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Debate: Is the Church in Europe facing a crisis of faith or a crisis of leadership?

Are people leaving the Church because of a lack of inspiring leadership, or simply because they have lost faith?

By on Thursday, 11 October 2012

Photo: CNS

Photo: CNS

Pope Benedict XVI believes that the main reason people are deserting the Church in Europe is because of a “crisis of faith”. This is why he has called the Year of Faith, which he hopes will inspire Catholics to share their faith in a compelling way.

In an address to the Curia last year the Pope pointed out this crisis, saying: “If we find no answer to this, if faith does not take on new life, deep conviction and real strength from the encounter with Jesus Christ, then all other reforms will remain ineffective.”

But is the underlying problem a crisis of faith or a crisis of leadership? Looking across Europe there are only a handful of inspiring bishops. Most are content to let things drift. The abuse crisis has exposed some to be dreadful decision makers. Too many, George Weigel argues, have thought of themselves as managers, or “discussion-group moderators”, instead of apostles.

So what is really ailing the Church in Europe: a crisis of faith or a crisis of leadership?

  • Breff

    If you read Fr  Lucie-Smith’s article on holy communion and the comments that follow it I think you will discover exactly what is ailing the Church in Europe.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Both.

    There is a crisis of faith that Our Lady told us “would start at the top”. 

    The leadership of the Church in the past fifty years has been shocking, absolutely shocking, and I for one have serious reservations about the actions (and lack of them) of the current Holy Father. 

  • Robert

    I suppose Bishop Davies might be of use if one was to be hung drawn and quartered for the faith tomorrow but Abp Nichols, Kelly or Longley or the rest of the gang?
    I suspect they try and persuade me to be sensible.
    They are not “man the barricades sort of people” are they?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    That’s right, the triumph of liberalism and of worldly values in the Church has eviscerated the Church in Her doctrine, theology, liturgy and soul. 

    Back we must go, re-trace our steps until we come to the place where the river forked and we started following the wrong stream.

  • Cestius

    From what I’ve seen it’s a mixture of both. The existing church leadership (and the selection panel for the new AB of C) seems to be stuffed with liberals that do not represent the vast majority of worshipers worldwide, particularly the growing evangelical and traditionalist parts of the church. But my experiences of Anglican parishes is that they’re often too concerned with keeping up crumbling church buildings and not enough concerned with living a Christian life and evangelizing.  So it does seem to be a crisis of faith as well.

  • nytor

    I agree with the idea that it’s a mixture of both (although we’re not discussing Anglicanism, which is not part of the Church).

  • J.R.G.Edwards

    “The main reason….is because…”. Oh dear,it is not only faith which is declining!

  • Joseph

    The Holy Father is infallible. His actions (or lack of them) are not for you to criticise. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Do we HAVE to see off this nonsense time and time after time? 

    The Pope is infallible ONLY when pronouncing “ex cathredra”, on faith or morals, to the whole Church, using specific formulas. 

    In his ACTIONS, and in his personal theological views, he is as fallible as you or I. 

  • Hermit

         First of all we must be convinced that the Church belongs to Christ and it is the Holy Spirit that is giving life to the Church.

         So whoever wants to grow in the love of God has every means in the Church to attain their end. Today we can still become saints, pleasing to God in an eminent manner, always  by God’s all-powerful grace.

         The bishops are the successors of the Apostles and God can make use of them for our sanctification even if they are living in sin, mediocre, managers, moderators, administrators, etc. Of course, each bishop has to give account to God for his behaviour. Hell, as well as Heaven, is open to bishops as well.

         Notwithstanding the above, I too wish to have holy bishops, inspiring bishops, imitating their predecessors the Apostles indeed! And we, laypeople, should help our bishops in every possible way to carry out a fuitful apostolate.

         So the main problem is not a crisis of leadership but a crisis of Faith. God knows how to write straight (having a Church full of life and vigour) on crooked lines (having uninspiring bishops).

         A living Faith expresses itself in abundant Love which in turn will produce an effective leadership, effective in the spiritual sense of the word.

