet trolling has become a form of bullying, especially among young people. Its essence is to leave brief, negative or derogatory remarks intended to wound, to embarrass or to upset. What young Tom Daley suffered recently on Twitter was trolling, and it is serious enough now for the police to get involved. Trolls never put up an argument; they call names those they oppose; they hide (usually) behind false identities or anonymity. Like all bullies, they are cowards at heart.

    I am glad to hear you affirm that you are not one of them.

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