        

  • Seaneinn

    You know as I crossed London Bridge this morning I said a prayer to Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, I was suddenly thought if the Reformation was to happen today, how many of today’s Bishops would stand firm against the tyrant and only two came immediately to mind, the rest I concluded perhaps harshly would fold and go with the flow.

  • JabbaPapa

    Both, I agree.

  • paulpriest

     
    Let’s be really honest;
    the problem on a diocesan level is not that it is run badly by people of ill or misconceived will….
    but that it is hardly being run by people of virtually no will at all !

    To be blunt and ‘analytical’ : Dioceses are suffering from clinical depression…

    Complacency,
    disillusionment, anxiety, fear, abject loneliness, despondency, denial
    of the real problems, no visible solutions, no hint of hope….

    A few remedies are sought : hasty activity, making oneself too busy to
    contemplate what’s wrong; making grand designs or schemes and putting
    all one’s eggs in the one basket or risking everything with a single
    throw of the dice, then there is the seeking out of what people think is
    the problem – they ask among themselves and come to the conclusion that
    there is ;
    a] nothing wrong – how could there be ? we’re here!
    b]
    something that needs to be done but it must be set off for the future
    because there aren’t enough people or resources or we are too busy doing
    other things at the moment.
    c] there was something that could have
    been done but now it’s too late and we have made our bed now we have to
    lie in it and make do…
    d] this is all part of a growing process, like birth pangs, the darkest hour before the dawn
    e]
    we’re already doing everything we can, we have already considered
    everything and it’s all working wonderfully thankyou if only you’d allow
    us to get on with it and stop bothering us…

    Ok, now imagine
    for some reason we have a new Bishop who’s been in a monastery most of
    his adult life and has no idea whatsoever what’s facing him in his new
    diocese : what does he encounter?

    Well for a start most of his
    authority within the diocese has been usurped from him !!?
    From Rome ?

    Of course not !
    By his predecessor placing his own men in positions of
    authority ? No. Guess again…

    Diocesan government has become riddled
    with ‘quangos’ ; most under the ostensible auspices of that dreaded
    behemoth known as the Conference of Bishops – education, RCIA, youth
    programmes, catechetical material in schools AND the diocesan
    representatives on those commissions, committees, quorums, clades,
    inner-rings [clerics or lay-people the bishop may personally loathe or
    consider a heretical reprobate]- they decide practically everything –
    even the movement of feast days , provincial timetables , a significant
    budget from the diocesan purse, etc , etc etc.. all the exigences which
    used to be within the sole remit of the bishop has been ‘tendered out on
    a long-term lease’!!!

    So the Bishop looks to his personnel ; and weeps…
    The
    good people?
    The effective, orthodox, holy men?
    Well there are a few
    but they are stuck clinging to their parts of the diocese for grim death
    trying to keep them into a coherent semi-functioning machine – simply
    none of them can be moved except maybe slid across to a larger more
    encumbent parish to replace the bloody useless ,if not dangerous or
    mentally unstable ones!
    Some will be sick and elderly and incapable of
    doing anything more than they are possibly doing now, in fact for a few
    charity demands that some of their burden should be removed…
    Of the rest ?
    Well
    there will be a handful of priests going through a severe mid-life
    crisis – they will be in trouble, crisis of faith, mental exhaustion,
    deep feelings of existential angst or ineptitude, and
    for some they will have been up to less than a modal or model priestly
    behaviour.
    The youngsters – and by young I mean those mid-40s and younger?
    Half of these priests are bleeding
    useless – they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t believe in half
    of what they’re doing and most of the time they do as little as
    possible anyway or they’re trying to find any excuse in the book to get
    out of doing what they are supposed to be doing….

    Some of the
    priests in the diocese will already be working to a diferent agenda and
    trying to impose it upon the diocese – the ‘professional’ clerics of the
    quangos, together with their covens of laity. the Bishop either submits
    fully, attempts to waylay them or sidetrack their authority, or
    commences a long drawn out war of attrition attempting to regain his
    power and authority back from them…

    There will be the odd tin pot
    tyrant who needs either kicked out of his post, or put out to pasture or
    merely deprived of a few of his more capable assistant priests who are
    being too well moulded into his image and likeness; and a few positions
    of power may need to be taken away from him too…
    There will be a
    few surprisingly capable priests who are imply not being used to their
    full abilities ? Why?
    Diocesan politics – maybe they just don’t fit in,
    or have made enemies in the wrong places or are just unwilling to
    conform to certain other people’s agenda, and sometimes through just
    sheer negligence and oversightedness….
    but within the majority ? who are the ones readily available for promotion ?

    Of
    course there are nominal jobs of little import these days as their
    roles are simply not used or implemented – things like ‘vicars of
    clergy’, deans [deanery structure is a joke!] ,boundary commissioner
    ,archivists etc – anyone can have these as they mean very little – there
    are the diocesan finances which are the main import so there will only
    be a select few capable of these anyway…
    but the rest ? the bishops
    secretaries? the chancellors? vicar general ? the deans of the
    cathedral ? vocations director , canonical lawyers etc… well, unless
    the Bishop is willing to go against the grain and pick the best for the
    job [something that normally only happens infrequently now, the Bishop's
    secretary is mainly the priest the Bishop loathes the least - the Vicar General ? the least offensive or antagonistic , the Vocations Director ?
    the young charismatic priest...as well as that there will be a few
    positions that have to be filled with certain people 'expected' to get
    the job...] – so unless the bishop is willing to compromise some other
    aspect of the running of the diocese, he is compelled to pick from a
    select bunch :

    These are invariably the ones whom the Bishop can
    afford not to have have on the front line in the major parishes, the
    ones least likely to be boatrockers, the bland , the mediocre, the
    clever but not too clever [even though they may be ostensibly academic
    and may have had a couple of books or articles published - in this
    scenario intelligence has nothing to do with wisdom - and a Bishop
    doesn't want any too wise in such positions - they'd be much better in a
    big parish] , the ones trained more as administrators or accountants,
    the ones with a head for business or are experienced with liaison with
    all the quangos but aren’t part of the system, the paper shuffler, the
    inoffensive, the academic who did their licence in something worthwhile
    like canon law…
    The non-entity who has just been around for such a long-time….the ones with ‘links’ to people in the know….

    So
    regrettably the administration is run by the second-raters with a few
    non-raters thrown in and a couple of “I’d love to sack them now but I
    dare not – they’re better inside the tent widdling out…” types…
    There
    maybe the odd ‘clerical celebrity’ too – one famous for their being a
    member of some quango or commission or for writing something – whatever -
    they assume the authority by popular assent among the ‘professionals’
    and it’s better to go with the flow , even if you think they’re either
    useless, just plain wrong, or responsible for the end of civilization as
    we know it !!

    But have you noticed one thing?
    I haven’t
    mentioned a single thing regarding what the priest believes, how he
    acts, or how well he has integrated his priesthood into his pastoral
    life – why ? because the majority of the time when considering people
    for positions of authority and responsibility in a diocese it’s an
    irrelevance !!! Unless the Bishop directly goes out of his way to ensure
    it happens !
    And a lot of the time the price is too high for the
    diocese and its structural integrity if the Bishop chooses the best as
    his closest associates.

    So what happens ?
    When it comes to the
    choice of the next bishops ?
    Among whom do the Conference of Bishops,
    the papal nuncios etc look to recommend ?
    well whom do they know ?
    who have they encountered?
    who is ‘sound’ according to their agenda?
    who is popular ?

    You
    see here is the bitterest , deepest irony of them all…this is the age
    of the internet, the wi-fi, the blackberry, the mobile phone, the fax,
    video conferencing – you name it …
    this is supposed to be a global village…

    Would
    you be surprised to learn that the majority of clerics simply NEVER
    interact with each other except on the most major of diocesan occasions -
    some priest in the same town or city in neighbouring parishes may never
    speak to each other from one year to the next, the majority of priests
    in a diocese have neither had a decent conversation or any reasonable
    encounter with half of the rest of the diocesan priests – it’s
    incredible ! it’s ludicrous – but more than that it is highly morally
    disordered….

    But this is the breeding ground for our new bishops…
    and in such a stagnant pond how do you expect anything to truly flourish ?
    sometimes
    the Holy Spirit works its way round human will and gets the right
    people in the right

    Is it a Crisi of Leadership or a Crisis of Faith?

    Please don’t be ridiculous: It’s Both.

    position, but all too often we get um…well?

  • paulpriest

    Let’s be really honest;
    the problem on a diocesan level is not that it is run badly by people of ill or misconceived will….
    but that it is hardly being run by people of virtually no will at all !

    To be blunt and ‘analytical’ : Dioceses are suffering from clinical depression…

    Complacency,
    disillusionment, anxiety, fear, abject loneliness, despondency, denial
    of the real problems, no visible solutions, no hint of hope….

    A few remedies are sought : hasty activity, making oneself too busy to
    contemplate what’s wrong; making grand designs or schemes and putting
    all one’s eggs in the one basket or risking everything with a single
    throw of the dice, then there is the seeking out of what people think is
    the problem – they ask among themselves and come to the conclusion that
    there is ;
    a] nothing wrong – how could there be ? we’re here!
    b] something that needs to be done but it must be set off for the future
    because there aren’t enough people or resources or we are too busy doing
    other things at the moment.
    c] there was something that could have
    been done but now it’s too late and we have made our bed now we have to
    lie in it and make do…
    d] this is all part of a growing process, like birth pangs, the darkest hour before the dawn
    e] we’re already doing everything we can, we have already considered
    everything and it’s all working wonderfully thankyou if only you’d allow
    us to get on with it and stop bothering us…

    Ok, now imagine
    for some reason we have a new Bishop who’s been in a monastery most of
    his adult life and has no idea whatsoever what’s facing him in his new
    diocese : what does he encounter?

    Well for a start most of his
    authority within the diocese has been usurped from him !!?
    From Rome ?

    Of course not !
    By his predecessor placing his own men in positions of
    authority ? No. Guess again…

    Diocesan government has become riddled
    with ‘quangos’ ; most under the ostensible auspices of that dreaded
    behemoth known as the Conference of Bishops – education, RCIA, youth
    programmes, catechetical material in schools AND the diocesan
    representatives on those commissions, committees, quorums, clades,
    inner-rings [clerics or lay-people the bishop may personally loathe or
    consider a heretical reprobate]- they decide practically everything –
    even the movement of feast days , provincial timetables , a significant
    budget from the diocesan purse, etc , etc etc.. all the exigences which
    used to be within the sole remit of the bishop has been ‘tendered out on
    a long-term lease’!!!

    So the Bishop looks to his personnel ; and weeps…
    The
    good people?
    The effective, orthodox, holy men?
    Well there are a few
    but they are stuck clinging to their parts of the diocese for grim death
    trying to keep them into a coherent semi-functioning machine – simply
    none of them can be moved except maybe slid across to a larger more
    encumbent parish to replace the bloody useless ,if not dangerous or
    mentally unstable ones!
    Some will be sick and elderly and incapable of
    doing anything more than they are possibly doing now, in fact for a few
    charity demands that some of their burden should be removed…
    Of the rest ?
    Well
    there will be a handful of priests going through a severe mid-life
    crisis – they will be in trouble, crisis of faith, mental exhaustion,
    deep feelings of existential angst or ineptitude, and
    for some they will have been up to less than a modal or model priestly
    behaviour.
    The youngsters – and by young I mean those mid-40s and younger?
    Half of these priests are bleeding
    useless – they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t believe in half
    of what they’re doing and most of the time they do as little as
    possible anyway or they’re trying to find any excuse in the book to get
    out of doing what they are supposed to be doing….

    Some of the
    priests in the diocese will already be working to a diferent agenda and
    trying to impose it upon the diocese – the ‘professional’ clerics of the
    quangos, together with their covens of laity. the Bishop either submits
    fully, attempts to waylay them or sidetrack their authority, or
    commences a long drawn out war of attrition attempting to regain his
    power and authority back from them…

    There will be the odd tin pot
    tyrant who needs either kicked out of his post, or put out to pasture or
    merely deprived of a few of his more capable assistant priests who are
    being too well moulded into his image and likeness; and a few positions
    of power may need to be taken away from him too…
    There will be a
    few surprisingly capable priests who are imply not being used to their
    full abilities ? Why?
    Diocesan politics – maybe they just don’t fit in,
    or have made enemies in the wrong places or are just unwilling to
    conform to certain other people’s agenda, and sometimes through just
    sheer negligence and oversightedness….
    but within the majority ? who are the ones readily available for promotion ?

    Of
    course there are nominal jobs of little import these days as their
    roles are simply not used or implemented – things like ‘vicars of
    clergy’, deans [deanery structure is a joke!] ,boundary commissioner
    ,archivists etc – anyone can have these as they mean very little – there
    are the diocesan finances which are the main import so there will only
    be a select few capable of these anyway…
    but the rest ? the bishops
    secretaries? the chancellors? vicar general ? the deans of the
    cathedral ? vocations director , canonical lawyers etc… well, unless
    the Bishop is willing to go against the grain and pick the best for the
    job [something that normally only happens infrequently now, the Bishop's
    secretary is mainly the priest the Bishop loathes the least - the Vicar General ? the least offensive or antagonistic , the Vocations Director ?
    the young charismatic priest...as well as that there will be a few
    positions that have to be filled with certain people 'expected' to get
    the job...] – so unless the bishop is willing to compromise some other
    aspect of the running of the diocese, he is compelled to pick from a
    select bunch :

    These are invariably the ones whom the Bishop can
    afford not to have have on the front line in the major parishes, the
    ones least likely to be boatrockers, the bland , the mediocre, the
    clever but not too clever [even though they may be ostensibly academic
    and may have had a couple of books or articles published - in this
    scenario intelligence has nothing to do with wisdom - and a Bishop
    doesn't want any too wise in such positions - they'd be much better in a
    big parish] , the ones trained more as administrators or accountants,
    the ones with a head for business or are experienced with liaison with
    all the quangos but aren’t part of the system, the paper shuffler, the
    inoffensive, the academic who did their licence in something worthwhile
    like canon law…
    The non-entity who has just been around for such a long-time….the ones with ‘links’ to people in the know….

    So
    regrettably the administration is run by the second-raters with a few
    non-raters thrown in and a couple of “I’d love to sack them now but I
    dare not – they’re better inside the tent widdling out…” types…
    There
    maybe the odd ‘clerical celebrity’ too – one famous for their being a
    member of some quango or commission or for writing something – whatever -
    they assume the authority by popular assent among the ‘professionals’
    and it’s better to go with the flow , even if you think they’re either
    useless, just plain wrong, or responsible for the end of civilization as
    we know it !!

    But have you noticed one thing?
    I haven’t
    mentioned a single thing regarding what the priest believes, how he
    acts, or how well he has integrated his priesthood into his pastoral
    life – why ? because the majority of the time when considering people
    for positions of authority and responsibility in a diocese it’s an
    irrelevance !!! Unless the Bishop directly goes out of his way to ensure
    it happens !
    And a lot of the time the price is too high for the
    diocese and its structural integrity if the Bishop chooses the best as
    his closest associates.

    So what happens ?
    When it comes to the
    choice of the next bishops ?
    Among whom do the Conference of Bishops,
    the papal nuncios etc look to recommend ?
    well whom do they know ?
    who have they encountered?
    who is ‘sound’ according to their agenda?
    who is popular ?

    You
    see here is the bitterest , deepest irony of them all…this is the age
    of the internet, the wi-fi, the blackberry, the mobile phone, the fax,
    video conferencing – you name it …
    this is supposed to be a global village…

    Would
    you be surprised to learn that the majority of clerics simply NEVER
    interact with each other except on the most major of diocesan occasions -
    some priest in the same town or city in neighbouring parishes may never
    speak to each other from one year to the next, the majority of priests
    in a diocese have neither had a decent conversation or any reasonable
    encounter with half of the rest of the diocesan priests – it’s
    incredible ! it’s ludicrous – but more than that it is highly morally
    disordered….

    But this is the breeding ground for our new bishops…
    and in such a stagnant pond how do you expect anything to truly flourish ?
    sometimes
    the Holy Spirit works its way round human will and gets the right
    people in the right

    Is it a Crisi of Leadership or a Crisis of Faith?

    Please don’t be ridiculous: It’s Both.

    position, but all too often we get um…well?

  • Alexander VI

    The solution is obvious. All the Pope has to do is say that anyone who is not a good Catholic will go to Hell.  After all, we wouldn’t want to have to think to hard about anything would we? 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    I’d go for a walk down to the shops if I were you.

  • MJ

    People are losing their jobs, their homes and struggling to feed their children in Italy, Spain and Ireland and they have seen the church rocked by scandal after scandal which never ends, of course they are losing Faith,….The people need the church more than ever, they need help.. The Pope is saying nothing.

  • Parasum

    The CC is too big. One Pope is not enough. How can the Church operate smoothly when its assumptions date from a time when it was far smaller ? STM we need more Patriarchs in the West, and in places like Brazil & the US. Bishops should not have to look after vast numbers of people, but after a few hundred or so. The Church ought to have 10,000 bishops, or more – not 4,000. And they could differ only in position from other priests. Are there not 6,000 priests in the CC fit for episcopal ordination ? 

    A beginning could be made by baptising adults, while keeping infant baptism for emergencies. For the latter to be usual practice is to beg for the Church to be populated very largely by baptised ex-Catholics. It’s a scandal beyond description not only that most Catholics lapse, but that they are still counted. This is insane. How can a Church full of atheists & agnostics & ex-Catholics possibly evangelise anything or anyone ? Honestly :( ! No sacramental theology that points out – however truly -  that baptised ex-Catholics are still sacramentally Catholic, can afford to ignore the fact that the indelibility of the sacramental character conferred in Baptism does not mean that people are still Catholic in faith and life. Christ does not let them go; it does not follow they do not reject Him.

    Crisis of leadership ? It’s like the Soviet leadership – presided over by old men trying to keep an enormous empire from collapsing. It needs glasnost & perestroika, but that is almost certainly going to require change; not bureaucratically-managed or bureaucratically-manageable change, but as much as it needs in order to be healthy. Papal authority is too “thin and stretched, like too little butter over too much toast”.

    It would be more effective if the Pope’s authority were limited – not *de jure* but *de facto* – so that he could spend more time attending to a far smaller burden. Then his own diocese might be healthier. Alternatively, elect younger Popes. Instead of the Roman pyramid model of the Church, with the all-ruling Pope at the apex and the mass of the faithful at the bottom, why not adopt a federal model, with all the Patriarchs of East and West being of quasi-Papal authority and being governed by Rome only in what they cannot manage for themselves ? The needs of the faithful  far from Rome have to take precedence over what Rome wants.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    The Pope’s authority HAS been limited de facto since Vatican II by the growth of Bishops’ Conferences and by the practice of Conciliarism.

    Parasum, I agree with many of your posts, but not with this one. It’s full of errors. 

  • scary goat

     Evening Mr. C

    I went up the road for a little visit this afternoon and came home with a pile of books.  I shall read with interest and watch this synod with interest.  Time will tell  :-s

  • Sweetjae

    No, the authority of the Pope is the same, it’s still paramount and supreme to all the Church’s jurisdictional, canonical and regulatory matters. Bishops Conferences are just local episcopal body of Bishops designed to confront local matters that affect the local Catholic Church (diocese)…no different from its precedent of Synod of Bishops.

    In reality it is the SSPX people who continuously undermine the authority of the Pope.

  • Sweetjae

    The things you were saying are just the culmination of years of materialism and lust of men NOT the Church.

  • Sweetjae

    Correct however most Apostolic letters, Papal Encyclicals, Pontifical Commission declarations and teachings (artificial contraception, DNA manipulation, cloning, embryonic, gay marriage etc) are not infallibly defined so do have the right to refuse? How about the Magiaterial authority of an Ecumenical Council, still refuse? So who really is making the ultimate authority here?

    Anyways, the Pontiff’s theological views though not infallible but still is probably way above yours by virtue of the mere Holy Office he holds.

  • Sweetjae

    Eviscerated? Are you serious?

  • Sweetjae

    Complain, complain and more complains…that’s the only thing you and SSPX are good at! Why don’t you join the ranks and help us fix the liberal ills within the Church? Whats say you?

  • Parasum

    Thanks for commenting anyway :) The point is not that Papal authority has been  limited, but that it is limited in a way that does not lighten the load for the Pope. A proliferation of bishops’ conferences merely adds to the bureaucracy without helping the Papacy – it moves little of the burden, while adding a further layer of paper-work, and it weakens the authority of the bishops. It’s a terribly inefficient way of governing the Church. It is a cruel irony that the coming of the Net has increased the burden of paperwork.

    I thought this might be very relevant to the thread:

    http://www.churchcentral.com/article/2809/Church-turnaround-begins-with-fearless-Christian-leadership

    That title says it all. Christians are too afraid. STM the Church is up to its neck in its world; but if it is, how can it evangelise it ?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Very, Sweetjae, yes. 

  • Jeannine

    Crisis of moral leadership from the clergy that is not in sync with Church doctrine & that contributes in a big way to the crisis of faith for the laity.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    You are clearly unaware of the Pope’s own past comments on the Bishops’ Conferences which he noted have become a barrier to the universality of the Church and a barrier to the Pope’s wishes. 

    They are not canonical bodies and i would do away with them entirely. 

    The Bishop must again be responsible for his diocese and the cure of souls within it. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Good question – of course it cannot, especially with the millstone of ecumenism around its neck.

    Good link, thanks :-) It all starts with each of us, yes. 

  • Jeannine

    What you seem to be describing is a bishop who is a weak & timid administrator & who doesn’t know how to lead. I’m wondering also if he is spiritually weak & confused.

    What kind of person is the papal nuncio? The pope generally accepts the nuncio’s recommendation for a bishop’s appointment as I’m sure you are aware.

  • JabbaPapa

    A beginning could be made by baptising adults, while keeping infant baptism for emergencies

    As someone who has been baptised as an adult, I disagree.

    Infant baptism is foundationally a form of emergency and conditional baptism, referred to as “extraordinary” — whereas the “ordinary” baptism is adult baptism.

    A better case could be made for both more focus than at present to be put on the Sacrament of Confirmation — rather than it being simply a kind of coming-of-age ceremony for teenagers — and for it to be conferred on young adults, rather than adolescents.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Authority is the same, but the exercise of that Authority has been changed.

    The Popes have the right to withdraw any powers that have been abused or over-used here or there, but the Holy See will, I would expect, only do so most gradually and carefully, so as not to violate the principles of Collegiality and subsidiarity.

  • Charles

    Its a crisis of leadership because the false image of Christ as a passive, poverty stricken hippie causes church leaders to follow in that false image of passive, wishy washy spinelessness. A more correct interpretation of scripture sees Christ as a King, who was both strong and just, as well as respected and feared. Our leadership needs to shed the shackles of liberation theology and become strong again; this can only happen when Catholicism reclaims a correct image of the Lord as King rather than as hippie.

  • JabbaPapa

    That is a pretty confused presentation of the nature of doctrinal and Magisterial Authority !!!

    The Pope’s “theological views” are by definition personal.

    Ultimate Authority is “made” by God Himself.

    Your understanding of infallibility is most likely to be flawed, given that 90%+ of Catholics seem to have a flawed understanding of doctrinal infallibility, fallibility, and authoritativeness and how they interrelate with each other, and with the differences between dogma and doctrine ; and dogmatic, pastoral, and disciplinary doctrines.

  • JabbaPapa

    Perhaps less in the Church per se than in the ghastly modernist catechesis that far too many in the Church have been teaching the children since the late 1950s…

  • Sweetjae

    Please give a direct citation of the Pope, beside what’s wrong with the Apostles gathering amongst themselves? Bishops are successors to the Apostles, right?

  • Sanaanimer

    I think it is a combination of both.
    In Iraq, inspite the dreadful situation and dime incising of Christians, inspiring priests are holding the remaining congregation firmly attached to church and there is reviving of faith.

  • Patrickhowes

    There is nothing poverty stricken about the clergy.They are as materialistic as anyone!

  • Patrickhowes

    The Bishops that are now being appointed are the sort we need.The trouble is all the ones that were appointed by our politically correct previous leader

  • Patrickhowes

    To give an example here near the best cider producing area,I observed how non catholics were regularly taking communion at school.I was taught that the Blessed Sacrament is to be protected and respected at all costs not dished as if it were a bag of sweeties and you must not leave anyone out at the party.Told the priest who knew and so he was being deceived.Advised Bishop who has not not done anything.Go to Westminster and Rome and the “traditional bumping” starts taking place as if I were a bug on their shoulder.Transubstantion sets us apart from other Christian doctrines and is very much part of being a Catholic.I don´t mind admitting Iam hanging on in there with my fingernails.There is an enormous double standard.They teach you one thing,they have created cannon law which is clear and simple and then they just ignore it.

  • Guest

    I think it would be useful for you and others to read with an open mind the full text of Archbishop Rowan Williams speech in Rome.

    http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2645/nt 

  • nytor

    Indeed. I cite the tendency of Bishops’ Conferences to operate as a cabinet within a country and each to have a portfolio. This negates the direct responsibility of each bishop for his own diocese.

    The former Bishop of Lancaster put out a widely praised document for schools in his diocese. Another bishop asked him “Why did you do it? You’re not the bishop responsible for education.” Lancaster replied “I am the bishop responsible for education within the diocese of Lancaster”.

    It is an outrage that bishops think that a bishop’s authority in his own diocese is circumscribed or that they can meddle in another diocese just because they have a “portfolio”. An outrage.

  • nytor

    “The youngsters – and by young I mean those mid-40s and younger? Half of these priests are bleeding useless”

    Hardly. Most of the younger priests tend to be more orthodox!

  • nytor

    Indeed – but only one stood out in Henry VIII’s time so that’s 100% improvement!

  • nytor

    Nichols is a “slither under the barricades, hissing” sort of person.

  • Hermit

    When Christ was caught and taken for his death, how many of the twelve apostles remained with him? Notwithstanding this, later on, when the Holy Spirit descended on them, all gave witness to the divinity of Christ the Messiah and laid down their lives.

    When the occasion of martyrdom arises, Christ will give us the grace to die for him.

  • paulpriest

     I won’t deny there are some wonderful ones coming through now – but we’ve had our fair share of ambiguous, meandering, innocuous ‘flabby,shabby,drabby’ types who’ve had the vision and the purpose ideologised out of them via the seminary and professional clergy/laity influences

  • paulpriest

     We have a wonderful Nuncio now – but our previous one went native and was very much part of the ‘old boys network’ of the magic circle.
    His Holiness of Blessed memory Blessed John Paul II wished to strengthen the ‘brotherhood’ and conciliar cohesion within Conference so generally appointed someone who was both wanted and would ‘fit’ into the old boys network…

    I discuss the problem at length in my last two blogposts
    http://onthesideoftheangels.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Timt-robertson

    One of the factors for the Church’s ailing condition is
    surely the very regrettable neglect of the holy Rosary. A proper catechesis on
    the Rosary –  read Bl John Paul II’s marvellous
    Apostolic Letter ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE for a start – led and supported by
    parents, teachers, priests and Bishops, could initiate a Rosary campaign such
    as is currently being promoted in Ireland, to invoke the intercession of the
    Mother of God in defense of the Church. Daily praying of the Rosary, in fulfillment
    of the request of Our Lady, is the reason Portugal miraculously recovered the faith
    within two decades after the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, in the face of a violently
    anti-clerical regime that had vowed to “eliminate Catholicism